2017 has been a very bad year for socks. As trouser lengths have risen, for many fashion-forward men the sock has become obsolete for anything but formal wear.
Summer is the perfect time of year to go sockless with style, but if you’re new to the look you may be wondering how you pull it off. Here are some top tips:
Choose the Right Shoes
You can go sockless with almost any shoes, but the best shoe to really nail this look is the loafer. Loafers without socks looks clean, minimalist, and is a great way to create a smart and well put together but ultimately informal look. Look for loafers in soft as butter suede for a summer style that will feel comfortable as well as look stylish.
Other shoe options to explore are the boat shoe and the espadrille: both perfect for lending an informal, vacation-style feel to any outfit. Alternatively, if you want to embrace going sockless in the office then try a thin-soled brogue or derby. Avoid black shoes when experimenting with these more formal styles though, as the color is far too harsh. Instead explore the full spectrum of neutrals, and coordinate your shoes with your pants.
Here are some great options:
Rockport Classic Penny Lite Loafers in Cognac, $99.95
Take Inspiration from the Italians
When it comes to wearing formalwear with sockless loafers, no one can pull it off quite like the Italians. Whether you’re choosing to wear a coordinating suit jacket or not, your trousers should be a slim cut style that fits closely to your butt and your thigh, whilst kicking out slightly at the hem. The hem line should sit on, or just about your ankle.
And don’t be afraid of color! Whilst chinos in shades of navy blue and tan will always look stylish, if you really want to capture the Italian style then experiment with pastel shades, such as this beautiful sky blue.
Here are some great examples of sockless styles teamed with tailoring, Italian style:
Access Your Ankles
If your legs are still pallid and pale from the long winter, then you may well want to assess your ankles before you reveal them to the world. Are your ankles ready to be exposed? If not, it wouldn’t hurt to indulge in a little pampering, and add a subtle coat of fake tan.
A gradual, every day tanning moisturiser is a good starting point, as it will build up your tan gradually, and avoid any tell tale orange lines.
To Roll or Fold?
If you don’t want to buy specifically shortened pants then a very popular viable alternative is to roll/fold your skinniest jeans or trousers until your ankle is revealed. This is a technique that works particularly well with denim:
This leads us to one of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to the ankle baring style: should you roll or fold? There is no right or wrong answer here but, whichever route you choose, you should aim for the skinniest roll/fold you can achieve. This is not the time for oversized turn ups!
But only you can decide if roll ups or turn ups will best suit your style:
Don’t reveal too Much
To pull this look off correctly, your pants or jeans should sit just above your ankle: you don’t want to reveal too much of your leg (the right shoes to wear with shorts or even cropped trousers is a separate post entirely!)
If you like your fashion choices to be an exact science, then ensure that your trouser hem falls around two inches away from the top of your shoe and you will be working at the perfect trouser to loafer ratio!
There’s more to the sockless trend than meets the eye: because you should always wear socks! Unless you want your leather shoes to start smelling bad or to develop a fungal infection on your feet, you should always wear socks with closed toe shoes.
Invest in a pair of invisible socks (sometimes also known as ‘socklets’) to ensure that your shoes stay comfortable, and to prevent any unsightly foot sweating. If possible, choose socklets with grips on the bottom, so that your socks will remain in the right place all day.
Brooks Brother’s Loafer Socks ($24.50 for three) are a great choice because they are made from a stretchy blend of cotton and nylon so they will fit to your foot, and they have a silicon backing so that they won’t budge when you’re wearing them:
Practice Makes Perfect
The fact is that going sockless doesn’t come as naturally to the American man is it does to our suave European counterparts: whilst men in Italy and France embrace the chance to offload their socks each summer, many men in the States find the thought of going sockless uncomfortable.
To make your sockless ensemble look effortless and stylish you need to approach it with confidence. And that is likely to take plenty of practice. But the more you explore this fashion-forward and flattering style, the more naturally confident you will feel. Fake it until you make it!
Prep Your Feet
Finally, it’s time to get practical! Unlike wearing your favourite kicks, you can’t simply through on sockless loafers and go. A great tip is to sprinkle baby powder into your shoes to absorb any excess moisture, and keep plenty of blister plasters to hand as your feet get used to their new regime.
If you’re worried about foot odor, then you could also consider adding an odor-absorbing insole to your shoes. Then you’re ready to go! You can embrace the sockless trend today, and keep wearing it until the cooler days of fall arrive.
It’s amazing how much we depend on that humble and often-forgotten accessory: the sock. It’s also incredible what a difference it can make to our style when we take that accessory away. Going sockless is a bold sartorial decision, and a great way to add a fashion-forward edge to every outfit.