They say that variety is the spice of life. Nowhere is this more true than in your sock drawer. Having the perfect sock for every occasion is the sign of someone who is truly fashionable. You can get socks in all types of colors but no matter how many varieties and shades you have, a drawer full of solid-colored socks just isn’t enough.
To truly make a fashion statement, you need patterned socks. That’s right. Socks come in all different patterns and you can wear them with all types of outfits. The patterns can be bold and eye-catching or subtle and understated. Either way, having multiple patterns in your sock drawer will take your sock game to the next level. Here are seven patterns that make a statement.
1. Polka dot
Polka dots are a classic pattern that can be either subtle or bold. Any sock with dots on a solid field generally falls into the polka dot family. This pattern became popular in the mid-1800s in Europe around the same time that polka (both the dance and music) also became popular in the region, which is where the name comes from.
Polka dots can be very small, making the socks somewhat unassuming, or larger, which makes the socks more daring. They are great when paired with a conservative look. For example, a pair of polka dot socks can inject some fun into an otherwise bland suit. No Cold Feet has several tips on polka dot socks and coordinating an outfit.
Possibly the most classic sock pattern there is, argyle socks are a must-have for every collection. Argyle is a diamond, checkerboard patterned intersected with crossed lines that are made up of two or more colors. This pattern originated in Scotland when it was worn on the kilts and socks of Clan Campbell that hailed from the Argyll (or Argyllshire) region of the country.
Argyle socks are the perfect way to add a touch of class to any outfit. It can add classic flair to a solid-colored suit or a bit of fanciness to a more casual outfit. For a really classic look, try matching a pair of argyle socks with a sweater or sweater vest with the same or a similar argyle pattern.
Like polka dots, stripes can be bold or subtle. The wider the stripe, the louder the pattern will usually be considered. If you have a light pinstripe, the pattern can be more traditional. You also want to consider vertical versus horizontal stripes when picking the best striped sock pattern for your outfit.
One of the best things about this pattern is you can match the different colored stripes to two different pieces in your outfit. It is a great way to tie a cohesive look together when your color pallet may seem a little unrelated above your ankles.
Houndstooth is a very specific pattern that is hard to describe in words. It is a checkered pattern with very distinctive shapes and is usually made of two contrasting dark and light colors. The most famous application of this pattern is probably the iconic houndstooth hat favored by legendary University of Alabama football coach, Paul “Bear” Bryant.
Because this pattern is unique, it has very specific connotations in fashion. It is associated with Alabama and southern style as well as a certain high-fashion men’s look popular in New York City at the turn of the 19th and 20th century. It is also known for being used by certain designers like Christian Dior and Alexander McQueen.
Paisley socks are a look that cannot be pulled off by everyone but for those who are more adventurous in their fashion choices, paisley is an amazing pattern. It is a very busy pattern based on a teardrop shape that originated in Persia. It has been fashionable many times throughout history. For a somewhat recent example, check out the Beatles wearing it circa their Sgt. Pepper era.
Paisley socks are definitely a funky look but they will make you stand out in a crowd. A great look with paisley socks is to pair them with a paisley tie and/ or pocket square. Designer Ermenegildo Zegna is known for great paisley ties.
Traditional military camouflage is a pattern that has gone from a strictly utilitarian pattern used by the armed forces and hunters to a very trendy pattern in recent years. The usual camouflage pattern is made of multiple shades of green, tan, and brown. Now though, fashionistas are taking this pattern and using it in all sorts of colors for a bold, exciting new look.
Wearing camouflage socks with a suit or dressed-up look is a great way to add a touch of young, street style to your look. It is what the “kids” are wearing these days and wearing it yourself will make you seem like you know what’s happening in fashion.
It may be cheating a bit to call graphic socks a “pattern” per se, but you can’t have a list of statement socks without including graphic ones. Whether the graphic is food and drink, cartoon characters, pop culture properties, or something a little more abstract, these socks are the perfect way to show off your personality.
Graphic socks can be understated but the best ones are usually colorful, bold, and even a little weird. You can find graphics on socks of almost anything under the sun (or even suns) and make them work with almost any type of outfit. If making a personal statement is your number one goal, graphic socks are the way to go.
The snazziest dressers all know that to make a fashion statement, the right socks are key. If you know how to match (or power clash) your socks the right way, it is easy to look great while showing your unique style. Whether the socks are classic patterns like polka dot or argyle or more modern like camo or graphic, the right pair of patterned socks will make a statement you can be proud of.