It's Time To Revisit The Appeal Of The White Sock
They're not just for hitting the gym (anymore).
BY Jon Roth | May 19, 2017 | Accessories
Deep breaths now. The image at left may leave you confused. Concerned. Angry, even. And we don’t blame you. You’ve been told for years that white socks are a mistake outside the gym (and not even cool there, really), that the stylish man’s socks and pants should match. The rule’s been drilled into us so relentlessly it feels about as immutable as the law of gravity.
But listen: Down really is up. For years now, we’ve been expressing ourselves on our ankles. Socks in argyle and stripes, vibrant colours and novelty patterns, fill our dresser drawers. Sometimes we skip them altogether. It was only a matter of time before we took on the untouchable: white socks. Worn the right way—with cuffed trousers and a chunky loafer—they have minimalist appeal, creating contrast without the look-at-me brashness of something red or yellow. In the ’50s and ’60s, this look was a hallmark of casual style—a dress code that felt relaxed but considered, worlds removed from the sneakers/ripped jeans/hoodie formula that passes for dressing down today. Jack Kennedy wore them regularly on sailing trips and family vacations. Paul Newman and Clint Eastwood kept the look alive throughout the ’70s, and in the ’80s mod revivalists picked up the trend and made it part of their streamlined, monochrome uniform.
Somewhere between then and now, white socks fell out of favour. But in fashion, nothing stays dead for long. Today, they are so far beyond the pale they’ve become hip again. In Brooklyn, men walk down Bedford Avenue looking like extras from The Outsiders. Gucci sent guys down the runway in white socks, embroidered loafers, and bleach-splattered denim. But you don’t need to be a hipster or a model to pull this off. Just make sure you’re turned out so well, it’s clear you know exactly which rules you’re breaking.
Loafers, SGD824* by Church’s; trousers, SGD761* by PT Pantaloni Torino; socks, SGD28* by American Trench.
*Denotes translated price.
This article was first published in the print edition of Esquire Singapore, May 2017.