Step Up Your Sock Drawer This Fall with a Fashion Field Guide to Socks

Now that it’s a touch cooler, it’s a perfect time to utilize my favourite underrated accessories: the sock. Somehow they’ve been relegated the status of a wince-inducing birthday package from your well-meaning great aunt, or something that you buy six pairs of in black and don’t think about otherwise. Seemingly mundane, socks are actually really frickin’ awesome! They keep your feet warm and less sweaty, and the pattern/color/print options are endless. I would even go so far as to say they can be an outfit maker.

What if you hate socks/love your ankles? What kind of socks even are there, you ask? Consider what lies ahead a field guide. Whether in sandals, heels, sneaks or boots, these socks will up your game.


No-Show Socks

These are essential if you’re an ankle barer. Puritanical chastity ideals aside, you can get away with looking like you’re not wearing socks without getting chafed. Sneakers, oxfords, even little booties can benefit from wearing these. Pro tip: get pairs with the lil’ silcone bits at the heel, it helps avoid that awkward midday slipdown.

photo from Madewell

photo from Madewell


Crew/Trouser Socks

These are a standard length sock, ranging from just above the ankle to mid calf. With several length options, it can be fun to play with proportions via sock length and hem length. Often I’ll cuff my jeans to a certain length, paying mind to what parts of the sock I’d like exposed.

Many people opt to purchase super neutral editions of crew/trouser socks, but I dare you to go for a riveting pattern or intriguing color the next time you’re sock shoppin’. Even if you just opt for navy instead of black, you’ll have more pep to your kicks.


Knee Socks

Not for the faint of closet, knee socks are fun and delightfully warm. In a myriad of colors, prints and styles, knee socks can be everything from vintage-cute to boldly badass. My recommendation? Extend your summer wardrobe by layering up with high socks and tights! Shorts, jorts, lil’ dresses and skirts are a lovely match for knee highs.


Whether it’s a novelty kitten, a simple stripe, or just a bright hue, choosing a few new socks might be more fun than you think. What hoisery will you be poppin’ on your feet this fall?

Lydia Okello is a feminist, body positive, queer personal style blogger. On her website Style is Style, she showcases her panache for bright colors and power clashing. When she isn't pawing over Samantha Pleet collections on Tumblr, she's dreaming about havin' a kitten of her own one day. You can find her on Twitter, Tumblr and on her personal blog.

Lydia has written 64 articles for us.

19 Comments

  1. This post is perfect as usual.
    Also relevant : my birthday was last Sunday and my parents sent me a pair of hiking socks through the post. It was the best present ever because:
    1) Socks.
    2) Also Dumbledore’s favorite present.

  2. Socks are literally the only fashion-related topic I can talk about! At some point in my young adult life I realized I didn’t have to buy plain white socks, and I have never looked back since then.

    I highly recommend Sock Dreams (http://www.sockdreams.com/). They seem like a really great little store in Portland, their shipping is free, and once a year in May they do a lost sock memorial day sale and have 20% off everything, which is normally the only time I buy, and I buy like 5 pairs.

    Also, if you enjoy low-key surprises in the mail, there are multiple sock subscription services that send you a surprise sock each month (I love that there are enough other people who like fun socks as much as me that there can be competing sock subscription services). My girlfriend signed me up for Foot Cardigan for awhile, and it was fun, but you get a mix of socks you really like and ones you don’t care about as much.

    • I was just about to yammer about Sock Dreams.

      For me the best things about their site are that you can browse by coverage, colour, pattern AND get real info on the fiber content and the fit of the socks.

      I’ve got sensitive skin and allergies when some people suggests I shop online for clothes like it’s magical solution for everything I sometimes want to brain them with a brick cause online I can’t really tell if something’s going to irritate me.

      But Sock Dreams they’ve got fiber content as actual available information and I can make an educated guess.
      It makes me so happy, like talking about real life historical people that would make awesome action movie stories/characters such as Stagecoach Mary, Julie D’Aubigny or the many badass lady spies.

  3. I’m a no socks as long as possible kinda human. So I know it’s Autumn when I have to put socks on. Big fan of a cute pattern sock peeking out under my turn ups when the time comes. Lambswool if possible, but I’ll take cotton. My missus got me some with camp scenes on, little tents and trees in block colours, understated but adorable.
    If anyone is looking for a quality hiking sock I recommend a merino/wicking mix. If you get super cold feet like me it’s a must. I used to sell them (and need out about them), and wear them with my docs, sadly now they’re out of my price range. Damn I miss them. Nothing like a brand new hiking sock.

  4. Yes! Socks are one of my favorite parts of any outfit. No-shows definitely save me during the summer, but one of the reasons fall is my favorite season is because I get to start wearing socks with fun patterns again!

    Last year, as part of my Christmas gift, my mom got me a 3 month subscription to a sock subscription box called Foot Cardigan. I think they charge a little more than it’s worth, but I have to say it was a lot of fun getting a random pair of socks in the mail that I wouldn’t have otherwise chosen for myself.

  5. I exclusive wear Stance brand socks and they are probably the single greatest thing that has ever happened to me. http://stance.com

    I’ll admit they are expensive but that just makes me buy them “special” like I would buy new shoes. They are so durable and comfy though that I think they are worth the money. (Especially if you can get them on sale somewhere like Pac Sun or Zumiez)

  6. I almost exclusively wear no-show socks unless I’m (begrudgingly) wearing tennis shoes. the silicone bits prevent horrible, horrible chafing. it can be hard to find good ones (esp if you have big feet like me) but I definitely recommend them.

    there’s a store down the main street in my neighborhood entirely devoted to socks (thesockmonster.com). I need to stop by. my mom loves cool socks and that store is gonna be my christmas shopping salvation.

  7. I’m a sock knitter, so I have a lot of feelings about socks and also a lot of difficulty *buying* socks, but I think those no-show socks are gonna be a game-changer for me. THANK YOU!

  8. …for a no-show look, “half socks” are totally the way to go. they only go half way up up your foot, covering toes & the ball of your foot – makes all the difference! with these you’ll never have to deal with a slipped heel ever. I will never wear conventional “no-show” socks again!

  9. superb variety of socks to choose. You have all types of socks and all these socks with charming and with best quality. We can’t say about any pair of socks that it is not best. I have searched many blogs but I found only this blog very useful according to my choice. I can’t wait to buy monkey crazy cat socks.

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