Stay Away Series: White Socks

This post is one of several included in the Stay Away Series. Each post features a particular item the modern, balanced man should aim to stay away from, with a couple of RARE exceptions that will be highlighted within the article. It’s these articles of clothing/accessories that many tend to succumb to from time to time (or all too often…). Avoidance of these items tends to separate a style conscious man from the rest, and it’s quite simple to find an alternative which we aim to help you with.

White Socks

Perhaps you’ve accumulated a few pairs over the years or purchased them at a good price? Here is one item I suggest that the style conscious modern man stay (far, far) away from. So what makes sporting a pair of white socks so frowned upon?


They do not go with anything. In most cases, white is a universal color and should compliment anything; however, white socks are the exception to this rule. Not only unflattering, white socks hardly ever impact a gentleman’s outfit in a positive way. Only in rare circumstances are white socks suitable (discussed below).

Easily dirty: We all know white garments are most susceptible to stains. Now incorporate the idea of the white garment on your feet all day. Do yourself a favor and invest in some colored socks.

Common Counterarguments:

“That’s all I have”

“But they are so easy and affordable”

“My mom/significant other purchased them”

While all fair statements, let’s take a moment and really think these through. Both counterarguments “That’s all I have” and “But they are so easy and affordable” should not be an excuse once you understand the sock landscape and availability of options today. With the sock industry more competitive (and saturated) than ever, there are dozens of brands competing for your money. This competition only benefits the consumer with stylish socks often sold at the same price as their white counterpart. I typically go through Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, Gilt, and J.Crew Factory for my socks (Tip: J.Crew Factory will often have very similar styled socks to J.Crew but at a fraction of the price). To make things easier, you can even subscribe to a monthly sock subscription! Here are a few: Foot CardiganSock ClubSock Fancy

If your mom or significant other purchased you a 10 pack of white socks, understandably you would want to appease them. There are a number of ways you can do this without having to consistently wear the socks. Perhaps wear the white socks in front of your mom the first couple times you’re in front of her and hopefully she forgets. Or restrict wearing the socks for inside the house only. For any ladies reading this, please do not buy your man any white socks!

What to look for in socks?

As you begin expanding your sock inventory, you will notice there are a countless number of styles and designs out there (ranging from plain black no-shows to polka-dotted dress socks). Feel free to experiment and let your socks be an expression of your style! Keep in mind, your outfit should have balance so don’t go overboard with the patterns! Learn more about how to incorporate socks in a business casual environment here: GUIDE TO BUSINESS CASUAL PART II: BELTS, SOCKS, SHOES

At this point, there should absolutely be no excuse for wearing white socks.


Sports: As alluded to earlier, the presence of white socks remains prevalent within the sports world due to its various sports-related benefits such as moisture wicking, compression, etc. However, many athletic-wear companies today offer the exact same benefits in a sock in multiple color options.

White Pants: Every now and then, you find yourself in a situation calling for white pants. This is one of the few times where white socks may compliment your outfit. Personally, I prefer the sockless look.


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