Socks that brighten up autumn outfits Our stylists’ favourites for you, plus some tips on how to wear them well

Why you need socks that brighten up autumn outfits
Autumn and winter clothes are naturally heavier and darker than what you’d wear in summer or spring—which can be a bit of a drag as the days get shorter. Socks might sound like a silly solution, but they make a difference: they’re a small, inexpensive, easy way of brightening things up.

Stylist, Freddie Kemp

The bold factor

Bear in mind that you can get away with a lot here for obvious reasons: socks only show when you’re sitting down, and even then it’s only a few inches of colour.

If you’re wearing an otherwise-neutral outfit, don’t be scared to go several shades brighter than you normally would.

The colour alternative

If a bright colour in itself feels over the top, a pattern can be just as interesting (if a bit more subtle).

Stripes, spots and herringbone are easy options that don't draw too much attention. Choose a neutral colour to save your socks from stealing the show.

The reason to try bright socks

Especially if you're a conservative dresser, bright socks show you're attentive to details, and you've made an effort.

If you’re wearing neutral clothes that fit you well, and then you sit down and show an interesting sock, it can be impressive—it shows a bit of confidence.

The question of formality

"While bolder socks are a good idea in principle, you don’t want to wander into a conservative meeting and feel uncomfortable," Freddie says.

"When dressing very formally, or for something like a job interview, it’s safest to stick to a dark colour like navy or black."

The colour trick

Like the idea of lightening up, but not quite ready to go for something really out there? The trick is to pick a colour you’re used to wearing, and then go a few tones brighter. If you’re a navy fan, for instance, try bright blue socks.

The way to keep them from falling down

Socks rarely stay up? It's probably because of the way you're storing them.

If you usually stretch one sock around the other to make a little bundle, you're also stretching out the ribbing or elastic that holds socks up. Instead, place one on top of the other and roll them from the toe up.

The way to make sure you don’t clash

Freddie has an easy tip for mixing colours: keep them either light or dark. “If you’re wearing dark shades, pick something like a burgundy or deep green.

"If you’re wearing something like stone or light grey chinos, a lighter pastel shade will work better. This way the colours will never clash.”

The two things to avoid
  • Novelty prints. A solid colour or classic print is always preferable to cartoon-y prints like hamburgers or golf balls.
  • Socks that are too short, or too long. Socks like these should end a few inches above your ankle. Any longer or shorter and they'll look too sporty.
The way to get them noticed

There’s no need to put your socks centre stage. You can turn up your trousers if you’re dressed casually, but remember your cuffs will naturally rise a bit when you sit down or walk around, so there may be no need.