The world of formal wear has many unspoken style customs that we must all abide by; however, those norms often include wearing dress socks, which are usually noticeably thin. Regardless, they undertake an important job. Socks do a great job protecting your feet, keeping your toes comfortable and dry, and even accentuating your perfect date-night suit. Whether your job calls for formal wear or you merely prefer to dress formally regularly, you likely recognize the physical differences between the many existing socks. Nonetheless, the question still stands: why are dress socks so thin?
In general, dress socks are made thin in order to promote clean style, avoid sweat, and most importantly, aid in the ideal shoe fit. From sheepskins to our modern-day foot huggers, dress socks are meticulously designed to enhance the fit and feel of dress shoes.
That said, with such a wide variety of socks on the market—both thick and thin—you may be wondering why thin socks are a popular option when it comes to formal wear.
Well, that is exactly what I’m going to cover for you, so you’ll never have to wonder again. Let’s jump in!
The Most Popular Styles of Socks
Although we find them to be average, everyday clothing, it’s interesting to imagine a world without socks. Lucky for us, socks were initially invented in the 8th century to oblige the common basic need, and they’ve been around ever since. And rightfully so—they are rather indispensable.
You may be curious as to whether the style of a sock genuinely matters. Well, if truth be told, it does. There are several different cuts of socks, and while opting for the fashionable option may boost your stylistic reputation, each also serves a specific purpose. A variety of sock options are available for both men and women. In today’s society, the most commonly sought-after men’s socks include the following styles: no-show socks, athletic socks, mid-calf (crew) socks, and dress socks.
Choosing Socks For Different Occasions
We wear them with nearly every outfit and for almost all occasions. But how does one decide which sock is better for any particular circumstance? In the modern world, there is generally a sock for every occasion. Such a decision ultimately comes down to the style.
No-show socks provide an “invisible” look, which enables men to wear these with anything—especially when opting for a no-sock look. No-shows are acceptable for nearly every kind of ankle shoe, but avoid wearing these with high-tops, boots, and sandals (should socks ever be worn with sandals?).
Athletic socks are just that: meant for athletics. These are not typically fashionable, but they do provide quality support and are generally quite sweat-absorbing. People most commonly wear athletic socks during situations that require a significant amount of physical exertion like exercising, hiking, sports, etc.
Crew socks are commonly worn with any outfit and can be easily paired with whatever shoe. Whether it’s pants or shorts, crew-lengths are a great choice when on the hunt for a quality statement sock. They come in an abundance of designs, ranging from multi-colored to novelty to geometric; the selection is up to you!
Dress socks are seemingly one of the most desired sock styles for men. It is often a requirement to invest in proper footwear for your career. Suitable footwear ultimately applies to not only dress shoes but also dress socks, which are equally necessary for any professional position. Dress socks provide a clean, classy statement and ensure that your fashion choices are up-to-par with any formal occasion, but they can also provide a pop to your formal outfit with fun prints.
All About Dress Socks
Of the utmost importance—as I mentioned previously—are dress socks. All men should own at least a couple of nice-quality dress socks that can effortlessly complement any outfit at any point.
Dress socks are often designed with a lightweight material that allows the wearer to feel as if they aren’t even wearing any. Frequently, dress socks are made from cotton, wool, silk, nylon, polyester, and even cashmere on the finer side. Dress sock thinness, however, is much different from the denseness of an average sock, which justifiably raises questions concerning the design motive.
Many men dislike the sheer feeling that many brands of dress socks provide, and believe it or not, plenty of men actually wear a second pair of socks underneath their dress socks for added comfort. However, dress socks are often made thin for a reason. Rather than saving costs on thicker fabric, manufacturers have intentions for their material choices.
Besides aesthetics, dress socks are crafted to fit perfectly inside your dress shoes, leaving little room for excess material. Dress shoes are often made custom and are fabricated to fit snugly alongside the shape of a man’s foot; this doesn’t leave much room for thick socks.
Advantages Of Thin Dress Socks
So, now that we’ve covered the different types of socks and the main objective of dress sock fineness, let’s talk about how thin dress socks can be beneficial, so you can better decide whether they’re right for you.
Wearing thinner socks with trousers that easily give the world a peek at your ankles will ensure a much better, slimmer look than that of baggy socks that bunch around your ankles. Not to mention, the thin, snug quality of dress socks gives you—the wearer—more freedom instead of having to tug at your socks all day to keep them from slipping down your calves. There aren’t many style choices that are worse than bunched up socks.
The thinner the fabric, the more breathable. If you’re wearing heavy socks with dress shoes, you can guarantee a sweaty mess when you kick your shoes off at the end of a long day. Dress socks are meant for formal wear, which isn’t necessarily a time for athleisure. That said, if you’re wearing dress socks, it’s safe to assume you won’t need ones that are thick and absorbent. Additionally, a thin sock will dry more quickly, so if you do get a little sweaty throughout the workday, no need to worry—your feet are more likely to stay moisture-free and comfortable inside thin socks.
As I mentioned before, thin socks also promote healthy blood flow. Thick socks will ensure that any snug spots inside your shoes will be even tighter so long as you’re wearing them, which, in turn, restricts blood circulation. Light material maintains the ideal fit inside your shoes while also encouraging blood to reach all of the major pressure points on your feet.
A Guide To Buying Quality Dress Socks
Regardless of whether the material of your dress socks feels thin, most dress socks are still reasonably durable and long-lasting—as long as you seek out the right attributes on your next shopping trip.
There are several critical qualities to hunt for when it comes to buying dress socks.
While thickness is a leading factor, another essential characteristic is the material. Certain materials serve different purposes than others, making it beneficial to choose the most useful materials for your personal needs. It’s helpful for a dress sock to be moisture-wicking to help evaporate sweat faster and reduce any friction, which can result in a lack of comfortability and the unfortunate blister. You’ll also want to ensure that you’re getting a high-quality material as it will be more durable and last a while, admitting its thinness.
Dress socks should also be slim fitting and snug, preferably with an elastic band to hold them up around the calf. There should be no loose corners, and the socks should feel like a hug for each foot from toe to top. A tight fit will allow a smoother glide into your footwear and will look much cleaner than bulkier socks. It’s also nice to seek out a bit of padding to reduce walking impact and improve coziness.
Last but certainly not least is the color. Dress socks should always be an appealing color that goes well with your pants. While it’s becoming more popular to wear a bold dress sock, always ensure that it is not obtrusive, and your outfit remains in cohesion. If it comes down to the wire, match your sock color to that of your slacks.
It’s not uncommon to overlook the quality of your dress socks. While it may seem like your most fashion-forward dress socks are merely thin because the manufacturer makes cheap socks, that’s not (always) the case. Dress socks are designed to be light, to cater to plenty of formal wear needs, such as custom shoes, a bare-foot feel, and they even aid in proper blood circulation. Although you may enjoy the cozy feeling of a thicker sock, thin socks may just be the better option for formal attire. Regardless, when deciding on dress socks, keep in mind the most important aspects, but always ensure that you’re doing the best for your feet—and let’s be honest, they do the best for you, too.
Although I’ve described the advantages of thin dress socks, I’ll respect the fact that there are plenty of differing opinions. That said, what type of socks do you prefer to pair with dress shoes? If you have a favorite dress sock brand, don’t hold out—share with the rest of us! A guy can never have too many options when it comes to socks.