A man has come a long way when he shifts to proper socks – calf length and in navy, grey and charcoal to match the day’s suit. Too many remain stuck in the teenage mindset that short, black socks go with everything. They don’t; they go with nothing.

But that man, fresh from his trouser-matching success, will quickly want to experiment with colour. This could easily go far. He should begin by trying his navy suits with dark, forest green and deep, wine red.

These should be the default colours after plain navy has been rejected. Buy a plain pair of each, in tones that are not too strong.

Given the pattern on both the trousers and shoes pictured, for example, patterned socks would be likely to clash. As with combining a jacket, shirt and tie, the key is to keep similarly scaled patterns apart. (The ribbing on the socks is perhaps less pronounced than it appears in the photograph.)

By contrast, the colours work better when they are similar in strength. These socks are a rather muted green, but suit dark brown shoes and chalk-stripe flannel trousers. A bright green could easily have been too brash, and more appropriate for chocolate-brown leather.

Navy suit from Graham Browne, socks from Falke, crocodile shoes from Lodger.
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Herr Kreisel

” stuck in the teenage mindset ” Sir, if that would only be true for socks it would be more bearable. Keep up the good fight!
May I ad a deep purple to that first experiments with coloured socks? They work very well with brown and navy, too.

The Refined Savage

As someone from the other side of the pond, I’ve long noticed that even very conservatively dressed Brits are willing to be a bit more adventurous with their socks than American men. Well done!


Excellent combination, and to boot I think you’ve redeemed the oft-abused striped suit, both by choosing a chalkstripe and applying it to a color! This photo makes me reconsider searching out a good chalkstriped cloth to cut.


I like red socks with brown shoes and cords.


Hi Simon

what do you think of Alden shoes? An American friend swears there as good as any fine English bench made shoes.

What Should Men Wear

There’s a fine line between trendy and funny – in that combination, socks in some blue or brown tone would be going for a little softer look. The shoes are awesome though!


Hello again Simon, apologies for chasing you on chalk stripe spacing. The reason I ask is that I’m about to commission a chalk stripe navy flannel suit and I’m not sure if the spacing on my preferred cloth is too wide or not. The Graham Browe suit in this post is a very old suit and you might not have it any longer. But if you have, would it be possible for you to measure the stripe spacing.
Thanks in advance!


I see, thanks. One last question – would you recall the number/name of the cloth? I could only find that it was 13-ounce, navy, chalk-striped flannel from Hunt & Winterbotham.


Thanks a lot Simon – much appreciated!