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Long socks or no socks at all

25 April 2011

The first question everyone asks about over-the-calf socks is: Are they not too hot? No, the difference in heat is pretty tiny for a couple of inches of wool/cotton/blend, and the difference in style is immeasurable. Shorter socks don’t stay up; they always fall down, they always bunch, and that is not a good look with a finely pressed suit in rather fine worsted.

On some days however, such as the past three in London, they are certainly too hot. Even fine cottons, even a silk mix, even a linen mix like the pair I recently bought from my friends at the Dandy Store. On those days, it is better to go with no socks at all.

Not, it should be noted, with the fine worsted. Bare ankles are not appropriate for business. But then, when conducting business one is usually in air conditioning and heat is less of an issue.

In every other circumstance, loafers and slip-ons work well without socks. It is advisable to change at some point during the day, to help with any odour. Suede is preferable to leather in a lace-up; unlined shoes are particularly comfortable. If you must, wear a slipper sock that sits inside the shoe. But make sure it remains hidden.

With cotton suits, with chinos, sockless slip-ons are stylish and surprisingly cool. A lot of blood runs near the surface of your ankles.