I Wear Black Socks with Black Shoes – My Fashion Manifesto

Who tells you what not to wear?

A friend recently Facebook-posted the above picture of a guy in white socks and sandals, commenting, “This is one of the WORST fashion faux pas…..THAT and not matching your socks to your pants. Please men, listen to the ladies…..this is NOT acceptable……EVER!”

Says who?

Now, I don’t wear socks with sandals – it seems like sandals are for when you want to air out the feet, and socks would defeat the purpose.

But nobody is going to make my life more complex by trying to make me feel bad for wearing black socks with my black shoes, instead of matching my pants. Who in the heck makes these rules, and who actually thinks it’s their role to pass them along as pronouncements from on high?

I have my sock drawer down to two basic kinds of socks now – black dress socks and white athletic socks. I only wear black dress shoes, and white goes with my casual tennis shoes. That’s all. The frustration of matching socks is gone from my life, and I don’t miss it.

Please understand, I’m not a fashion anarchist. There are certain rules that even a freedom-loving man such as myself must abide by. No more than one plaid or striped garment at a time. Umm, that’s the only one I can think of. I’d offer friendly advice to women not to wear empire waists, unless you’re okay with being quizzed about due dates, but it’s really none of my business. I really don’t check the calendar when I see women in white shoes.

I’ve made it past 50, and I’ve achieved a fair amount of professional success in a few career fields that require the approval of other people. Until my friend launched her capital-letter-laced attack on socks not matching pants, I had never even heard that made-up rule. Who knows how many similar temperaments have judged me as somehow lacking in social graces because my socks failed to match my pants?

And that’s it in a nutshell. By all means, I encourage people to embrace whatever fashions trip their triggers, but only in a positive sense. If the fashion authorities decide that pastels are in this year, and you want to wear them, then have fun with it. Go for it!

But if the fashion authorities decide that only losers wear brown, or that one must never wear gold jewelry during months that end in “y”, screw ‘em. Fashion is fine when it’s positive, but people who use it proscriptively can pretty much kiss my foot (with or without black sock). If I someday decide that it would be fun to spend a bunch of money on socks that match my dress pants, I’ll knock myself out doing so, but I cannot imagine what would possess me to look down my nose at someone who doesn’t share my odd quirk.

I read a quotation about tattoos that negative fashionistas might want to bear in mind – “The only difference between a tattooed person and a person who isn’t tattooed is that a tattooed person doesn’t care if you’re tattooed or not.” If you are truly upset when you see socks of the “wrong” color, or even socks with sandals, please hold fast to your opinions. People like you amuse the rest of us.

13 Responses to “I Wear Black Socks with Black Shoes – My Fashion Manifesto”

  1. I don’t know why I would remember such a thing, but Patrick Macnee (John Steed in the British TV show “The Avengers”) was featured in some teen magazine giving fashion tips. I clearly remember him saying that “the sock should always be treated as an extension of the pant leg.”

    But that was a half century ago, he was British and wore custom made Saville Row suits, wore a bowler and carried a brolly with him at all times. If I dressed like that, I would probably take his advice.

    But I typically wear khaki slacks with black shoes. So I, like you, wear black socks. I think khaki slacks and khaki socks terminating in black shoes would look weird.

    But then, I’m no James Bond and you’re no John Steed.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Idiots. All of you. We women just can’t stand that you don’t know when you dress very badly. Just had the conversation tonight, again, (I’m not leaving the house with you looking like that) you cannot wear shorts with socks and regular shoes OR sandals. Period. Idiots.

    Black socks and shoes with brown tone pants? No. Buy another pair of shoes and socks guys. Brown shoes and socks w/ brown tone pants, black w/ blue and grey.

    If you are wearing shorts, never ever wear socks with shoes unless they are tennis shoes. But even then, they have to be very short socks. Anything else screams incompetent to women! Is that really so hard to remember???

  3. gonemild says:

    Hah, looks like we have another one to laugh at.

    Actually, I don’t wear socks with shorts – again, the logic is lacking. And even GQ approves of black shoes with khakis.

    While you’re quite free in stating what freedom from your silly rules screams to you, I’m way too polite to tell you what your insistence on fashion dogma screams to me.

  4. Anonymous says:

    My dad always wore the brightest socks he could find, and he was an elegant and well dressed man. If you ask me, those rules are meant for people who can’t think for themselves.

  5. gonemild says:

    If that were the extent of it, that they are meant for people who can’t think for themselves, that would be okay. But they are embraced by people like the witch above who thinks anyone who doesn’t know and follow their twisted little prejudices is an “idiot”. (How much do you bet that the person she told “I’m not leaving the house with you looking like that” will be leaving the house happily pretty soon, looking as he wants, and not coming back?)

  6. craig says:


  7. Nick says:

    With a few notable exceptions I moved to all black socks when I hit 50, mostly as a self-defense mechanism; it’s not that I can’t discern the difference in hosiery patterns or colors, it’s just that I pay it no attention when dressing (very often in the dark)…my mind is always elsewhere.

    Seriously, what man thinks about getting dressed on a daily basis? You just do it.

    The exceptions here are holidays. I’m one of those people that wear ‘holiday socks’: my girls love them and I love seeing both men and women cringe in the office. Small amusements, I know.

  8. [...] Gone Mild Aging Gracefully and Dispensing Wisdom from Kansas City « I Wear Black Socks with Black Shoes – My Fashion Manifesto [...]

  9. Anonymous says:

    LOL. Internet humor can be easily lost. But there is truth in the words the witch spoke. People judge other people by appearance, first impression every day. If my man wears socks with sandals it reflects bad on me. And seriously, sure, black and brown go together, but doesn’t brown with brown, and black with the blue/gray/black look better, more respectful, coordinated, smart and educated? BTW, he’s been around for more than 30 years, and I am proud to be seen with him where ever I go. I just can’t seem to get him to stop trying to wear socks with sandals! Just saying… lighten up Gone Mild :)

    The Witch

  10. gonemild says:

    I thought you were serious. Glad I was wrong!

  11. Excellent article. You are so right, it really is a fashion crime. Wearing white socks with shoes is a crime, wearing white socks with sandals is unforgivable

  12. [...] 6This is made much easier since I had the genius idea of just buying white and black socks. [...]

  13. Antome says:

    What’s wrong with white socks and black shoes, if the socks are dressy and worn with a suit?

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