Shoe Sock Combinations

How To Pair Shoes & Socks

Shoes are one of those things that can enhance or destroy an otherwise perfect outfit, and so it hardly surprises that fashion journalist George Frazier once stated: “Wanna know if a guy is well dressed? Look down.”

A clear distinction between Town and Country shoes is seldom made nowadays, yet it is well understood that a country tweed suit is generally inappropriate while working for a bank or a law firm. With regard to shoes, it generally helps to bear in mind that:

1. Less decoration makes for a more formal shoe

2. Black is more formal than brown

However, the advantage of brown shoes is its endless color range, which enables the wearer to create a very unique patina over time. Today, we want to show you a variety of shoes for wear in Town and Country, as well as how they are combined with socks and trousers.

Shoes for Town Wear

Firstly, let’s look at this very classic business combination of a navy hopsack worsted suit, worn with black calf leather cap toe oxford shoes which show just a very minimum amount of brogueing along the cap toe seam. The dark blue striped lisle socks in contrasting colors provide this ensemble with a characteristic, yet sophisticated look. If you like it a little showier, try ribbed reddish-maroon over the calf socks or pick a pair of blue silk socks with a subtle pattern.

Secondly, we have a navy chalk striped worsted pair of pants, chestnut brown calf leather quarter brogue shoes featuring a perforated toe-cap with a medallion. The ribbed red and blue socks create a good combination between the brown shoes and the navy suit. However, I would personally go with finer multi-stripe socks instead. For a more conservative, yet unique look, go with the dark blue and the embroidered clock pattern.

Third, we can see a brown & beige pinhead trouser, worn with brown calf leather cap toe oxford shoes with rivets and some brogueing along the cap toe sea. The socks have a brown, fawn and lavender plaid design. Alternatively, you could choose a plain brown or bottle green sock with embroidery.

The last town shoe for today is a black half brogue in calf leather, which is worn with grey sharksin trousers (the illustration looks more like a twill or covert fabric) paired with a light grey hose with black & white embroidered clock. Alternates include maroon and white striped socks or bottle green wool socks.

Shoes for Country Wear

Here you can see white buckskin shoes with red rubber soles and grey flannel trousers, which are complimented by blue ribbed wool socks. You could also combine it with Argyle socks or greenish-turquoise colored ones.

The second country pairing consists of brown Chukka boots with dark crepe soles, wide rib yellow wool socks and lovat green Harris tweed trousers. Alternatively, lovat green wool socks or brown socks with multicolored diamond patterns would work as well.

Third, we can see a checked pair of pants with a light overplaid made of Shetland fabric that is paired with brown Norwegian shoes with crepe soles. The socks have this wonderful rust color and are made of wool in an interesting ribbed pattern. Other suggestions include camel colored ribbed socks or a multi colored argyle socks.

Fourth, you can see a brown blucher, with a crepe sole, grey trousers and white, green & yellow horizontal stripe pattern. Other than that, white and orange wool socks with an argyle pattern would work just as well as beige cotton or cashmere socks.

Shoes for Town & Country Wear

When traveling, shoes take up a lot of space, especially if you bring along your shoe trees. Hence, you are often limited to bringing only the most versatile shoes with you.

First, you could bring a black oxford full brogue, which is less formal than a plain or half brogue, but due to its color, it is still adequate for most office environments today. In the picture, we can see it combined with a navy chalk stripe flannel trouser and navy blue shadow striped socks with embroidered clock. Also, a maroon colored sock with a white diamond pattern, or a blue check pattern would work nicely with it.

Second, you can pack a brown monk shoes that go well with a glen urquhart suit and green & white socks. Instead of the light brown shade seen in the picture, you may want to opt for a dark brown that is likely a little more versatile. With regard to socks, you could also choose ribbed royal blue ones or eggplant-maroon ones with embroidery.

Finally, the mid brown oxford with brogueing along the seams can be worn on many occasions during the day, unless you are in a bank, law firm, or similar institution. In that situation, you should stick to black shoes for town wear. The recommendation for socks is eggplant patterned wool, plain brown socks with embroidered clock, or green wool socks with white dots.

All pictures were shown in Apparel Arts 1939, but these classic styles and models have changed little in the ensuing years. We now wish you happy shoe shopping!

13 replies
  1. Sifis says:

    A great article. I think I might just print this, cut it up into sections and pin it on my cork notice board.

    But where does one source socks with embroidered clocks? I have not come across such a pair. My grandfather might have owned a few pairs, but the only socks I have inherited from him are, alas, white (a great pair of socks in fantastic condition, nonetheless). Does the recently showcased Marcoliani make them?

  2. Sifis says:

    I meant Bresciani. I always confuse the two. Italian, both make socks, names end in “-iani.” Am I to be blamed, really?

    • Sven Raphael Schneider says:

      We found an assortment of over the calf socks with embroidered clocks at the A Suitable Wardrobe store .

  3. Sven Raphael Schneider says:

    Dear Sifis,
    Thanks for your comment! I think, Bresciani may have some socks with embroidered clocks. If not, I am sure they would be able to make some. In any case I will inquire and let you know what I can find out.

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