Breaking Down the Fine Art of Socks and Sandals

Socks and sandals are like experimental cuisine: cool in theory, but frequently confusing in practice. Once confronted with the reality of what an unusual combination looks (or tastes) like, it’s easy to assume that the concoction is best left un-concocted — or rather, stripped back down to its separate, identifiable components. While that’s probably true for watermelon ham or cotton candy eel, socks and sandals deserve an open mind. Wearing them together may take some stylistic finessing, but the end result can be cool enough to justify that and more. Scroll down for a strategic lesson in successfully tackling the ultimate, below-the-knee transitional weather style hack, courtesy of Juliana Salazar.

Tip #1: Start With a Favorite Outfit and Embellish From There

When exploring any previously uncharted territory — style or otherwise — it’s always wise to take some friends with you. In the case of socks and sandals, take your friendliest go-to outfit of late, one you know is reliable and always makes you feel like your best self. That way you’ll be at an advantage from the start in terms of your research and development. In Juliana’s case, a beloved top and ever-satisfying gym shorts proved to be the ideal template. Insert your own favorite outfit and play around.

Tip #2: Color-Coordinate Your Socks With Your Outfit

Looking too matchy is generally considered a faux pas, but when it comes to pulling off socks and sandals, explicit coordination lends your unusual accessorizing an aura of intentionality. There’s a utilitarian trap socks and sandals can fall into because a socks are by nature a practical garment, well-equipped to prevent both blisters and foot sweat. Using your socks to accomplish the aesthetic task of tying your whole outfit together is an easy solve — and immediately makes it clear that they’re a thoughtful component of the overall ensemble instead of a random or forced addition.

Tip #3: Contrast Your Inner Dad on Vacation With Your Outer Lady at Work

Another potential pitfall of the socks-and-sandals lifestyle is accidentally looking like a father who has paired his sensible Tevas with a thick pair of even more sensible white mid-calf socks for the purposes of clocking in 10,000 steps whilst traversing a foreign city. There’s nothing wrong with this look — in fact, in some cases it’s precisely what I want to achieve — but it’s also a worthwhile connotation to keep in mind when styling socks and sandals just in case you want to channel something more sophisticated. The secret to doing so is leaning hard into your most tailored, classic pieces — especially those rendered in neutral colors.

Thoughts on socks and sandals? Share them below. Especially if they include an outfit idea.

Photos by Louisiana Mei Gelpi. 

Harling Ross

Harling is a writer and was most recently the Brand Director at Man Repeller.

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