How do you style white socks? 20 white socks outfit ideas for guys.

Published by Chuck Boylan on

How to style white socks for guys?

White socks are a tricky but cool accessory and they are back in style. Once it was the black or earthy hues that reigned supreme in the men’s socks game, but now a new player has entered the game, it’s white socks. No more is the popularity of white socks limited to sporty outfits, preppy school uniforms, and athleisure styles. Streetwear, party wear and to some extent formal outfits, white socks have made inroads and they are increasingly being accepted. White sneaker socks are in fact a must-have item in any man’s casual wardrobe, we can say the same about white regular-length crew socks, every stylish guy needs them! In the 50s, schoolboys wore them to high schools, and white socks were part and parcel of preppy fashion. In the 60s too, white socks were not an uncommon sight on the mod scene of swinging London. They became hot once again in the eighties when Michael Jackson rocked white socks. Apart from sporty styles, white socks have remained popular as a part of men’s relaxed casual dressing. They in fact have never completely gone out of style all these years. 

Michael Jackson revived the white socks trend in the eighties. Once a preppy accessory, white socks became a street-style essential in the 80s.

Fun fact: Michael Jackson adored white socks, in fact, he owned hundreds of them in his wardrobe. The reason for his excessive love for white socks was the fact that he was somewhat germophobic.

Styling the white socks:

Styling white socks are something you can easily go wrong with. It’s important to mix them with the right ingredients and flaunt them at the right place and time. These socks need to be integrated into the overall outfit as a whole without compromising the vibes you want your outfit to give off. From retro-inspired outfits to relaxed and baggy devil-may-care Gen-Z style, white socks occupy a special spot and as of now, it’s hard to replace them. 

When should men wear white socks?

White socks outfit ideas
White socks outfit ideas

Apart from sporty outfits and casual ensembles White socks can be used for smart casual and to some extent formal occasions.  You can rock a pair of white socks in any situation but it’s better to use them with smart casual outfits in less formal situations. White sneaker socks are the most popular white socks, obviously, you can wear them with whichever outfits you use sneakers with. White crew socks can be worn with dressier outfits with more formal shoes. You can wear them in formal suits, preferably in black or cream, if you are comfortable with preppy fashion.

5 ways you can make white socks look stylish on you:

As mentioned earlier it’s easy to go wrong with these socks, here are 5 can’t-go-wrong tricks that’ll help you wear them with confidence and style. 

1. Wear white socks with at least one white outfit piece:

It can be a white shirt, a white hoodie, or a turtleneck. This simple practice will make your neat White socks look well-placed within the ensemble adding detail and depth to it. When not using a white Oxford shirt or any other top in white, consider matching your white socks with an accessory. Think about wearing a baseball cap or beanie in shades of white if not pure white. If you are a fan of white pants using socks with similar hues is a no-brainer, both work seamlessly together. 

2. Opt for pants in pastel hues:

Pants in off-white, pale khaki, light grey, and cream colors work best with white socks, they’ll team up effortlessly. This doesn’t mean you can’t wear them in darker colors, like black, but it’s much easier to style them with pants in light hues. Pants in pastel hues will serve to tone down the intensity of the color white because for socks this color is too pronounced and easily noticeable.

3. When wearing black pants, wear your white socks with black shoes:

This “trick” will make you fall in love with white socks if you find retro preppy style irresistible. The contrast will draw attention to your silhouette and equally distribute it to your shoes and slacks. Perfect for you to juxtapose your best black shoes and black for the eye of the beholder. If conjuring up a bold statement isn’t a challenging chore for you, then this is the way to go for you with your white socks. 

4. Use them with loafers and slip-ons with formal outfits:

If you have finally decided to give them a shot, why keep them low-key? Why not give them the exposure they deserve? White socks are not particularly good for one thing, it’s in staying low-key! The more noticeable they are the better they look with the right partners of course. Loafers and slip-ons give these white socks the maximum exposure and that’s why they seem to be made for each other.

5. Avoid pants that are too long:

As mentioned above, white socks want exposure, and pants that cover them up make white socks disappear. And don’t forget to choose the pants with the right length, they shouldn’t be too long. It’s one of the best practices to use ankle-length pants when rocking white socks. Cuffing up or pin rolling your pants is definitely something you should do when your pants are too long.

Taking care of white socks:

Overuse has to be avoided, if you wear them for more than a day, it’s overuse, pure and simple! White socks are not particularly fragile but they tend to get dirty easily and discolor early. Discolored white socks lose all charm. To keep them usable for an extended period of time and to increase their shelf life you should be changing them every day and washing them regularly. Machine washing them is okay but be careful with what else you are washing them with. Avoid washing them with fabrics that shed color. It’s better to wash them with white items, like undershirts, tighty whities, and white tees. 

How do you keep white socks from pilling?

Pilling is the formation of tiny balls or knots of lint on fabrics with a short and loose weave. Socks tend to get these because of friction against shoes and during the wash cycle. To keep your white socks from pilling you should turn them inside out when washing. Moreover, socks shouldn’t be washed together with coarser fabrics like jeans, because when you wash them together, it increases lint formation due to abrasion and friction. Using a detergent with enzymes like cellulase is better as it prevents pilling. Finally, air drying is better than machine drying for your white socks. To remove pilling use a quality lint roller or fabric shaver, you can gently rub your socks with a sweater stone(a pumice stone) along the surface to peel off the fuzz. 

20 white socks outfit ideas for guys.


Pants in pastel hues, light grey in this case, make a formal suit of separates even more gentlemanly.


A smart casual suit, with a white turtleneck and of course a pair of white socks with a luxe pair of leather tassel loafers.


Cute white socks outfit ideas
A pair of white socks can make a formal suit of separates all the more vibrant, quite effortlessly though. A white button-down shirt and white socks are made for each other it seems.


White socks outfit ideas
White socks and a grey suit, go hand in hand to transform your formal look.


White socks outfits for guys.
In casual situations too, white socks can definitely elevate the ensemble.


outfits with white socks for guys.
White pants, white sneakers, and a pair of white socks.


White socks outfit ideas
Just two colors can conjure up a super stylish street outfit any guy can dream of! White socks play their role, not behind the scenes though.


White socks outfit ideas
For a neat casual look just combine a white tee with white socks and white sneakers, and use other pieces of your liking.


White socks outfit ideas
White socks worn with oxblood tassel loafers, just change your suit game.


White socks outfit ideas
Layer a white cricket vest over a button-down, pair it with navy jeans, and introduce white socks with brown tassel loafers.


How to wear white socks?
White socks work well with light blue jeans and white sneakers.


White socks with double denim look.
A pair of white socks with brown leather tassel loafers can amp up the chic factor for that iconic double denim look.


white socks and white pants.
White socks always work with a pair of white pants in a failsafe way.


white socks matched with cricket vest
The classic cricket sweater and white socks are in fact made for each other, not matter what pieces you are going to combo up, this pairing will always work to your advantage.


White socks with a smart casual suit.
White socks with a smart casual suit. A white baseball cap, a white turtleneck, and a pair of white socks will elevate any smart casual suit in every respect.


white socks with casual outfits.
You can create a neat casual look with white socks and similarly colored sneakers, even with cargo pants and check overshirts.


White socks with blue jeans.
A pair of white socks and you guessed it, a basic white polo shirt. A blue jeans and trench coat outfit is made all the more interesting.


Smart casual outfits with white socks.
A pair of white socks smartens up your jeaned look like nothing else.


What should you wear white socks with?

White sneaker socks or low-cut socks are a no-brainer, you wear them with sneakers, penny loafers, and boat shoes. White sneaker socks are primarily suitable for casual and smart casual outfits. Regular-length white socks can be used with a sporty look, with summer shorts outfits, and with formal and semi-formal ensembles. You can wear them with suits, chinos, jeans, and shorts as long as you match the pieces. Pants in pastel hues are easier to style with white socks, but for a bolder look, you can wear them with black pants and black shoes. 

How do you make white socks look good on you?

Match them with pants, by using light-colored pants. Wear your white socks with black, navy, or charcoal grey pants for contrast, but use black or oxblood shoes with dark pants. When layering, color-match your white socks with a white piece for example a shirt, turtleneck, sweatshirt, or hoodie for a sophisticated finish. An accessory like a pocket square, a bandana, or a headwear piece can likewise be matched with white socks to add depth to your ensemble.

Should men wear white socks?

It’s perfectly okay for men to wear white socks, men have long been wearing these. School boys of the 1960s wore them, rockstars like Michael Jackson rocked them in the 80s, and Gen Z Instagram phenoms love to include them in their rotations. It’s going to be perfect for you to have some pairs of white crew socks for you to use with your smarter outfits, you already own a few of those white sneakers socks because they are one of the very must-haves for men. 

How do you make white socks look good on you?

Match them with pants, by using light-colored pants. Wear your white socks with black, navy, or charcoal grey pants for contrast, but use black or oxblood shoes with dark pants. When layering, color-match your white socks with a white piece for example a shirt, turtleneck, sweatshirt, or hoodie for a sophisticated finish. An accessory like a pocket square, a bandana, or a headwear piece can likewise be matched with white socks to add depth to your ensemble.

Are white socks stylish?

Yes, they really are. If there’s one pair of socks that can up the luxe factor of any ordinary outfit, it’s none other than a pair of white socks. These socks have already proved their mettle in the athleisure style and they are unrivaled in the gym wear arena. Slowly but surely white socks are increasing their presence in smart casual and formal settings. 

Should I wash white socks with whites?

Washing white socks with whites is better to prevent any dye bleeding mishap during the laundry cycle. If you are washing your pair of white socks with a tee that gives off dye during washing, your socks would be ruined, as they’ll no longer be the same old white socks. It’s also better to avoid washing them with heavier and coarser fabrics like denim and canvas to prevent pilling. 


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