The usual navies, blacks, whites and greys rule a man’s wardrobe, but there are times he may feel visually fatigued and want to experiment. It is in phases like these that colourful socks can save the day, say trendsetters.
Although, internationally, some men are going off this trend, Rajat Tuli, co-founder of lifestyle brand Happily Unmarried, which is known for its quirky home decor and clothes, says: “We don’t look at international fashion trends. It doesn’t affect the bulk of the working or middle class (in India). Not as much as in the West.”
Ameet Panchal, director of Happy Socks India, believes a man should try funky socks with formal wear only if he is sure of his ability to pull them off.
Tuli adds, “In corporate wear, ties can be experimented with, but India is not a tie country, as it is too hot here. The next best thing is socks. But they can be boring. So just add some colour to your socks life.” Happily Unmarried’s full- and ankle-length socks for men (priced at Rs249 and Rs299, respectively) have patterns like moustaches, bikes, lettering, smileys, camouflage, multicoloured stripes and pop-colour blocking.
But can quirky or off-beat socks be worn to work? “Of course they can be worn to work,” says Tuli. “Men are looking at trying subtle variations in fashion. But ankle socks may not work well for very formal office zones. However, graphic designers, architects, fashion designers, artists, and men in advertising, media or most start-ups can wear them.”
Tuli believes long socks are appropriate. Ankle-length socks, he says, go well with loafers or boat shoes (aka deck shoes or top-siders; they come with ridges and top stitches), polo-neck T-shirts or plain shirts, and khakis (trousers), flat-fronted slim trousers or dark jeans. His suggestion is to avoid wearing ankle-length socks with round-neck T-shirts or pleated trousers. Textured socks (with relief-like knitted patterns), on the other hand, can be a tad overwhelming for men in the corporate set-up, but look nice in cold weather or relaxed work environments, says Tuli.
Mumbai-based Panchal says men are becoming more fashion-conscious, adventurous and want to display their individuality through contrasting and bright colours, and textures. He says: “We are working on various knitting textures for men for our new dress socks collection. But this time our dress socks are in fun yet subtle colours, crafted out of Pima cotton (fine and long staple yarn from Peru) and sit higher on the leg, befitting formal wear.”
Panchal says a man can experiment more on Fridays (and office-related weekends). The Happy Socks collection has classics like argyles, stripes, and checks in bold colours and emphatic patterns, say, logos, mushrooms and hearts in mono or dual tones. They are priced from Rs399-599. So, as Tuli says, if the trend of wearing funky socks works for you, wear it, but remember to style it wisely.