A couple of months ago, as the weather was heating up, I posted a piece about Smart Turnout’s new line of argyle socks.
Although I still think wearing lightly patterned argyle in the summer is a fun, albeit incongruous look, it’s now Autumn and this is truly argyle season.
Argyle’s classic design of overlapping diamonds has a certain heavy warmth which reminds me of bundling up on crisp mornings to walk the dog. Maybe it’s the historic pattern’s Scottish heritage or its perennial prevalence in sweaters and thick socks, but it just makes me think “warmth.”
Wearing argyle can be a tricky thing and if you are not careful “clever-brainy-iconoclast” drifts into “goofy-overpattered-stereotype”. Keep it simply by using this dramatic pattern in small or targeted doses.
Today, let’s talk socks.
Want to spice up your otherwise traditional suit? Try out a pair of dark or muted argyle socks with a black, navy blue or dark grey base. That will tone down the overall pattern and give you a shot of fun pattern without making it look to kitschy. Pick a base color that you would normally wear with your outfit.
Classic and coordinated (credit, WASP 101)
A note – this works when you are suited up but not going overly formal. Barrel cuff? Have a little fun. Cufflinks? Keep it formal.
As a side note, I’m not really a fan of argyle ties. I find them too affected for my taste, but that is a personal thing. Some guys may be able to pull them off, but the look is often more comic than clever. This isn’t the same thing as plaid; clearly I like plaid ties.
Argyle socks can actually be paired with most looks except formal business attire, black tie (obvious I know, but I’ve actually seen it tried) and shorts. Kilts yes, shorts, not really.
Follow the same rule as above and marry the base color to the pant. With casual clothing however, you needn’t match the two; you can offset the two. With jeans, go brighter and let the shock of color and pattern show through. Khakis can either blend or contrast as long as either the pants or top pick up some of the argyle design.
Almost looks like something you would
see today in J. Crew (credit, Ivy Style)
Pairing with casual shoes is actually pretty easy, just something that most guys are not used to. loafers, moccasins, chukka boots and Timberlands are all natural mates to argyle socks. If you want to take a more urban casual turn, try them with classic trainers (sneakers). Do not try this with your Air Jordans or techno cross trainers. Classic Adidas, Stan Smiths, Chuck Taylors or something along those lines will work just fine.
So there you have it, a quick argyle primer for the Fall. I’ll talk about argyle on your upper half shortly. If you have any questions or comments, or if you think I missed something, just let me know.
I’m pretty much over the preppy skull thing,
but the pairing is great
And please remember, especially with something as personally subjective as argyle, different people can pull off different things. Yes, Andre Benjamin can wear argyle head to toe and look totally cool. But do you really plan on wearing that look to the office?