I'm a little wary of socks and how they are supposed to be worn. The sockless look is still one of my least favourite and I try to avoid it at most times. When I do go sockless with a suit or semi-casual look it's because of function rather than form. I also take this aversion back to the days when my dad read men's style books, in the early 90s. There was one particular book I used to page through just out of curiosity and one quote stuck with me ever since: "Keep your least erogenous zones covered." This was in direct reference to socks, their length, and how important it is to keep one's shins covered because of how unsightly they were when exposed between the trouser hem and the top of the socks. This post therefore is about socks, their length and how best to wear them.
Not every outfit requires socks, especially in the warmer months, however, what is important is that socks are worn for both aesthetic and hygiene purposes. The top image shows exactly what I am talking about. The socks are just above the ankle in length and they do the trick both in covering and insulating the foot however they are just not long enough to provide warmth to the leg up to the knee. Here any gent gets marks for just wearing socks and not subjecting people to uncovered ankles which could be ashy and unsightly. There is also the challenge of poor construction of the socks because the shorter they are the less workmanship that goes into their making. That's why you find that most socks of this length tend to roll down because they aren't made to stay up. This can be quite tiresome to the style conscious gent, who pays attention to detail, because he'll be forced to pull up his socks regularly. So you get marks because you're wearing socks instead of going without them. This is Good.
The next length of socks is slightly better than the ankle length because they do a better job of covering and insulating the leg. These striped socks are from a brand called Celio, which I trust very much. They are incredibly durable, considering that I have been wearing them for over five years. They have held up quite well. As the next length to consider they are calf length. They are made of a thick cotton and have worn quite well in mild winters and humid summers. They are well elasticated at the top and this makes it impossible for them to roll down as well. Evidence of this is the fact that after wearing them for a full day I am always left with a mark right around my shin and calf which shows just how they've stayed in place. This can also be a drawback, because they are so tight at the top, they can be quite constrictive. In colder weather, socks of this length in a warm fabric can actually obviate thermal underwear. These are Better.
Over-the-calf length socks are panacea to all sock problems that might be experienced by gents. My experience with them has been nothing short of stellar. These particular socks are by Bresciani and are made of 100% cotton. They are light, breathable and wearable in hot and humid weather. Nothing feels constricted with these socks because the lightness is consistent throughout, and they stop just short of the knee. This means that the fabric is critical to these long socks because it plays such a vital part in function. I've tried these in winter and they didn't work; my feet were wet and clammy throughout the day but, in summer they were a charm because they kept my feet cool. One of the other important factors to consider is how tight they are at the top. These are tight enough in keeping with the weight of the fabric. They stay up all day and only come down when I take them off. Therefore, with over-the-calf socks fabric and construction are paramount because they play a role in function and comfort. These in fact are Best of the Best.
PG: Man to man, generation to generation.