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Socks are one of those essential pieces of clothing that you wouldn’t get very far without, despite the fact that you hardly ever think about them. They stop you from getting blisters and help to prevent foot odor and yet, despite this, they’re usually ignored.

According to some of the best lifestyle blogs, socks can either pull an outfit together or ruin it completely. As such, they’re an essential piece of clothing to get right, no matter how much you want to ignore them. Here are some sock rules every man must abide by.

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Your Socks Should Match Your Trousers

It’s one thing getting your socks to match each other; it’s quite another to get your socks to match your pants. But if you want a streamlined look, this is precisely what you’ll have to do. It’s one of those rules that really can’t be broken unless you want to stand out like a sore thumb.

This doesn’t mean, of course, that you’re not allowed any lively socks in your collection. You’ve just got to be sure that whatever socks you’re wearing don’t clash with the rest of your attire. There’s a reason there’s a one hundred year history of matching shoes to socks to neck wear: it’s important.

_MG_8224Knee Length Or Ankle Length?

In the past, men’s carves were seen as a sign of virility and masculinity. It’s why Henry VIII constantly had portraits painted, depicting his strapping carves, bulging up from underneath his garters. The reason men in your grandpa’s generation were encouraged to wear long socks in the past was to cover up this apparently erogenous part of the body.

Although the same tastes don’t persist to the present, it’s still a good idea to wear long socks for work. Nothing is more distracting than a piece of hairy white leg poking out from the end of your trousers while you’re in a business meeting. If nothing else, wearing long socks looks a lot more professional.

Buying and wearing long socks that come up to the knee might sound good in theory, but it could be difficult to implement in practice. Many manufacturers no longer make full-length socks and so you might have to compromise with middle-length socks. Knee-length socks are usually sold in most menswear stores.

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Sock Fibers

Socks come in a range of fibers, all with different properties. Wool socks used to be the most common, but now they’re hard to find. If you do find wool socks, you’ll notice that they’re a lot more expensive than the alternatives. For this reason, they’re a bit of a luxury, worn by people who are doing well for themselves. Modern woolen socks are combined with synthetic fibers to give them an elastic quality and extreme durability.

Cotton socks are the most common material used to make socks. They’re cheap and durable and can be thrown in just about any kind of wash.

Cashmere and silk socks are a thing too, although they’re a lot rarer than cotton and synthetic varieties. They’re usually worn for special occasions with quality dress shoes.