Expert tips on finding – and styling – the perfect couple

For some, socks may be an afterthought when dressing. Perhaps you, too, look with disdain into your top drawer to find a pile of disorganized, mismatched sets in front of you (just how do they always get lost in the laundry?). But in fact, this often underestimated accessory has the potential to become one of the most important parts of your entire outfit. The key to having a couple do the heavy lifting for you? Knowing where to buy the best socks and of course an arsenal of styling tricks to wear them.

Rochelle Sara Gan and Nandita Sekhar, co-CEOs and founders of Stems, jointly tell TZR in an email: “There is so much attention to the larger features of an outfit – the skirt, the blouse, the dress – but pulling You consider treating socks like socks your jewelry. They should get just as much attention to complete your look completely.” That sentiment is true across the board. And while it’s important to have good basics on hand, statement styles aren’t out of the conversation.

Just look at the Fall Winter 2022 catwalks, which were replete with big sock styling moments. Chanel featured chunky knit, thigh-high designs peeking out from over-the-knee wellies and under long skirts. Christian Dior went a sportier way and mixed brightly colored knee socks with feminine shapes and silhouettes. And Jacquemus featured different lengths in white and beige in his Nomad Chic collection, proving socks are taking a starring role as styling must-haves.

Of course, having just the right pair of socks for your outfit needs makes all the difference. A few things to look for? “The colours, yarns and knitwear are all designed to elevate the wearer from a simple sock to a soft, well-loved wardrobe staple,” Gan and Sekhar share. “[Stems] was designed with the idea that your socks should be non-seasonal and take you from year to year.”

Quality is also paramount, as are the production processes and the yarn. “If you have a good pair of shoes, you also want a nice pair of socks,” says Shirley Braine, store manager of the traditional brand Schostal. “You should look for good materials, not nylon and polyester that make you sweat.” Choosing cotton, wool and blends with natural fabrics gives you a more durable quality that’s just as important as adding style to your own wardrobe . “We also always consider the environmental impact of the yarns we use and are very proud of our eco-conscious cashmere,” add Gan and Sekhar. Sustainability is also a way to differentiate yourself from brands and should be considered in the research process.

And yes, finding the best options can also take a bit of research and a bit of trial and error. “I find so much inspiration from other people wearing socks!” Elizabeth Cardinal Tamkin, stylist, author and content manager, told TZR. “Chunky socks, ribbed, lace. I have so many photos saved on my Instagram because that’s how people style socks.”

There is an art to actually making socks work as a focal point. “Not to make this scientific (because it absolutely isn’t), but there are some socks that just don’t feel To the right with certain outfits,” says Cardinal Tamkin. “Sometimes I try on 10 pairs before I find one that clicks. Usually it’s the slight variations in coarseness or even the shade of white that make the difference.” Options and selection are important, and don’t be afraid to play with different textures and elements like color and pattern and lengths to find the right style to find for your shape.

“I usually wear light-colored socks and light-colored shoes because I think that’s the most flattering combination for the leg,” Cardinal Tamkin continues. “All my favorite socks crumple up easily: I’m not a fan of torn, stretched socks. I like it when it looks cool and simple.” And when in doubt, remember this wisdom from Gan and Sekhar: “If socks are so beautiful, why hide them under boots or sneakers – show them off!”

Keep scrolling forward for seven must-have niche brands (and TZR’s top picks from each) to stock your sock drawer now.

Why you will love them:

The Milan-based atelier (and fashion insider favourite) is known for its one-of-a-kind socks, delighting consumers with fun prints, quirky color mashups and superior quality for over 30 years. Originally founded and inspired by her Sicilian roots, Maria La Rosa is now supported by her two daughters, Alice and Lisa, who contribute to the development of the label (ie the cute new handbags that have just hit the market). But as the company moves into the future, its handmade socks – made with raw materials and centuries-old weaving techniques – have become the bread and butter of the business.

TZR’s choice:

Try the gipsy, a color-block cutie that hits mid-calf and comes in four colorways. Made from a silk blend, the slightly transparent nature and the graphic pattern give the simple shape depth and individuality. The design is simple enough to appeal to all personalities, but distinctive enough to stand out from the crowd.

Why you will love them:

Comme Si was founded in 2019 by Jenni Lee with the intention of making luxurious, well-made socks within the core ethos of sustainability. The result? A coveted line that combines chic, understated designs with eco-friendly manufacturing, proving you can have the best of both worlds. The brand’s Italian-made factory is OEKO-TEX® and REACH certified, ensuring fair wages and working conditions. The luxurious character of the goods is visible through the use of high-quality yarns such as Egyptian cotton, cashmere, merino wool, organic cotton and silk and felt.

TZR’s choice:

This classic knee sock will become your everyday companion due to its extra-fine, lightweight merino wool composition (excellent for breathability) with just a touch of stretch to perfectly fit the calf and stay put for hours. The chic, finely ribbed structure proves that the devil is in the details. These knee-high socks come in six colors ranging from neutral to rich tones. You should snag a few to keep rotating throughout the season.

Why you will love them:

Founded in August 2020 by fashion industry veterans Rochelle Sara Gan and Nandita Sekhar, this New York label was created with the belief that the joy of dressing starts with your feet first. What distinguishes it? The use of lightweight performance knit fabric that promotes airflow and is constructed to stay fresh all day. “Most sock brands cater to men and offer smaller socks for women, but women perspire differently and need lighter, more breathable knitwear,” Gan and Sekhar told TZR. Your feet will stay dry and comfortable thanks to its high-performance mesh fabric with antibacterial properties.

TZR’s choice:

Take it from the founders themselves and try the Silky Rib Luxury Crew style first, which has become a customer favorite. “Our silky blend crews were our first piece we designed and have become a Stems classic,” say Gan and Sekhar. “The silky blends come in rich, saturated hues, are machine washable and made from upcycled yarns.” With a clean, bold contrast stripe at the top, the everyday design adds just enough pizzazz to feel extra special, but not overdone.

Why you will love them:

Socksss is a Stockholm-based unisex brand founded by Sean Fry and Oscar Lund-Hansen. Rooted in a rich design and art background, the brand focuses on sustainability through well-made crew socks (available in a variety of patterns, from dip-dye to rugby stripes and even camouflage) that last forever

TZR’s choice:

Socksss’ signature crew silhouette is made from OEKO-TEX® certified organic cotton for a lighter yet comfortable fit. Since street style-approved tie dyes are always in, TZR recommends trying them out for a little pop of color – a truly groovy look!

Why you will love them:

Tabio, a popular Japanese sock brand, has been launched in the US in recent years with great success due to its craftsmanship, comfort and reasonable price. The company founded by Naomasa Ochi is now also led by his son Katsuhiro Ochi, who continues to build on his father’s legacy. You’ll find every style imaginable, from minimalist and clean designs to fun colors and patterns and sporty, sneaker-appropriate options that don’t stand out.

TZR’s selection:

Tabio is known for its unique prints. Break the norm and try a whimsical pattern, like this transparent apple motif (who doesn’t love a cheeky fruit design?) to add a new dimension to your sock drawer. The solid background, available in black or white, provides a minimal, tonal base that makes styling a breeze.

Why you will love them:

Darner Socks is an American made brand founded by Roxanna Sternerud. The brand’s name was inspired by the nickname given to women during the Civil War who repaired (or darned) soldiers’ socks. It became known for its unique cut-and-sew designs that create long, sleek lines to elongate the look of the client’s legs (because who doesn’t want a little length in the leg department?). Everything is made in small batches in LA for a mindful approach to design and craftsmanship, making them a special addition to your wardrobe that not everyone you know will have.

TZR’s selection:

The most popular and classic style for Darner socks is their plain mesh. Offered in a wide range of colors and prints, we recommend trying the best-selling black first. It’s the perfect addition to any wardrobe; chic, understated and a great introduction to the brand due to its subtle nature and lightness.

Shostal

Why you will love them:

Schostal is one of those iconic brands that turns its customers into fans for the rest of their lives. The traditional family-owned label has existed since 1870 and is known for its high-quality pajama sets, shirts and of course Calzini (Socks in Italian). “Our socks have all been made in Rome for 75 years,” Braine, the brand’s store manager, told TZR. “We have pure wool, Filo Scozia (cotton) and a blend [of the two].” The simple, ribbed knitted socks are available in long and short lengths and in almost every color imaginable. And with celebrity clients like Anne Hathaway and Charlotte Gainsbourg, this line isn’t for sleeping.

TZR’s selection:

A classic, pure cotton sock is the best option for everyday wear, keeping you fresh, dry and comfortable all day long. This style can be styled up or down, worn front and center as an outfit highlight, or worn discreetly under your look, depending on your style preference. You should stock up on impeccable yarn quality in every color as soon as possible.

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