Happy Spring! This week I wanted to show you some of my favorite Spring ties and pocket squares you can easily (and cheaply!) pick up to add some new life and personality into your current wardrobe. Accessories are a great way to add an element of fun and can help make your year round navy and charcoal suits and sportcoats more seasonally appropriate.
I love playing with color for Spring so I chose this pink polka dot tie which would look fantastic paired with your navy or charcoal suit.
This lavender tie and floral pocket square combination instantly injects some fun into your year round suits. Pair with a light blue dress shirt (which you should already have!) and now you have a sharp, Spring outfit.
These are, to me, the 16 accessories every guy needs to own, regardless of your age, occupation, and lifestyle. Some of these items you may not wear often, but there will be an occasion, as a grown man, when you will need them and you’ll be thankful that you thought far enough ahead to take care of them before it’s too late and you’re scrambling at the last minute. I’ve also included my favorites for each of these items below. But these points below are just skimming the surface compared to the much more through Men’s Essential Accessories Series I did recently.
Like I’ve mentioned before, every man should have at least a grey suit. Even if you only wear it once every year, you’re going to need a suit. Along with that, looking well dressed is always about the details and a white pocket square is an easily overlooked item that really does make a big impact and it’ll only set you back a couple of bucks.
This is another overlooked item. I talked about this in my article about the 12 Things Men Wear That Women Love, but a tie bar is something that adds that special touch to your outfit. It’s also so cheap to own so order it once and you’ll never think about it again.
Get rid of your white socks. These socks can and should be worn as your everyday socks. If you need heavier duty, thicker socks for your job or because of the weather, there are plenty of companies that offer warmer versions.
Whether you’re a sunglass man or not, sunglasses are important because they’re going to protect your eyes from the sun, prevent you from squinting, which creates wrinkles around your eyes, and they can add a stylish, cool touch to your outfit. Check out my sunglasses story so you choose the right frames for your face shape.
We all have those lazy days, myself included, where you just say F it, I’m gonna throw on a hat. When it comes to baseball hats I have very specific opinions about them so I shared some of my recommendations below.
Everyone travels. Whether it’s to some exotic country, or across town, you’ll need to put your clothes in something AND trash bags are not an option. Like every accessory you own, it should not only serve it’s purpose, but look damn good at the same time. I have a whole article about weekender bags you should check out.
This item goes great with your weekender bag. Again, doesn’t matter if you’re traveling to another city or to the gym, a dopp kitt is essential because it’ll keep your grooming products organized and contained in a respectable manner.
Everyone has casual days, and white sneakers look so sharp on every guy regardless of your age or body type. If you’re really scared of wearing white, or think that it doesn’t look right, ease yourself into it with a nice low top lace-up black or navy sneaker.
If you’ve downloaded any of my Free Ebooks, then you already know I’ve got some pretty strong opinions about socks – especially white ones. Most of my clients come to me with a drawer full of white, mid-calf length socks, possibly some ankle socks thrown in there, and a ratty pair or two of dress socks they pull out from time to time. This is unacceptable and frankly… gross. Before I took my nephew George under my wing, his sock drawer looked like this, but he had an excuse – he’s a little kid!
Socks area one of the few items in menswear when it’s perfectly acceptable to go absolutely crazy without looking ridiculous. You can use them to show off some of your personality and have fun with them. I’ve got clients who wear their favorite sports teams, crazy patterns, super heroes, etc. People will only really see them when you’re seated and they’re great conversation pieces, so I say go bonkers with them!
The Cardinal Sin of Socks
The only rule you cannot break from this day forward is: NO WHITE SOCKS – EVER. That’s it. They’re the cancer of the sock world. There’s no excuse or reason for owning any white socks anymore.
How many Socks Should I Own?
How many plain & patterned dress socks to have depends on what you wear and how often. I would say have enough to get you through a week, so about 7 pairs.
Best Material For Socks
Socks come in all sorts of fabrics/materials – wool, cotton, cashmere, silk, nylon or blends of each. In my experience, merino wool and cotton blends are best, because they’re more forgiving and comfortable than the other fabrics. They also look great and can be worn with both casual and dress outfits, and they’re just the right thickness. My choices at the bottom of this page will come in either fabric or one or the other. Silk, silk-blended or nylon-blended socks can only be worn with suits and dress shoes and will wear out quicker than other fabrics.
The types of socks to own
Plain & Patterned Dress Socks
I say dress socks, which are usually thinner than regular white socks, but I really just mean colored socks of any material. Think of these as your replacements for your white socks.
Like I said, it’s perfectly acceptable to go crazy here, but you should also at least have the standard colors of Black, Gray/Charcoal, and Navy in your sock drawer. That way, if you’re going to something where maybe it’s not appropriate – like a funeral or when it’s best to be more conservative.
As for material, like I said in the materials section, stick with merino wool or cotton blends because they’re most comfortable and can be worn with casual and dressy outfits. Just beware: Thick cotton or wool socks looks horrible with suits because they’re just too thick and informal. So if you need socks like that, wear them with casual outfits only.
These are to be worn when working out ONLY.
These are sometimes called low or short socks, depending on the company. Either way, they should have a little lip at the top. Anything higher, is to be avoided.
As for color, stick with black. White or other colors will get dirty and look gross very quickly.
For materials, merino wool or cotton blends are best.
You want to go with black because it’ll look the best the longest. You can also go with patterns and other colors, but no one will really see it, so it’s a bit of a waste. If you’re wearing white shoes, you can wear white ones, but they tend to get gross and nasty pretty quickly so I just avoid them. Whatever you do, don’t get nude-colored ones. It’s really gross looking.
How to match socks to an outfit
Patterned Or Colored Socks
(Any colors or patterns outside of the standard colors I listed above – black, charcoal & navy.)
The best thing to do, and what I do with my clients, is have a color in the socks, regardless of whether they’re plain or patterned, that is similar to a shade of any item in an outfit – whether it be your shoes, pants, shirts or accessories.
So if your tie or pocket square has a bit of blue in it, wear some socks with blue in them.
Just don’t match your socks to your shirt color if it’s white. Again – NO WHITE SOCKS!
Standard Plain Colored Socks
(Black, Charcoal & Navy)
Jeans and any color sneakers = any of the 3 standard colors.
Black suit (you better be wearing black shoes only!) = black socks
Navy suit (shoe color doesn’t matter) = navy or charcoal socks
Gray suit w/ black shoes = charcoal or black socks
Gray suit w/ brown shoes = charcoal socks
With that said, though, you shouldn’t worry about matching 99% of the time, though, because socks are one of the few places in menswear when you can (and should) go absolutely bananas.
When should you replace your socks?
When they’re worn thin in certain areas – usually around the heel or toes.
When they’re faded, stretched out or stained.
When they’re severely pilled (those weird little balls of fabric usually around worn areas are called pills). Pilling is usually the beginnings of them starting to get worn out in that area.
The Best Men’s Socks
Plain & Patterned Dress Socks
They’re some of my client’s favorites – and mine, of course. They’re soft, super comfortable and about as durable as any socks I’ve encountered.
The kicker is that they come with a lifetime warranty, so if anything happens to them, send the company an email and they’ll replace them free of charge, for life. Obviously, this comes at a price, because they’re not cheap, but I don’t find the price too offensive compared to other brands that don’t offer a lifetime guarantee.
They’re a merino blend, so they wick sweat and moisture away from your feet, keep them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. They’re also seamless on the toes, so you’ll never have to deal with the discomfort of excess fabric around your toes.
Their cushion versions are the best, but even their non-cushioned socked are great. I found the other sizes, like their micro crew, to be too short and you’ll be flashing some shin when crossing your legs – which is to be avoided – so stick to the crew length or mid-calf lengths.
The only annoying thing is that they don’t sell socks directly, so you have to get them via third parties, like Amazon, REI or GearX
If you want a great budget-friendly cotton options with LOTS of different colors and patterns, look no further than Uniqlo’s Crew Socks.
Gold Toe’s are the old standby and are great for their price, but you’ll be replacing them once ever six to 12 months.
Just like with their dress socks, I really love Darn Tough Ankle Socks. They’re comfortable as hell and come with that amazing lifetime guarantee.
For budget-friendly and variety, almost nowhere beats Uniqlo. They call their ankle socks “short” socks.
No Show Socks
I honestly say get the cheapest ones you can find because they’re all very similar. Some companies sell cotton blends and others sell more thin, nylon blended socks.
Some clients prefer one type over another, some like to have both and wear the thinner ones with dress shoes and the thicker ones with sneakers. This one is up to you, so try both and see what you prefer!