This interesting picture tells us something very important about mens’ style. Tony Blair, then PM of Britain, is sitting next to the most powerful man in the world, Bill Clinton, President of the USA. Tony would love to be more like Bill. He is wearing a similar dark suit, an identical shirt style, a matching spotted tie and the same black, shiny brogues. His cuffs have links too, and they are showing. He is even mirroring Clinton’s body posture and inclining in, towards him.
But what has he forgotten? OMG – it’s the socks!
Mr Clinton knows, for the best sartorial look, one needs to wear socks that come up to one’s knee. Who knew? Well not the Brits, but ask the Italians. They know.
My husband flew to Venice, and the airline lost his luggage. Receiving compensation he walked into the nearest Menswear shop and set about replacing his business wear. All went well until he asked for short socks. The shop keeper, aghast, told him that a gentleman would not wear short socks with a business suit, and proudly added that he did not stock them. My husband bought the knee-high socks and learnt his lesson.
Colourful socks, making a statement, are not the best choice for the most formal occasions. But if you are in a more creative industry, and are tall with long legs, they can be OK.
I do know a successful man in the world of property development who never wears socks. Everyone mentions this unique quirk, and I don’t think it has ever prevented him from doing some of the biggest deals. Nigel also Chairs the Royal Shakespeare Company – it is well-known that Royalty and Actors embrace eccentricity. But if you not yet at the pinnacle of your career it is not something I would recommend. It is, after all, a bit chilly and you must combine bare feet with leather soled shoes. Of course sock-less is de rigueur with summer footwear – but not for work.
The sock rules are therefore rather simple
- choose cotton or wool and wash daily
- long socks with business wear to avoid calf exposure
- sober colours to tone with suits and shoes
- coloured socks for creative types with long legs
- never white, or sports, at work
- never, ever, wear comedy socks
- never socks with sandals (and never sandals at work)