How to Match Socks & Shoes with your Trousers

Posted by Rishi Chullani on

While I’ve been hammering home the trend du jour, or rather, trend of the year (or few!), regarding colorful socks and how they’re relentlessly contributing to the men’s wear revolution we are witnessing, for those of us that are more conservative, here are some basic guidelines we should follow when matching socks to our shoes and trousers:

Matching socks with trousers

A general rule of thumb when deciding what socks to wear is that your socks should be the same shade or a shade darker than your trousers.  For example, with blue trousers, you can opt for navy blue socks, and with grey trousers, go for a charcoal grey.

Charcoal grey socksCharcoal grey socks, a shade greater than lighter grey pants, make for a seamless transition


The exception to this rule (partially) is that with brown pants you generally want your socks to be darker than your shoes.

Brown socks

Brown socks that are a shade darker than the shoes can make for an elegant combination! Courtesy of Gentleman’s Gazette at

Matching patterned socks to your trousers

As is the case with matching patterns for ties that I have outlined in earlier articles, if your trousers are striped, match the color of your socks with the less dominant stripe.  For example, a pair of pants with a less dominant grey stripe would go well with grey socks.

If your socks are patterned, the dominant color of your socks should match your trousers.  So, argyle socks with a dominant navy blue would match up well with navy trousers!

Argyle socks with charcoal grey make

Argyle socks with charcoal grey make for a rich combination with lighter grey pants

Matching shoes to your trousers

Unless Craig Sager is your fashion idol, matching shoes to your trousers is imperative.  Socks may be the trend du jour, but barring a few moments during the day, are largely hidden.  Shoes, on the other hand, are fully exposed.  Make the wrong move, and you could leave a scathing impression.  Here is an infographic from Gilt Manual that succinctly depicts what shoe and trouser combinations work:

Trouser shoe combinations

What the above diagram is essentially saying:

  • Blue pants go with brown or black shoes
  • Grey pants go with brown or black shoes
  • Brown pants go with brown shoes
  • Black pants go with black shoes

And that's a wrap for this one! I hope that you have enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it!

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