Style SOS: Can you wear black shoes with white socks?

“Is it wrong to wear black shoes with white socks?”

This question was submitted last week, and we were actually quite surprised to realise we hadn’t already addressed this subject. Although it might surprise some of you to hear it, in “real life” (i.e. when we’re not playing at being Fashion Police officers on the Internet) there are actually very few style-related “crimes” that really bother us.

This, however, is one of them:

black shoes with white socks

Socks and shoes: ASOS

This particular photo is actually a slightly lesser crime than that involving black dress shoes, white athletic socks and a dark suit of some description, but the principle is the same. It doesn’t matter whether you’re male or female, wearing high heels or flats, whether your socks are frilly or plain: as far as we’re concerned, black shoes with white socks is always going to be a crime of fashion.

Actually, we’ll take this one step further and admit that we’re not fans of white socks AT ALL. White socks are something that should only be worn (in our opinion) with sneakers, by people who’re working out or playing sports… or maybe by those super-cute young girls who have a very cutesy, often Lolita-inspired style, and who can get away with wearing frilly ankle socks with heels. Or, of course, by the late, great Michael Jackson.

For anyone else, though? With black shoes, you wear black socks. Or some other colour of socks, if you must (we’d recommend a colour similar to the shade of your shoes or pants). This is particularly the case with dress shoes, which are instantly cheapened by a flash of white socks when their wearer sits down: that brilliant white (or worse: grubby white…) will draw attention to itself, and has the power to ruin an otherwise awesome outfit. Our rule of thumb:

White socks are for sports, not for suits (or dresses, or any other kind of non-athletic outfit) .

As with all of our proclamations, however, we feel the need to stress that this is just our opinion, and, like everything else, it comes down to a matter of personal taste. You won’t actually get arrested for wearing black shoes with white socks… but you may well get a few odd glances from those who agree with us that this is a great way to look like you got dressed in the dark.

We’re interested to hear what our readers think of this one, though, so tell us:

Are black shoes with white socks a crime of fashion?


  • April 23, 2013


    Now can we get my father to stop wearing black dress shoes and socks with his shorts?

    View Comment
    • April 24, 2013

      annette tirette

      My stepfather wears his with his bathrobe since his slippers wore out.

      View Comment
    • April 24, 2013


      I’ve seen it all on men – socks of all descriptions with sandals, dress shoes, athletic shoes. I think these honeys go by what feels good, not what looks good. They want to wear sandals, but are afraid of their wife running after them with a ped-egg, or don’t like the feel of leather to their skin, so the socks stay on… I believe it’s hopeless. A friend of mine wears hand-knitted hooped socks in ghastly “organic” colours with his conservative suits and shoes. He claims the rough, untreated wool is invigorating and nobody would see them anyway under his desk anyway.

      For females, only characters from a Hentai movie look good with white socks (knee-socks, no less) in their Mary-Janes. The picture above makes me cringe. These doily socks with the mannish shoes – shudder!

      View Comment
  • May 4, 2013


    My school uniform from grade 1 to high school involved black shoes with white socks. I never really realized it was a fashion no-no until I started reading fashion blogs. lol. I think it looks cute in a costumey kind of way, but not quite for formal occasions.

    View Comment
    • June 4, 2013


      Yeah, this. My school required white socks, and I didn’t realize it was a “crime of fashion” until college.

      I still wear white socks, but usually with boots or pants that are long enough my socks aren’t visible. I wear a lot of colorful socks hidden this way, too. It’s fun after spending the first 18 years of my life with a drawer of all white socks.

      View Comment