If you have questions about men's business socks, you've come to the right place. This article will outline everything you need to know including our expert pick on which business socks are best, how to style them, proper care instructions and much more.

Table of Contents
What are Business Socks?
Different Types of Business Socks
How to Style Business Socks Like a Pro
How to Care for Business Socks

What are Business Socks Called?

Let’s start with the most basic question: what are business socks? Men’s business socks are better known as dress socks, the style of hosiery worn by men in formal and professional environments.

  • Business socks are more commonly referred to as "dress socks"
  • Thin to comfortably fit snug leather dress shoes
  • Allow trousers to smoothly drape across your leg

This type of hosiery is manufactured with very fine yarns that produce a thin pair of socks specifically designed for dress shoes. They are intentionally thin primarily because dress shoes fit more snugly than other shoes but also because a thinner sock allows pants to move smoothly across your leg.

business socks allow for smooth lines in trousers

When wearing trousers and dress pants, you want the garment to drape well on your body as you move and cross your legs. Business socks are purposefully designed to be stylish yet functional, allowing your pants to move freely as you cross your legs. Bulkier socks would cause your pants to bunch, creating an unflattering look.

Shop Business Socks

Different Types of Business Socks

While business socks for men are available in a dizzying array of colors, materials and styles they can best be separated into two main categories by length.

understanding business sock lengths

1. Executive Length

Executive socks, also referred to as over the calf socks, are dress socks that fully cover the calf and rest just below the knee. Measuring approximately eighteen inches in length, executive length socks are the most formal and traditional style of men's business sock.

2. Mid-Calf Length

If you find a shorter sock to be more comfortable, then mid-calf length dress socks may be a better option. For reference, this style of business sock is a tad longer than crew length but still roughly five inches shorter than executive length hosiery.

Why Business Sock Length Matters

Longstanding menswear etiquette dictates that professional men should not expose their bare, hairy legs when wearing pants.

sock etiquette for men

Whether you are going up a flight of stairs or crossing your legs in the boardroom, your pants will inevitably rise. If your socks are too short, your bare leg will be exposed.

Further Reading on Business Sock Length:
Comparing Mid-Calf and Over the Calf
What are the Best Long Socks for Men?

What are Business Socks Made Of?

Business socks are typically made primarily of either merino wool or long staple cotton with a lesser amount of nylon and spandex. The wool and cotton provide comfort and breathability while nylon, spandex and other synthetic fibers improve durability and keep the socks up. For a more in-depth comparison of wool and cotton be sure to read our article on dress sock materials.

Further Reading on Business Sock Materials:
What to Look for in Cotton Dress Socks
Are Merino Wool Socks Worth It?

How to Style Business Socks Like A Pro

To best style business socks, you need to have a clear understanding of the environment that you will be in and what is considered appropriate for that situation.

navy merino wool dress socks with brown dress shoes

For professional environments, wearing business socks in the traditional shades of black, blue or grey is always appropriate as these core colors will look sharp with virtually any business outfit.

To add a little more pizzazz, you can sprinkle in brighter solid colors or subtle patterns such as dots or stripes. A relaxed work setting will provide much more latitude in selecting your attire, including business casual socks. Working at your desk or with colleagues of a similar stature provides an opportunity to wear fun business socks; in this setting you could comfortably wear brighter colors or busy patterns.

olive green business socks with khaki pants

If you wear khaki pants to your office, brown, khaki and olive business socks would all be great choices. If you have the opportunity to wear jeans to the office, your choices are virtually endless.

A pair of well-fitting jeans combined with solid burgundy socks and nice dress shoes is an incredibly dapper look that will bring your style up a notch or two. You could then easily transition from the office to lunch or dinner with colleagues and not look underdressed. The wilder the sock color or pattern you select with jeans, the more casual an image you will project.

burgundy business socks with jeans and brown derby dress shoes

Always keep in mind the old adage that you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have. With that perspective, we recommend occasionally tempering your hosiery choice with some more classic business socks.

Further Reading on Business Sock Style:
How to Match Your Socks, Dress Shoes and Pants
5 Ways to Style Fun Dress Socks
How to Wear Colorful Dress Socks
What Color Socks Go with Navy Blue Suits?

How to Care for Business Socks

With just a little extra care, you can significantly extend the life of your business socks. For the best results, be sure to:

  • Turn inside out before laundering
  • Wash in cold water
  • Air dry or tumble dry low

For more tips on getting the most out of your business hosiery, be sure to read our comprehensive guide on how to wash dress socks.

Shop the Finest Selection of Business Socks

Now that you’re an expert on all things business socks, why don’t you pick out a few pairs? Each pair of our socks is crafted in North Carolina using the finest yarns from around the world. Whether you're heading into the boardroom or a just a casual day at the office, Boardroom Socks will keep you comfortable and stylish.

Shop Business Socks

Nathan James
Nathan James

CEO, Boardroom Socks

Nathan is an eighth generation textile professional, passionate about producing quality hosiery right here in North Carolina. His favorite dress socks are our burgundy merino wool socks. You will also frequently find him wearing our no-show socks. Outside of the office he enjoys fishing, reading and exploring Charlotte with his wife, son and Golden Retriever.

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