What do weddings, graduations, art shows, galas, and professional dinners have in common? They’re special events that only happen occasionally — and because of that, you’re also expected to dress a bit fancier than your normal everyday wear.

In addition to a suit, tie, and dress shoes, you’ll also need to make sure you have the right formal socks to complete your outfit. And lucky you: Here at Boardroom Socks we specialize in American-made socks for all occasions!

In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the ins and outs of formal socks, including what they are, different types of formal socks, and the best ways to wear them. Then we’ll point you towards other resources to help you dress your best.

What Are Formal Socks?

Formal socks for men are also known as dress socks. You may already have a few pairs of socks in your work wardrobe that could work for formal events, but it never hurts to have a pair or two set aside just for those special occasions where you want to look your best.

charcoal grey formal socks for men

More specifically, the most formal of formal socks is usually a pair of black over the calf dress socks. These should be your go-to socks to wear with a tuxedo, but they’re more versatile than that too; consider picking up a whole pack of them so you’re prepared for events from your usual office workdays to formal dinners and more.

Types of Formal Socks

While the black over the calf sock is the standard for men’s formalwear, there are a few other things to consider when choosing your perfect pair — namely length, material, and color. Let’s look at each in closer detail.

Formal Sock Length

Formal socks come in two main lengths: Over the calf and mid calf.

Why are formal socks longer than casual crew-length socks? Because for formalwear, the rule of thumb is that a man should never expose part of their bare leg. With shorter socks, this can happen when you sit down or cross your legs, causing your pant cuffs to rise up.

Over the calf socks have the advantage of providing a firm hold that won’t slip down or bunch up while you wear them. Some men find them constricting though, and opt for a mid calf sock for comfort’s sake instead. But for true formalwear, you should always go for over the calf length socks.

Formal Sock Material

We use two great materials to make our Boardroom Socks: Merino wool and high grade cotton. Neither is required for formalwear, so it really comes down to personal preference as to which material you’d prefer.

Merino wool is temperature regulating and odor absorbing, but on the heavier side. This makes it a great sock material for fall and winter, but some guys find merino wool socks stifling in the summer heat.

Cotton, on the other hand, is light, soft, and cooling. This makes it a great material for warmer spring and summer days, including summertime weddings and outdoor dinners.

Formal Sock Colors

As we’ve mentioned, black socks are the standard for formal wear. Why? Because in the majority of cases, formal events will want men to wear at least a suit and tie, all the way up to a super formal tuxedo.

But if you’re attending a formal or semi-formal summer event, the dress code might be a bit different. If you’re breaking out an earth tone suit, a pair of khaki over the calf socks might be a better match.

Other Resources for Dressing Your Best

Having a couple great pairs of socks for formal events and occasions will get you on your way to dressing your best.

And be sure to check out our full selection of over the calf dress socks to get ready for your next formal event!

Shop Over the Calf Dress Socks

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff

Our editorial staff is comprised of menswear experts dedicated to providing you with helpful information. Sharing everything from style tips to sock care instructions, these gentlemen are a wealth of knowledge for both our customers and the Boardroom Socks team.

Also in The Boardroom Memo

navy wool dress socks with dark slacks and black oxfords for male banker
Banking Attire: How Bankers Dress Like a Million Bucks at Work

by Editorial Staff April 18, 2024

Whether you’re new to the banking industry or are a seasoned vet, this article shares style tips on how to dress like a million bucks as a banker.
Read More
pastel pink dress socks worn with dark denim and brown tassel loafers
Pastel Dress Socks: How to Embrace the Spring Season in Style

by Editorial Staff March 15, 2024

Spring weather marks the transition away from darker colors as brighter shades emerge into full bloom. This guide to spring socks offers advice on incorporating pops of color to your attire for the new season.
Read More
wool socks with lots of pilling
How Do You Stop a Wool Sock Pilling?

by Editorial Staff January 20, 2024

Like fine sweaters, you may encounter pilling on your dress socks. Read this guide for tips on how to fix pilled socks as well as how to best prevent pilling in the first place.
Read More