As perhaps has been written about ad nauseum, blue, brown, and grey take center stage in menswear. They are indeed the most versatile colors in a man’s wardrobe, and should be the first three (if not more, considering the shades involved) suits to own.
But, once you’ve got those down, where to go next? Green can be a surprisingly versatile color choice in both spring/summer and fall/winter attire. Here, we’ll discuss how to find the right socks to complement your green suit.
Before we dive into our sock listicle, let’s set a few parameters on what ‘green suit’ actually means. You’d certainly be forgiven for wandering first to Batman’s nemesis the Riddler, whose question-mark embossed tailoring hues from chartreuse to flavors of lime depending on the animation or director’s choice. But, in classic and contemporary menswear, green is actually pretty common.
Photo Credit: Frank Stella Clothiers
Green suiting can be either casual or formal. On the latter, soft tailoring in linen or cotton works quite well. Flecks of tan, grey, or cream might be woven in for some additional visual interest. In the middle is perhaps a tweed, with olive green as the base color. As with linen, some other colors-black, cream, or even some thin red and blue might be woven in. While it’s quite rare (and very bold!) to see someone in head-to-toe green formalwear, a velvet jacket in emerald with black satin or grosgrain lapels can look dashing indeed.
Photo Credit: No Man Walks Alone
For the sake of simplicity, though, we’ll build our green suit around two primary models. For the warmer months, a chino in a sage finish- a kind of green with grey undertones. This works well for casual events, summer weddings, and a church service or two. Break up the jacket and trousers for even more versatility. The other is a darker, rich olive corduroy.
Black is the most overrated color in menswear. I think because of its somberness and formality, many men default to black for their first suit. The truth is, black at scale is difficult to pull off. It doesn’t flatter many skin tones. The absence of color, the exceptionally well-dressed Raphael Schenider from The Gentleman’s Gazette correctly points out, actually makes the man appear kind of a block-without much depth or texture.
Black at the smaller scale, though, is much easier to pull off. A set of black socks elevates the corduroy suit. And, it can be a great complement should you choose to wear a tie (Black knit, wool, or silk grenadine) with a white shirt Black tassel loafers (suede preferred, but any kind will do) or some cordovan penny loafers make a versatile-and even hip- outfit.
I’ve expounded on the purple sock before. It shouldn’t be the only one in our wardrobes, but is one of the best for our green suits.
Purple and green work well together because they are both derivatives of blue. But, they work well as both solid and accent colors. Consider this in our two suits.
For a bold, rich take- try our solid purple merino wool with the olive corduroy and tassel loafer combination. On the other, take the grey-green sage and try it with our grey socks with purple dots. It’s subtle-but interesting.
Or, try a combination of purple and black with either suit for something both formal and whimsical.
Cream socks are having a moment with both tailoring and casual menswear. I’ve seen them on catwalks and TikToks, and everything in between. It’s important to note cream is different from white, though.
This sock choice is a way to sneak in a little something different into your style. While it can be done with our sage green suit, styling cream socks with the black loafers and the corduroy suit sneaks a little *something* different into your style.
Green and brown are perhaps the most natural pairing for each other. They’re the colors of the earth, after all. I suppose it’s at least part of the reason our eyes enjoy them together. It’s comforting. Inviting. Familiar.
Brown socks will work just fine with either of our suits. Since it does lean into the ‘country’ vibe, try the brown over-the-calf socks with sturdy leather derby shoes or some balmoral boots.
On the other end of the spectrum, brown socks can work- even if folks don’t know you’re wearing them. Our no-show socks are great for summer weddings and suede loafers. Or, if you’re a little more fashion-forward, this is a great way to try wearing sneakers with a suit.
Red and green are complementary colors, yes- but also strongly associated with sleighs and subarctic antlered animals. But, treading lightly can be just fine.
Burgundy is the right choice in this situation. It’s more subtle than an attention-grabbing red, and far more versatile. Try them with either chino or corduroy suiting, yes- but you can also incorporate burgundy into the rest of the outfit.
First, some fine brushed corduroy can actually change shades in different lights- and some ‘green’ suits can actually appear to have flecks of red in them when viewed from a certain angle. Second, as I mentioned in the intro, fuller tweed suits often have some red woven in the cloth, too. A pair of burgundy socks works beautifully and helps to draw the color out.
We’ve covered a range of color ideas here, and I hope it taps into the central thesis of my last few pieces: menswear is supposed to be fun.
If anything, a green suit says you’re comfortable and confident in your style, creative and willing to try something new.
What do you think? Would you wear a green suit? Or, is it blue, brown, and grey all day?
Yours in Style,
For further reading, be sure to check out our ultimate guide to socks for suits.
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