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by Editorial Staff March 23, 2023
You've got your sharp burgundy suit all set, but there's just one problem: what color socks are you supposed to wear?
This can be a tricky question, but the answer is simpler than expected. Matching socks to your burgundy suit is pretty straightforward if you follow the general color rules we outline below.
Here's a hint: no matter what your outfit looks like, never wear athletic socks with a suit! Make sure to always wear dress socks when donning a suit and dress shoes.
Burgundy suits are unique; you'll certainly stand out from the crowd of blacks, blues and greys. However, it's a tricky color to match. It isn't a neutral shade, so it's important to tread carefully when pairing colors with a burgundy suit. Yes, even your socks require extra care.
Here are a few critical factors to remember when choosing socks to go with your sharp burgundy suit.
With a few tweaks along the way, you can adapt your burgundy suit to nearly any dress code. However, it still must follow the rules of that style.
So, for example, if you're dressing for a formal event, opt for a conservative color for your socks. You don't need to be calling attention to your ankles. This means wearing socks that are dark or neutral shades.
For formal events, we also highly recommend wearing knee-high dress socks. Over the calf socks that stay up are extremely comfortable and also eliminate the aggravation of frequently bending over to pull up your droopy socks.
But if the event you're dressing for is casual, you can choose a playful color or a subtle pattern. If suitable, feel free to go with a quirkier sock to express some personality.
The color of your dress shoes should help point you in the direction of what color socks to wear.
It helps to keep your socks a similar shade (or a shade in the same family) to your shoe. Unless you're dressing casually, your socks generally aren't the appropriate place to create contrast in your outfit.
A general rule of thumb is to stick with standard color pairing practices.
For example, you should generally avoid pair black socks with light brown shoes. And, conversely, if you are wearing black leather dress shoes, avoiding brown socks is best.
Burgundy shoes with a burgundy suit could be a little garish, but in that case, you'll likely want to keep your color line unbroken. Burgundy socks are the most logical choice but be careful with the monochromatic look.
Cold toes can make you miserable; on the other hand (foot?), so can sweaty feet. That's why it's essential to make sure you're choosing the proper socks for the season.
Merino wool dress socks are your most appropriate choice in winter weather. They shouldn't be incredibly thick; thin wool socks keep your feet comfortable and look better with a suit than chunky knit socks that will interrupt the drape of your trousers.
During the warmest months of the year, lightweight, breathable socks made from long staple cotton are an excellent choice.
The most classic approach to pairing socks with a colored suit is to match your socks as closely as you can to the color of your pants.
When you wear socks the same color as your suit, you create a natural blend and smooth transition from leg to foot. Your socks will seem to melt into the background of your suit, which is ideal, especially when you want to look conservative.
There are so many tones and variances within burgundy and maroon, so you'll likely have a very difficult time nailing down a similar color of sock. If the color is too off, you'll only draw unwanted attention to your socks because they'll clash.
With this in mind, the simplest approach is to go with black socks and black shoes (more on this combination below).
An exception to this would be if your suit has some burgundy in it and isn't a solid burgundy color. For example, the photo below shows how a pair of burgundy dress socks pairs beautifully with a suit that isn't a solid burgundy yet does contain some burgundy in its pattern.
Another perfect way to style your burgundy suit and socks is to match your socks to your shoes.
You can't go wrong with black socks if you are going the classic route of black leather dress shoes. Black is a classic shade that works well with nearly any other color.
This pairing works exceptionally well if you're dressing for a formal event. A burgundy tuxedo, black leather oxford shoes, and black socks are a natural combination.
Grey socks pair well with a burgundy suit since grey is neutral. Burgundy is a bold color, and grey does a nice job of retreating to the background and not calling attention to itself while also toning down the suit.
If your burgundy suit is a dark tone, stick with dark grey or charcoal dress socks. Black shoes are a good match here.
A lighter shade suit calls for light grey socks. Heather grey is a lovely, subdued shade to help mellow things out.
Navy is a very versatile color that looks good with many other shades, including burgundy. It makes a nice complement to this color suit. It's subtle enough to appear almost black but stands out just enough to give your ankles some personality.
If you're itching to slip into navy blue socks with your burgundy suit, your best shoe color choice is going to be brown (virtually any shade). Remember that the lighter your shoe color is, the more casual your suit will read.
Brown and burgundy are warm colors, making a beautiful pairing. Wearing your burgundy suit with brown socks works well because the brown is close enough to burgundy that it blends but doesn't overpower it. These colors make a rather sophisticated pairing.
If your suit is a darker shade of burgundy, lean toward dark brown socks. Espresso or chocolate brown looks very refined with burgundy. However, a lighter burgundy or maroon suit requires tan or light brown socks. Make sure to always wear brown dress shoes if you're wearing brown socks.
If you are considering rocking the sockless look in your burgundy suit, go for it! Aside from the most formal occasions, you'll likely be just fine showing a little ankle with your burgundy suit. This suit color in and of itself is more relaxed and lends itself to sock-less style.
However, you don't want to actually be barefoot. Socks are essential to keep your feet healthy and your shoes clean. So instead, wear no-show dress socks.
These socks are cut low enough that they are not visible when wearing most shoes. You'll enjoy the comfort of a quality pair of socks while also sporting the sock-less look.
Even if you need to shell out a couple of extra bucks, go for the good socks. The cheap, inexpensive socks won't wear well over time. They become easily stretched out; then you're left with sagging socks that look and feel miserable.
But quality socks will keep their shape and are made with a higher percentage of natural materials to ensure your feet stay dry and comfortable.
Now that you've mastered the art of the burgundy suit, be sure to head over to our Ultimate Guide to Socks for Suits to learn more about how to style all of the other suit colors in your closet.
Banner photo credit: Florsheim
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.
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