Are you a lover of tradition and classic style, or are you a fashion rule breaker? In many realms of men’s fashion, pushing the envelope can mean really stepping outside of your comfort zone. Instead of bolder, more expressive choices (puffball sleeves and silk pantaloons, anyone?) innovation and playfulness are often smaller scale when it comes to everyday menswear. The accessories you choose, the fit of your jeans, the shade of your shirt; all of these micro-choices add flair and personality.

Breaking the rules

Socks and neckwear are two additional style niches where men can make more expressive fashion choices. However, even here there are “rules” to consider. Conventional wisdom and tradition tell us that we should match our socks to our ties. If you don a burgundy bowtie, a dark red pair of socks is a fine choice. If your Windsor knot has been tied in a beautiful mustard shade, your sock should similarly sport a rich, deep yellow.

But what happens when you begin to introduce pattern and print into your accessories? And what if you want to break the rules and get a little playful? After all, for some of us, even finding two matching socks in the morning can prove problematic...

Suave & in sync


suave and in sync socks

While matching your socks and tie can give your accoutrements and streamlined, sleek, “put together” look, it’s certainly not a hard and fast rule to follow. Instead, this old rule is simply another fashion choice you can make, which has its own particular effects. If you’re seeking a suave, meticulous appearance, the “matchy matchy” approach is a great option, especially when you’ve chosen a subtly striking shade (dark reds, yellows and greens work well) which offsets your suit.

Variety is the spice of life

striking sock designs

Choosing unmatched socks and ties has its own benefits and effects. This option is best for a more playful look, with more personality. When you’re not constrained by the need to match, you can pick and mix any options you like to make small statements. Perhaps you’ll choose two clashing shades to add some boldness and whimsy to your attire. Maybe you’d like to wear two shades which compliment each other; russet brown socks with a burnt orange tie for an autumnal look perhaps?

Unmatched accessories also give wearers the opportunity to play with patterns and prints. Why not combine your black and white polkadot tie with a monochrome striped pair of socks? Or select pairings featuring different floral motifs? If you’re keen to use pattern while still adhering to the “matched tie and socks” rule, a patterned tie and plain socks in the tie’s dominant shade is often the most cohesive choice.

Be versatile

 versatile socks

Whether you’re a traditionalist or a rule breaker, all of these combinations are at your disposal - and they can all be used to achieve different effects. Instead of limiting yourself to suave synchronicity or quirky contrasts, why not embrace both options and play with all of the different brushes in your “fashion paintbox”?