The Best Dress Socks for Any Budget
Your hunt is over: Best Stuff is GQ’s destination for finding the perfect version of whatever you need. Here are four dress socks guaranteed to upgrade your ankles.
Pantherella Egyptian Cotton Dress Socks
>, buy now at nordstrom.com
We've spent much of the last decade persuading guys that it's okay to go sockless (or, at least, look like you are), but there will be times when you need to cover your ankles. To be proper, to show your respects, to nail the job interview, to just stay warm. But we're not vouching for just any socks. We're done with the whimsical ones that look like airport carpeting. Nothing neon, nothing "novelty." No, you need dress socks in solid colors that work under a cuffed tweed trouser and raw-hemmed jeans. They should make your feet feel good, too. Which is why, when we need to dress right, we're wearing socks from 80-year-old English brand Pantherella. They're pricey for socks—and we've got cheaper options down below—but worth the spend. Here's why:
5 Reasons We Love Pantherella Dress Socks
1. This is the perfect blend: Pantherella's ribbed socks sit in our #1 spot because they're knit from Egyptian-cotton yarn with a bit of nylon (it's a 70/30 blend, if you want to get specific). The cotton's soft but strong, while the nylon delivers stretch and grip. Fabric weights and finishes are something the company is obsessed with at their Leicester, England, factory (the site of the brand's sock production for the past 80 years).
2. They're ribbed for your pleasure: Some sock rib patterns are too wide, some too small, but Pantherella's are just right, in the way that historic British brands often are when it comes to details. And there's a reason why: The ribs are functional, helping to keep the socks from drooping down around your ankle.
3. Look at all those colors! We're dead set against zany patterns on your socks but fully in support of having a rainbow of hues at your disposal. If you check on its site, Pantherella has a lineup of rich, saturated shades that would make Crayola jealous.
4. They're a cheap way to treat yourself: The first time you pull on a Pantherella sock, you'll realize that every dress sock you've worn before has been a sad, cheap imitation of a proper dress sock. With these, you stand taller, you walk prouder, and your subordinates will finally respect you properly.
5. They might just land you a job: If shoes make the man, then you know everyone's staring at your feet. And if you've got on impeccable socks, then everyone (your boss, your girlfriend, your parents-in-law, the barista, everyone) will know you didn't just buy fancy oxfords—you have your shit together.
A Closer Look
Three More Pairs of Dress Socks We Love
The Workhorse Pair
On your feet all day? Grab Gold Toe's Adam's Rib crew dress socks. No, they're not as refined as the luxury brands above, but they deliver the all-business vibes of dressy ribbed socks with built-in cushioning reminiscent of your favorite athletic socks'. Plus, at a mere bucks a pair, you can buy your Gold Toes five at a time.
>, buy now at goldtoe.com
The Get-Out-of-Your-Comfort-Zone Pair
Uniqlo Men’s Color Socks
Want to experiment a little with your socks? Start with Uniqlo. Their ribbed dress socks are shockingly well made (tightly woven, comfortably padded, super-saturated in color) for a low, low price. Plus, they come in nearly every hue you can imagine. Get teal! And eggplant! Neon pink? They'll look good against gray or navy pants! If a color isn't working, you're only out a few bucks.
>.90, buy now at uniqlo.com
The Wedding Day Pick
Falke No. 13 Ribbed Pima Cotton Socks
Why do Falke's No. 13 ribbed socks cost nearly twice as much as the already-pricey Pantherellas? They have the same great fit and calf-hugging shape, but are sewn from sweet, soft 100 percent fine cotton. That means more of the longer fibers, which means your dogs feel like they're in heaven. If you can own a drawerful, by all means do so. If not, they're worth the splurge on special occasions.
>, buy now at mrporter.com
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