Fashion Q & A:
Sockless in the Summer?

Q: I don't like to always wear socks with my loafers in the summer. As a senior executive, I know socks need to stay on during business hours. What about the weekends? Can you give me some guidance?

A: Here’s the skinny on socks vs. non-socks for men in warm weather from our professional prospective:

You are correct about always wearing socks on business days. In our opinion, it is never appropriate to go sockless at work.

  • On weekends (and for off-site work and social functions during the week), you can forgo them with a little prep. First, be sure your feet are super clean and dry. Any moisture can cause bacteria, which causes odors — one of the reasons some men will never forgo socks with any type of loafer. If you do forgo socks with your loafers, be sure to dry your loafers between wearings. To absorb moisture, cedar trees work well as do dryer sheets stuffed in the toes.
  • When you are wearing loafers with shorts, it is best not to wear socks. Sperry Top-Siders (aka boat shoes) are meant to be worn sockless with shorts and look nice with traditional shorts in the summer. For guys who want to avoid the whole socks vs. no socks question with their loafers — we often recommend this style of shoe to be worn with shorts in warm weather if it fits with the client's personal style. Extra bonus — "top-siders" (also called "dock siders") are currently very much in style so you should have no problem finding a pair if this idea appeals to you. They are more casual than a traditional loafer and, therefore, naturally complement the more casual look of shorts. Obviously, if you are going to an event that is on the dressy side, any loafer or top-sider you choose to wear with shorts should be in excellent shape.
  • A lot of our male clients ask us what is the best sock or non-sock option with khaki pants and a polo shirt. I personally like to see socks with this type of more conservative pant outfit — I think it is more polished. It's a preppy look to go without socks when wearing pants and loafers so you risk the possibility that others will perceive you as slightly collegiate (and sometimes, as I hear from time to time when my corporate clients are prepping me to train their sales force, even elitist.) Take these sentiments with a grain of salt and do what is best for you! It is always my goal to present relevant and thorough insights about any topic we are asked about.
  • Finally, the easiest sock color to wear with a light pair of khaki-colored pants and a brown loafer is brown. You want to coordinate socks with your shoes first. Loafers in the brown family (cordovan included) look best with traditional khakis and are more casual than a black pair of loafers. Black loafers coordinate best with black socks and lightweight black pants in the summer months. In my opinion, they are too harsh with khaki-colored pants made of any fabric (aka cotton or lightweight wool.)

Good luck! I hope these tips guide you in making good style choices this summer.