One must have accessory to go with a suit

Would you wear a pair of brightly coloured socks with your suit? (Thinkstock)For years, fashion dictated that when it comes to suits, your socks should always match your slacks. But rules were made to be broken. If there's one must-have accessory to add a spark of fun to an otherwise staid suit, it's a pair of brightly coloured or patterned socks.

"Socks are the new tie," says Rich Stober of Accessory Exchange New York, which supplies socks to department stores in the United States.

"This wasn't happening four years ago. A guy buys a suit these days, and he wants to get socks to go with it."

Though ties have represented one of the few opportunities to personalize corporate attire, more and more men are adding a peep of tangerine or a pattern of polka dots to an otherwise conservative grey, black or navy suit.

GQ magazine insists that "some things are meant to stand out" and not to worry if the socks don't match the rest of the ensemble. Adopters of the trend include the ever-stylish Ryan Gosling, who wore a navy suit with red carpet-worthy crimson socks. But even the older generation is taking up the accessory (former President George H. W. Bush is said to be a fan of bright colours).

The style blog SuitUpp recommends men easing into the trend should try "using the more gentle, yet bold, tones like burgundy and even burnt sienna to make your suit 'pop' in a more discreet yet evident manner." They laud colourful anklewear as an opportunity to further accessorize: socks can be matched to other personalized elements like pocket squares or ties.

Socks with bright stripes and jewel tones give a flash of individuality to a suit. But the effort to perk up historically monochromatic menswear isn't restricted to the corporate world. Workers in more casual environments have also whole-heartedly embraced bolder hosiery.

Among the hoodies and jeans of tech entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, brighter is better. Hunter Walk, a director of product management at YouTube, explained to the New York Times just how prevalent flashy ankles have become.

"I have been in meetings where people look down and notice my socks, and there is this universal sign, almost like a gang sign, where they nod and pull up their pant leg a little to show off their socks."

Thanks to more adventurous shades, socks can now make quite the statement.

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