How to Wear Long Socks with Shorts

When you think of donning socks and shoes to go with your shorts, the odds are that long socks, like crew socks, aren’t the first things that pop into your mind. But what if you forgot to do a load of laundry and long socks are your only options for pairing with your set of shorts? It sounds like you got a fashion disaster on your hands. Or do you?

Truth be told, you can learn how to wear long socks with shorts; you just have to be a bit more considerate of your other style elements to make them work. Let’s take a closer look.

Only Wear Them on Casual Occasions

To successfully wear long socks with shorts, be sure only to do so when heading to a casual social occasion, like a meet-up with friends or a casual hangout at a local diner. The last thing you want to do is wear long socks, shoes, and shorts to a semi-formal or formal get-together, like a dinner at a nice restaurant or a college graduation ceremony.

The fact of the matter is that long socks, at least when combined with shorts and standard shoes, evoke a casual aesthetic no matter how the rest of your outfit appears. So to avoid style whiplash, experiment with this look only when the time is right.

Plain Socks with Patterned Shorts and Vice Versa

Another good tip for wearing long socks with shorts is to only pair plain socks with patterned shorts and shoes and vice versa. For example, if your shorts have a checkered or plaid pattern, like these Patch Madras Shorts, you’ll be best off with plain white socks or socks in another basic color, like black or blue. Don’t wear those shorts with patterned or checkered socks; otherwise, you’ll look a little too clownish for comfort (unless you’re going for that, of course!).

Similarly, if you have plain shorts, like Chino shorts in colors like beige or blue, you could experiment with patterned or checkered socks to break up your look and add a little stylistic flair to your ensemble. The critical thing to remember is not to match like with like. It doubles down on the fact that you are wearing long socks with shorts in the first place, which can make you look less stylish rather than more.

How Long Is Long Enough?

Just how long are long socks? It depends on your definition.

Crew socks can go from ankle-length to around your midcalf area. Ankle socks look fantastic with shorts, of course. But if you are wearing longer crew socks, like those that reach up to your calf, you’ll want to see if you have any slightly shorter socks in your wardrobe that you can replace them with unless you’re aiming for the 1990s Blink-182 look—which is by no means a bad look in our opinion!

As a general rule of thumb for modern fashion, your socks should cover up as little of your calf as possible. If you want to highlight your calves because you’ve been working on them at the gym, socks will only cover up the muscle rather than highlight your physique.

Decide on Your Shorts Style

As touched on above, the kinds of shorts you wear will also impact whether your long socks work with your entire outfit. Shorts that hit just above the knee work more harmoniously with long socks and vice versa. A good example is these Micrograph Gurkha Hybrid Shorts from Vintage 1946. However, if you’re more of a fan of longer shorts that reach your knees or below, you’ll want to try to find shorter socks if possible.

Don’t Forget Your Shoes!

Last but not least, don’t forget to consider your footwear in your outfit. Naturally, if an upcoming event calls for formal shoes like oxfords or dress shoes, you should avoid shorts and crew socks. If you plan to wear long socks and shorts, you should also try wearing casual shoes like Converse or Vans.

Get the Look at Vintage 1946

In the end, you can wear long socks with shorts, but you have to be careful with what you wear with them. So consider your options carefully, and who knows? Maybe you’ll also bring back that 1990s pop-punk style trend for your friends, too!

 If you’re ready to get the look, shop the Vintage 1946 Classic Shorts collection today.