One of the greatest men’s fashion no-no’s appears to be undergoing a trend revival. Would you wear it?
Don’t wear white socks with a suit, blue and green should not be seen without a colour in between, match your leather shoes with the colour of your belt . . . there are a few basic golden rules of men’s fashion that should never be broken. And ever since the first style-blind German tourist decided to pair socks and sandals, that ugly faux pas has been one of them.
But over the last 12 months, designers have begun to tear up the rule book — there’s hardly a label from New York to Milan that hasn’t placed the combination of their runway, including Versace, Calvin Klein, and Zara in 2016.
A far cry from the knee-high white cotton numbers and flimsy velcro-strapped flip-flops Helga and Klaus wear by the pool on holidays, the modern style is a chunky leather sandal with a comfortable thick-knit sock, usually made of cashmere or wool. The socks typically echo the rest of the outfit by co-ordinating colours with the trousers, and the muted, earthy tones of the sandals reflect one of the big trends of the last European summer.
David Beckham and Justin Bieber — not exactly a couple of retired Bavarians you’d bump into on a mountain hike — have both been snapped committing the fashion crime/embracing the avant-garde trend with slip-on sport sandals, rocking a look you haven’t seen since you last accompanied your grandparents on an excursion to the beach.
When Tom Ford was Gucci’s creative director two decades ago, he said “There’s something dull about everything being too tasteful”. Sure, he didn’t have socks and sandals in mind, but in this Trumpian age of alternative facts, are we entering an era of ugly being cool, where bowl cuts and corduroy trousers and pairing Birkenstocks with tube socks have come back into style?