Many years ago, I bought a pair of cotton socks from Dapper Classics. They’re an advertiser on this site, but I paid full price for my purchases. I bought them because Will Boehlke, the writer behind the esteemed A Suitable Wardrobe blog (now sadly closed), used to sing praises about seasonal socks. What are seasonal socks? It’s this idea that over-the-calf dress socks should be made from wool in the fall/winter and cotton or linen in the spring/summer. The weather in the Bay Area doesn’t get hot enough to demand non-wool socks in the summertime, but I purchased them anyway just to see.
It turns out that Will is right: seasonal socks are wonderful things. But the key is to get the right ones.
Cotton socks can be had for pretty cheap from companies such as Uniqlo and Gold Toes. I found that Gold Toe socks are uncomfortably thick, weirdly stiff, and hug your calf like a tourniquet. Uniqlo socks are comfier, but they’re also better suited to casual outfits than dressy ones.
After trying a few high-end brands, I ended up liking the ones from Dapper Classics the most. They’re thin, stretchy, and made from slightly open knit, making them supremely comfortable on warm days (I switch to cotton anytime the temperatures go above 80 degrees). At the same time, they’re not too thin to be sheer (these are still office appropriate). Best of all, they hold up well in the wash. My patterned socks from Bresciani and Marcoliani fuzzed up in the laundry after a few wash cycles, whereas my Dapper Classic socks look nearly new years later. I once asked Dapper Classics co-founder Fred Rich how his company was able to execute patterns so well. He gave me a technical answer about the manufacturing process that flew over my head.
Bresciani’s linen socks are also really nice this time of year. I don’t find them to be any more breathable than Dapper Classics’ cotton options, but they have a slightly drier hand. They also have a slightly uneven color when worn (you can kind of tell this in The Armoury’s product images). I mostly rely on Dapper Classics’ cotton socks this time of year because their solid coloring makes them a little more versatile, and then supplement with Bresciani’s linen for variety.
From now until Friday, Dapper Classics is offering 30% off all cotton socks with the checkout code 30MXC. If you demand versatility, start with the ones in solid navy (available in two shades). Those will go with literally anything. After that, get some that match your trouser colors—grey socks with grey pants, tan socks with tan pants, and so forth. Then get some patterns. I’m a big fan of the pin dots because they’re versatile while also adding a bit of visual interest. I realize the idea that dress socks should be seasonal sounds silly, but once you’ve tried them, you’ll never go back. Our illustrator Ryan, who’s based in Los Angeles—where cotton socks are a must—tried them a few years ago and was equally impressed.