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How to Wear Socks & Boots


How to wear boots and socks together
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Every college girl I know has at least one pair of fabulous, go-to leather boots in her closet. A seemingly all-weather favorite for the twenty-something set, these boots, often heavily broken in, appear on stylish feet season after season. While the majority of us wouldn’t take a second thought to wearing socks with our boots, the socks + boots trend has taken the common-sense practice and turned it into a bona-fide fashion phenomenon.

Letting your hosiery peek over the tops of your boots has become a go-to way to create styles that are free-spirited, slouchy, and bohemian. Ideal for cool climates, the trend does two of our favorite things at once: it keeps you warm and dry and looks super cute. You just can’t go wrong when fashion and function are combined!

Top 3 Tips to Consider When Pairing Socks & Boots

1. Boot height vs. sock height.

As always, mind the proportions of your outfit and aim to flatter your shape. In general: the higher the boot, the better. Structured ankle boots tend to shorten the leg on their own, and the addition of a bunchy sock can add unwanted volume to the lower leg. Loose, slouchy styles, however, may be just right for a relaxed look. Mid-calf to knee-high boots tend to be the most universally flattering rises for pairing boots and socks, but over-the-knee and thigh high styles can look equally chic – especially on taller girls.

As you’ve probably imagined, if you want your socks to show, you’ll need to invest in a few new pairs that are designed to hit slightly higher than the rise of your boots: Knee-high socks for mid-calf boots, over-the-knee socks for knee-high boots, and extra high thigh-high socks for OTK boots. Once you’ve got the pieces down, you can focus on styling logistics. Scrunchy sock styles imply an effortless, cool look while peek-a-boo socks that barely graze the top of boots can offer a sweet, flirtatious vibe.

2. Styles of footwear.

Determining the perfect sock and boot combination involves more than simply selecting the right heights for both pieces. Stylish students must also mind the styles of both the socks and boots they plan to combine.

For a look that is low-maintenance and campus-friendly, boots that are less chunky, flat (or close to flat), and with classic lines are best for wearing with showy socks. This is the ideal time to pull out the riding boots hiding in the back of your closet! On the other hand, chunky, buckle-embelished, or grungy styles look great when paired with neutral black, gray, or taupe socks. This would be a great way to wear your combat boots or motorcycle boots. Overall, it’s all about creating balance.

As you can see, the key to pulling off this trend is to consider your socks as an accessory when picking your footwear. You should also take into consideration the thickness of your socks: thinner varieties may be better for boot-grazing styles, while thicker pairs offer more substance to scrunch. Put a little thought into it and you’ll have a Sartorialist-worthy look in no time.

3. Layering up!

Socks have been huge both on and off the runway in the past year. One of the best parts about this trend is that the look gets better when you add even more layers.

Perfect for awkward, in-between climates, the tights + socks + boots combination is a fun way to add warmth and style to an outfit. The same goes for leggings! Though the look is adorable with bare legs, take full advantage of cool weather to pile on the layers. This being said, take it from Jessica Stroup – on warm rainy days, not much is cuter than a pair of  socks worn with your favorite wellies.

Socks & Boots – Outfit Inspiration

Cool & Casual

Casual Outfit with socks and boots
Product Information: Tank, Madewell. Shorts, American Eagle. Boots, ModCloth. Socks, Matches. Bangles, Forever 21. Cardigan, Warehouse.

Rainy Day

Rainy day Outfit with socks and boots
Product Information: Floral Tank, American Eagle. Ring, Asos. Skinny Jeans, Net-a-Porter. Coat, Ruche. Rain Boots, ModCloth. Wellington Socks, Bergdorf Goodman.

Boho Babe

Boho Outfit with boots and socks
Product Information: Dress, Love. Headwrap, Rock n Rose. Necklace, Urban Outfitters. Socks, Delias. Boots, Zappos. Tights, Lori’s Shoes. Bracelet, Forever 21.

Real Girl Style Inspiration

From left to right: Chictopia Style Council member belovely, VIP Style Icon DeLaCruz, Style Council member Nubiasnonsense, Style Council member izzybug, and Style Council Member bomchicawawa

It’s always easier to emulate a look when you have great models for real-life inspiration! Above, ever-stylish Chictopia users put their unique spins on the socks + boots trend. Find a look you love then click through the links to see more photos of how these ladies style the trend.

Want more? From casual to quirky to luxurious and with boots of all rises, someone on the Chictopia site will have you covered! A well-done socks+boots combo can tone down the sexiness of an out-of-control OTK boot, freshen up a well-known pair, or create boots that appear to be thigh-high with a few strategically-placed layers. Let stylish bloggers, models, and fashion enthusiasts be your guides!


Would you wear the boots and socks combo? Is this look popular on your campus? What kinds of boots will you be wearing this semester? Share your feelings with a comment!

Posted on on February 9, 2011 / Filed Under: Fashion Tips / Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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28 Responses to “How to Wear Socks & Boots”

  1. 1
    February 9th, 2011 at 11:56 am

    I’m wearing boots and knee high socks today! Awesome post CF!

  2. 2
    February 9th, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Awesome post! My problem is my big thighs, and idk if knee high socks would be an option for me. What kind of combo of socks/boots do you think would be most flattering for my shape?

  3. 3
    February 9th, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Very cute outfits and ideas! I always find it hard to wear socks with shoes or boots.

  4. 4
    February 9th, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Love it! I have a pair of brown combat boots that I rarely get to wear. I need to find some cute socks for them!

  5. 5
    February 9th, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Do this all the time! I own like 6 pairs of boots and I have lots of different coloured socks I wear with them.

    @Lana, you can find socks that have a good stretch at the top in order to fit over your thighs. I have big calves/thighs, but I found some socks that fit me to mid-thigh. Try

  6. 6
    February 9th, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Thanks for the post! I have a pair of brown desert boots that i wear regularly with socks showing but this gave me some ideas on what to wear with boots i have that dont get much use!

  7. 7
    February 9th, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    I love this trend! I often wear my grey over the knee boots with thick thigh high black socks, and wear it with a skirt if I’m going out. I’m still looking for a thinner pair of over the knee socks though to add to my wardrobe.

    I find the thick scrunchy socks look good peeking out from the boots but if you take the boots off, they look really weird (atleast mine do). Definitely not something I put on if I know I’ll being going inside where I might take the boots off! Has anyone else had this issue?

  8. 8
    February 9th, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    I have been trying desperately to find some nice looking boots this winter to no avail, anything nice looking doesn’t fit over my apparently fat calves, anything that fits is ugly as sin…
    Sigh, off to buy some Doc Martins I guess =S

  9. 9
    February 9th, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    I love how the socks can sort of fake over-the-knee boots. Will definitely be trying this :]

  10. 10
    February 9th, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    I love doing this! One day a friend of mine told me that it was not okay to do that. I told her people who wear matching tracks pants with a matching track jacket shouldn’t throw stones at people who take fashion risks :) I can’t wait until it gets warmer so I can have options other than pants

  11. 11
    February 9th, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    I love this trend been doing it all season because it’s been so cold and layers are always key in keeping warm

  12. 12
    February 9th, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    I AM OBSESSED WITH THE FIRST LOOK’S BOOTS! I want them so bad. And I love the third look as well.. soo cute. Great post! :)

  13. 13
    February 10th, 2011 at 1:45 am

    I was wearing boots with socks earlier today! : ) CF always surprises me. Great post! Love the style.

  14. 14
    February 10th, 2011 at 5:12 am

    I’m in Japan right now and this is common fashion… it seems like all the girls are doing it. I would to but its too cold for me :(

  15. 15
    February 10th, 2011 at 6:56 am

    I find over the knee socks and boots or Doc Martens shoes combo are so great and cool , but it is for me a similar style as thigh high or over the knee boots . I’m fan of these two versions to wear boots , I’m wearing them a lot of time.
    Of course over the knee socks are easy in other seasons and are awesome with a mini skirt and shorts, however this spring , I wear a mini sweater dress or oversize sweater with a large belt… great effect !
    (excuse my english ) I’m french ….

  16. 16
    February 10th, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    I have bad news for you :( a Turkish blogger have exactly copy pasted your post, I think you should at least tell her that you are aware of what she did. here is here her website

  17. 17
    February 11th, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    I was wearing some high knee socks and my red dr. martens and they look great. Socks + Docs=Match made in heaven.

  18. 18
    March 16th, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    It looks interesting. I’ve been wearing boots, Doc’s and others, not thinking about the socks. I feel more comfortable not wearing any and the boots fit the best that way.

  19. 19
    December 22nd, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    where can I find these socks?

  20. 20
    April 21st, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    any suggestions for where to get long enough socks to go with dr martens?? xx

  21. 21
    November 4th, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Great post! I love the socks and boots combo. I’m short and have big thighs though so I wasn’t sure if it would look good on me. What style of the combos do u recommend I try? Thanks! (:

  22. 22
    January 25th, 2014 at 10:42 am

    I Love it. Is it still Fashion for 2014?

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