The sock has an extensive history and can be found as early as the 8th century in Ancient Greece. These predecessors of today’s sock were made of animal skins and were used primarily for warmth. The Romans also developed their own version of the sock from leather or woven fabrics, a step forward from animal skins, called puttees. Socks became widespread in 1589 with the development of the knitting machine. The last true innovation in terms of technology occurred in 1938 when nylon was introduced as a mixing material. Socks had previously been made of silk, cotton or wool. Nylon is now a dominant material.
Socks come in three basic sizes: knee, calf and ankle. Men’s socks fall into roughly two broad categories, athletic and dress. Athletic socks tend to serve a double purpose between sport and leisure or casual attire. Dress socks should never be worn either casually or athletically. Athletic socks are made from either cotton or synthetic blends such as nylon and are made for durability. Dress socks are made from woolen or acrylics and are less durable than their athletic cousins.
White socks should only be worn for athletic or physical events and seldom to never for casual wear and absolutely never for dress. Athletic socks are made with a bulkier weave and tend to poof out awkwardly if worn with dress shoes. Dress socks are of a thinner weave and flow seamlessly from the more rigid style of the dress shoe. With dress socks, the color is to match the pants and not the shoes. Though the trend of bold colored socks is increasing, but in this style, the socks are meant as an accent piece and are to provide a direct contrast. Knowledge of color compliments is vital in this style. For example if you are wearing blue slacks then pink socks are an excellent contrast, with green socks less so. However a pair of green socks can work with blue slacks if it coordinates either with a blazer or scarf within its own spectrum. Experiment and take photos and get feedback when trying out adventures styles.
As in all matter of style the devil is in the details and a pair of socks, much like a pocket square or a watch, while covering a small amount of ground, makes a big impression. These accent pieces are the little nuances that weld the larger groupings of fabric together. The socks are a transitional point, a joint of the suit if you will between the pants and the shoes. And the wrong pair of socks is the visual version of the sprained ankle.