So, let's say you are wearing a navy suit with a pair of brown leather derby shoes. Instead of playing it safe with a white shirt and navy socks, you are going to flair it up and make it pop by wearing a pair of red and purple striped socks and a violet dress shirt. Just like that, instant style.
Stripes, polka dots, big spots, checks, argyle and quirky prints all have a place in your wardrobe. The same navy blue suit that you always dress up with a white shirt and burgundy tie is a thing of the past. Turquoise, teal, pink, yellow, lime, orange are some of the possibilities that will put a spring in your step.
No matter which color suit you are wearing, you can change your entire look simply by changing your accessories. Your charcoal dress pants will enjoy an instant lift with the addition of a pair of bright red socks. Pop a bright red pocket square into your breast pocket to pull it together. Now consider having a bit of fun with that look. Instead of plain red socks, find yourself a pair of bright red socks with an Ironman logo on it. You can attend to the business end of things at work with style and elegance while having a bit of fun and enjoying the attention that the quirky sock choice brings.
It is not always required to color match, and in fact you want to avoid too much of the same color otherwise it looks contrived. Wear your slim fitting dark blue jeans, cuffed and rolled up at the hem with vivid yellow diamond patterned socks. Whatever you do, don't go and hunt for a polo shirt or tee-shirt in the same color. It will end up looking amateurish and garish. Finish your look with a light blue button shirt and a grey checked blazer. Done.
Bright socks, plain or patterned, can be worn any time and any place, other than possibly a funeral. In that case, I'd strongly suggest toning it down as a sign of respect. Wear them for work, meetings, interviews, public and private events and so on. Always keep in mind what kind of reception you will get for wearing bright socks though.
Other than a truly formal white tie or black tie event, there is no reason you can't rock those bright socks any time or any place you feel like doing so. As long as you observe the rules around dress codes, color matching and color coordinating, you will be fine.
All companies will dictate dress code to their staff, depending on what business sector they fall into. It can range from semi-formal to casual. It would acceptable to wear bright colors for any of these dress codes, allowing you to reflect your individual style and personality within the confines of the office.
If you are a junior in the office, and have occasion to meet with a company director or your CEO, or a client, it would probably be best to dial it back a bit. Instead of bright turquoise, pick a patterned sock with a more muted turquoise in it. It will still reflect your personality while being respectful. For those types of occasions, it's best to steer away from socks with slogans – in any event, socks with rude slogans or pictures are unacceptable – and restrict yourself to a traditional style of pattern or print, but splash out with the colour.
There is no reason that an argyle sock has to be shades of beige or grey or blue. Try an argyle with a mix of primary colors. A well-known brand of clothing make a range of argyle socks in yellow, pink, green, blue and red. Another makes a pale pink, white and grey argyle.
What was once old-fashioned, the polka dot sock is now revived. Instead of a conservative tone, they are now available in a wide range of colours with every mix imaginable. From a blend of two colors, to mixing it up with a whole range, the size of the dots also varies from pin dots up to large spots.
Stripes, spots, checks, argyles, plain. Once conservative and dull, available in traditional monochromatic shades that your granddad was comfortable in, they are now totally different and up to date. The color options and patterns are pretty much unlimited. As long as your socks match each other, you can add panache and originality to any outfit, every day of the week and on every occasion.
Because men's clothing choices are fairly restricted, the sock, like the tie, should be considered an accessory. Use it to bring your outfit together, to add a touch of flair and show off your personality. It is no longer considered outrageous to add color when dressing, and many men choose to show off their individuality in this way. If you don't have the confidence to jump right in, try building up to bright socks gradually by slowly changing from monochromatic socks to patterns with colours. Each time you need to replace your socks, add at least one pair that you consider slightly "out there", and wear them with confidence. The day will soon come when you realise you are totally comfortable and confident with your bright socks style.