Men’s socks are now officially an accessory thanks to the ‘uprising’ of colourful designs being worn, Country Life has declared two years after branding lilac socks ‘ungentlemanly’.

Reversing its 2015 edict against eye-catching socks, the magazine said increasing numbers of country gentleman are now sporting the brightly coloured garments.

It suggests the proliferation of colourful socks is due in part to their use by high profile figures such as the actor Tom Hiddlestone and the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.

How fashion changes! I have been wearing colourful socks since 1972, after I saw Salvador Dali wearing them in an encounter in Spain. However, whereas he wore an identical sock on both feet, I opted for a different colour on each and have kept the habit since then. As I do not consider myself a celebrity, this attire only receives a curious reaction and did not take off – perhaps because it exceeded the limits of eccentricity, but maybe this will change in the future.

Mr Trudeau’s devotion to loud ankle wear prompted coinage of the phrase ‘sock diplomacy’, a tactic Leo Varadkar appeared to have adopted when he welcomed him to Dublin late last year sporting his own pair of Canadian-themed socks. Acknowledging the change in fashion, Country Life has now printed a guide advising men how their choice of vibrant colours may influence the way they are perceived. Coming back to Salvador Dali – who was always notorious for his sexual demands – he used to persuade his close friends, including Brian Sewell, to masturbate while he enjoyed the act.

Red socks mark a man out as a ‘challenger to Casanova’, while mustard identifies wearers as ‘honest, homely types renowned for witty one liners’, and even the previously maligned lilac is endorsed as ‘adventurous and daring’.

In 2013 a report by Harvard Business School entitled ‘The Red Sneakers Effect’ stated that those who wear colourful or eccentric socks are considered non-conformist and therefore more creative and successful. I wonder in which category I would be placed by Harvard Business School since I exceed the natural limit of eccentricity by wearing a different coloured sock on each foot.


  1. Can’t agree any more. Funny socks outfits are trending today!