Fashion loves nothing more than creating hype around sought-after, scarce and expensive designs, such as “it” bags with waiting lists and trainers that fetch six figures. But the items that are set to bring kudos to what you wear this summer are… socks.
The average sock drawer is usually a fashion-free zone, but this humble accessory is now becoming a way to add style to an outfit – so much so that certain socks are being sold for well over their retail value on resale sites.
StockX, the resale site known for streetwear, reports that socks by Hidden NY are particularly sought after. Bought new for $14 (£11), they are selling for up to £166 on the site. Other popular brands include Bape, Fear of God and Chrome Hearts. A three-pack of socks by the latter brand, with a lips motif, is for sale on the site for £200. By contrast, a three-pack at Marks & Spencer is £15.
Socks have been growing as a style statement in the past five years – particularly when worn with sliders or sandals. Celebrities including David Beckham, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Tyler the Creator and Justin Bieber have all endorsed this look, and it has been seen on the catwalk at brands like Dior Men and Ahluwalia.
Gary Armstrong, fashion director of Circle Zero Eight, is frequently photographed at fashion shows in outfits featuring statement socks. He says they are “a perennial style staple, and updating your sock wardrobe for 2022 is an absolute must”.
Socks and sandals are now so commonplace that the government’s photos of Rishi Sunak preparing the budget in 2021 featured the chancellor in a pair of Palm Angels sliders and white socks.
Even Sunak wearing the look has not determined the rise of socks as a statement item, but celebrities such as Bieber, Williams and Bella Hadid have subtly switched how they wear them. Instead of sliders, they have been wearing shorts with trainers, and socks pulled up on the calf.
Jesse Einhorn, senior economist at StockX, says socks are popular with consumers because they are a savvy way to buy into a brand when bigger items – T-shirts or hoodies – are too expensive: “Over 10,000 packs of Supreme x Hanes socks have sold on StockX over the past couple of years, and the average resale price is just over $30 (£23.80)… For budget-conscious buyers looking to own a piece of clothing with Supreme’s logo, these socks are an attractive option. ”
Sock sales are up 70% year on year at Matchesfashion.com. If, previously, there was a focus on socks as a practical accessory, they have now become more considered. “Wearing luxury socks with leather shoes has definitely been a priority,” says Damien Paul, head of menswear. “However, we have seen our customer is looking to socks as a statement, too, wearing a statement sock as a subtle nod to logos.”
Einhorn also credits the rise of trainer culture. “With so many people obsessing over what they wear on their feet, it feels like a natural step that socks are a new style of flex,” he says. “They’re the perfect way to elevate your sneaker game.”