Sarah Jessica Parker and Chloe Sevigny in similar socks'n'sandals
According to a study from Debenhams today, socks and sandals have been voted as the biggest fashion faux pas of all time. We could think of others – mankinis, mullets and legwarmers are but a few – but thousands agreed with the store’s official spokesperson Ed Watson: “It might look chic on a catwalk but this isn’t a look that many of us want to see on our local high streets.”
But of course, like any wardrobe no-no, there are degrees of sartorial success and failure. And the line is getting blurrier by the second. Grandpa in his velcro sandals and pulled up grey socks with Bermuda shorts? Probs not. Ditto socks with flip-flops - that looks really uncomfortable. But a chic girl using socks as a outfit marker for cuteness? Proven repeatedly to work by everyone from fashion week’s front row (who have actually moved on from sandals to team socks with court shoes) to Sarah Jessica Parker and Chloe Sevigny.
Adidas pool-slides and socks: styled by Sam Ranger, shot by Aitken Jolly for B Magazine
Making the situation even MORE confusing is the latest phenomenon within this controversial department: the slider + sock formula. Cool kids across the globe have stolen the look from mens’ urban streetwear and as we speak, are slipping into rubber pool-slides from Adidas and Nike, and pairing them with white sports socks. Birkinstocks aren’t far behind either. This is surely the most marmite – but directional, darlinks - of them all.
Socks with '90s sandals and boy brogues: spotted at fashion weeks across the world
Grazia’s Senior Fashion Editor Gemma Hayward is pro the sock/sandal, but maybe wouldn’t wear them herself… “They reminds of young girls like my little niece, which is totally cute, but I think I’m too old to wear them!” she says, “If I was 18, I would. Nowadays I’ll wear an ankle boot with socks, just a peek showing, but sandals are too youthful.”
Fashion assistant Josh Newis Smith is anti the S + S: "Socks and sandals can be great on the right person i.e. some super sassy fashionista, but in the wrong hands this look is style suicide. The idea of a man wearing a pull slider with a sock really feels me with absolute dread..."
Socks with closed-toes are also a-happening
“I’ve always envied those girls who can pull off quirky looks but I can’t so a) I’m a bit jealous and b) the following had a big impact: Everyone at school ditched socks and sandals in favour of Kickers with trainer-socks, so it looked like you weren’t wearing any. Except my mum wouldn’t let me, so I was teased for wearing socks and sandals. That is now too ingrained in my brain for me to change it now.” Explains Editorial Assistant Jo Duckworth.
Morwenna Ferrier, Grazia's features and culture editor, is a complete convert: "There was a time when fashion taboos existed. A laughable time, when prints couldn’t clash and colours had to merge. A time when things could not be worn with certain things, and socks and sandals were one of those taboos.
Last week, however, I wore socks with sandals three days out of five and I did this consciously. Let me explain: I lean towards a dark uniform – black, charcoal, navy and anything in between – so I use socks to add a pop of colour. I like neon yellow, Volvo orange or white, all of which I pair with my tan Hasbeens. Bright colour is easier to wear down there, and shows off a tanned calf. It’s a cheap way to update your look, especially if you're too skint to get a pedicure."
So which camp are you in?