As connoisseurs of history, we sometimes find styles, habits and turns of phrase from the past that we wouldn’t mind bringing back to the present, Doc Brown-style. This time around, we’re dusting off white socks.

The usual line on socks is pretty simple: gray, blue, brown or black. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can get into crazy patterns and fluorescent hues, but that’s pretty much the limit of blog-approved style.

It wasn’t always this way. In the Kennedy era, the tube sock was one of the great American staples alongside crewneck sweatshirts and pressed khakis—but somewhere along the line, the snow-white tube sock became a sartorial faux pas. By our lights, it’s due for a revival.

To be clear: we’re not talking about those ironic 70s party socks American Apparel has been pushing for the past few years. We mean the kind of sock that only comes in packs of eight. The kind of sock you usually only wear to the gym. And, not coincidentally, the kind of sock that looks damn good inside a loafer.

It’s more versatile than most men think. The white-socks-and-loafers move is straight out of the Take Ivy playbook, popping back up among the 80s hipper scenes. (Michael Jackson rocked them in both “Beat It” and “Billie Jean,” for starters.) It’s casual, sure, but the loafer’s a casual shoe, and it’s dressy enough that nobody will think you came from a soccer game. You still might catch hell from a few less enlightened parties—but this is one modern rule we’re ready to break.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom