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The new rules of socks: novelty ones are out – but yes you can wear them with sandals

You may have noticed that print socks aren’t what they used to be. Think back: for a long time socks were just something you used to cover your feet. Possibly black, probably ankle-height and definitely an afterthought. Socks are now an important part of your outfit at the least, the making of an outfit at most.

Socks have become an area of diplomacy and woke-signalling – the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau is perhaps the biggest name to use socks in this way, choosing pointedly themed ones for public occasions. Or a telling insight into a political mind: Boris Johnson was criticised recently for not washing his lucky unisex socks, emblazoned with a ruler of the Neo-Assyrian empire King Ashurbanipal, often enough.

Vetements’ DHL socks.

Vetements’ DHL socks. Photograph: @vetements_official/ Instagram

In fashion, statement socks have been big for a few years. In 2017, kicked off by the Vetements’ socks with the DHL logo teeT-shirt, they became “the most loaded accessory of the year”, according to the GQ columnist Justin Myers. Prada played with pulling socks up to men’s knees and, thanks to logomania, socks have become a more affordable way for fashion fans to conspicuously buy into their favourite designer labels.

If none of this is ringing any bells, then it might mean it’s time to reassess your sock game. This is where the rules come in, because, in the words of Monica Geller from Friends: “Rules help control the fun.” EVB

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