Outfits to Wear With Knee-High Socks

by Laura Leddy Turner

Knee-high socks are a versatile fashion accessory that can serve as the starting point for a casual yet classic cool- or warm-weather ensemble. Knee-highs also add an interesting twist to your workday wardrobe. Choose a dramatic sock fabric and you can even pair knee-highs with evening wear. Whether you decide to let your knee socks shout out their presence or take a flirtatious peek from the top of your boots, knee-highs are an excellent choice when you want to mix or match textures and patterns and add an unexpected kick to an otherwise subtle outfit.

The Season for Socks

Knee-high socks are the perfect leg wear during those transitional times of year when it’s neither sandal nor boot weather -- too chilly for tank tops but too warm for turtlenecks. Step into a pair of medium-heeled black oxfords and top them with black, cotton knee-highs to give your legs a long look. Pair with a black and white checked cotton skirt and a black three-quarter-sleeved T-shirt. A cross-body leather bag in oxblood or a medium brown adds just a bit of contrast. Take this look down a notch from preppy by adding a distressed denim jacket or vest, then change out the oxfords for a pair of dark-colored sneakers, and slip on some colorful bangles.

Too Cool for School

Although knee-high socks are, for many, a reminder of school uniforms, they also are a fashion accessory that adds a touch of lightheartedness to a weekend outfit. Start with a button-down or sailor-collared cream blouse. Add a pair of wool shorts in a dark muted plaid, or choose a pair in a black and white nubby texture. Then slip on a pair of lightweight black knee-highs, either solid-colored or with a cool graphic design. If you’re out shopping with friends, choose a stylish but comfortable shoe, such as black sneakers or black ballet flats. Or, make this outfit party worthy by donning a pair of black suede booties. Another option is an oversized cream sweater teamed with a chunky, patterned wool scarf and engineer boots -- even if you change out the wool shorts for a brightly colored kilt, no one will mistake this ensemble for a uniform.

Serious Sock Style

When Monday morning rolls around, don't think for a New York minute that you have to leave your knee socks behind. Slip on a long-sleeved, fitted knit dress -- above the knee or slightly shorter in length -- in black, camel or a subtle stripe, and choose ribbed-knit knee-highs in a conservative color, such as charcoal gray. Cuffed or button-top socks are an excellent choice, and black ballet flats or low-heeled oxfords are both stylish and office appropriate. A black or caramel-colored messenger bag ties this polished look together. In cooler weather, add a fitted camel-colored blazer and slip sheer black tights under your knee-highs. If you want to mix textures, pair a nubby wool sweater and matching skirt in shades of gray-blue and rust with your charcoal gray or dark rust knee-highs. Cinch the sweater with an oxblood leather belt. A chunky gold necklace and a single gold-cuff bracelet add a hint of sparkle.

Steppin' Out in Socks

Step out for the evening in knee-high socks by choosing a lightweight, semi-sheer, lacy or slightly shimmery sock in black or gray. Build on the gray color palette by adding a ruffled, steel-gray miniskirt, a loose and oversized tweed vest, a white satin blouse and a black velvet blazer. Glamorize this outfit up by adding a chunky, silver-toned rhinestone or marcasite necklace. Take it down a notch by wearing a single simple strand of pearls. Create a soft, feminine look with a midnight-blue velvet dress and a pair of black, semi-sheer knee-highs, then step into black, suede, high-heeled bow or rosette pumps. Accessorize with a black-velvet or metallic-silver clutch. For a warmer palette, pair a cream, long-sleeved, cable-knit sweater dress with cable-knit, cream knee-highs, brown leather booties and a cream leather handbag. Add a chunky gold-toned link necklace and a gold-toned cuff.

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About the Author

Laura Leddy Turner began her writing career in 1976. She has worked in the newspaper industry as an illustrator, columnist, staff writer and copy editor, including with Gannett and the Asbury Park Press. Turner holds a B.A. in literature and English from Ramapo College of New Jersey, with postgraduate coursework in business law.

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