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The key to wearing crew socks without looking like your dad


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Photo: Getty Images/Dougal Waters

Every coming of age movie on adulting would have us believe that the death knell to youth comes when we start to act like our parents by uttering a piece of their unsolicited advice or (gasp!) telling our first corny dad jokes. Nevermore can we be hip with the kids—it’s time to fork over the cool card right. now.

Because of this, it’s ironic that for several seasons, some of the biggest fashion trends have centered around appropriating the wardrobe staples of ’90s dads: chunky, slightly orthopedic looking sneakersfanny packs, and now crew socks.

Taken together, the trifecta formed the summer uniform for many a father, including my own. On their own, and in the hands of someone who knows how to make them look current, however, they’re stylish ways to interject an element of athleisure (read: casual, not-trying-too-hard-but-somehow-still-killing-it vibes) into any outfit.

The key to properly pulling off a crew sock comes down to the length of your hemline.

This can get a bit tricky when it comes to crew socks—or those that hit above the ankle but below the calf. Too high, and they can cut you off mid-calf. Too low, and you won’t see them to begin with. To nail the crew sock, you want for the hem to hit two or three inches above the ankle. Once you’ve found the right height, turn your eye to the proportions of the rest of your outfit, or rather to the length of your hemline.

While your dad might have rocked his with a pair of thigh-grazing khaki shorts (oh sure, just me?), modern interpretations call for a midi or full-length skirt, cropped, wider leg pants or a pair of vintage wash jeans like Levi 501s that have a shorter inseam and straighter cut. Skinny jeans can sit this one out (and so can your leggings—unless you want to tuck them into your crew socks at the studio, which is something worth considering, IMO).

A foolproof way to put your most stylish foot forward is to make sure your socks and shoes (think: sneakers, ankle boots, or booties) are the same color. From a distance, it’ll look like you’re wearing a sleek pair of sock sneakers or boots that have traversed Balenciaga and Dior runways alike and had the Internet drooling for the past few years. Want to go bolder? Pair a classic set of thin crew socks from Nike or Adidas with your stilettos. Play with print clashing or color blocking to take the look to the next-level. Of course, you can also always embrace dadcore and don them with a pair of Birkenstocks. (It’ll set you free; I swear.)

There’s really a lot of room to get creative, and the best part of all? Unlike a pair of Speed high-tops, which’ll set you back a (not-so-cool) $750. A pack of six pairs of crew socks only costs 22 bucks.

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