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Socks Are the Secret to Making Any Outfit Fun (Trust Me)

In partnership with Hysteria by Happy Socks

I was a sock influencer in elementary school.

As part of my school uniform, we were mandated to wear an ill-fitting green jumper, a blouse with a Peter Pan collar and green knee-socks. In the interest of injecting the outfit with some much-needed individuality, I made the executive decision to start rolling my socks into meticulous inner tubes that encircled my ankles like plump donuts.

Ellinor Wool Sock styled with Tibi suit, Frame shirt, Prada shoes, Sonia Boyajian necklace

Much cooler, I remember thinking to myself.

Before I knew it, sock innovations started spreading like woolen wildfire across the ankles of my friend group, and I? I was the proud match-striker. That’s when I realized socks aren’t just socks. They are a tiny but powerful vehicle for personal style.

I carried this sentiment with me into adulthood, whereupon I started wearing another kind of uniform: the uniform of an adult human woman. This uniform isn’t as literal as the one I wore in elementary school in the sense that it isn’t strictly limited to a green jumper, but it is a uniform nonetheless, characterized by the presence of particular “staple” items: pencil skirts, button down shirts, trousers, blazers, knee-length dresses and footwear designated to be worn year-round in theory despite not necessarily being suited to it in practice.

Janna Ankle Sock styled with HVN shirt, Diane Von Furstenberg skirt, Christian Louboutin loafers, Roxanne Assoulin earrings

That’s where socks come in. Even though I am most definitely not in elementary school anymore, socks have remained my go-to mechanism for making an outfit more me. I did, however, transition away from the ol’ donut roll-down trick, choosing to express my individuality through zesty colors and patterns instead.

Hysteria, a new stand-alone brand from Happy Socks, embodies that sentiment to a T, not only with its core mission to empower women to express themselves however they want, but also with a variety of styles through which to do just that. The diverse array speaks to the reality that socks don’t have to be an afterthought; in fact, they can single-handedly (single-sockedly?) elevate an outfit of staples into a something that feels truly unique.

Liza Sparkle Ankle Sock styled with Altuzarra dress, Joseph sweater, Gabriela Hearst shoes, Dries Van Noten x Linda Farrow sunglasses

A pair the color of bubble gum adds playfulness to the sophistication of a pencil skirt and short-sleeve button down, a combination I would conceivably wear to a meeting. Granted, I work in the fashion industry, so I can get a little funkier with pattern-clashing and color-mixing than most, but the principle is relevant to any sophisticated outfit for any sophisticated occasion: throw in a fun sock, and “the” uniform is suddenly your uniform.

Even if the socks are just a secret between you and the inside of your sophisticated trousers, their effect is powerful all the same, especially when you can roll up your pant legs after-hours and let the secret out. Boiled down, that secret is getting dressed without sacrificing the pure delight of feeling like the best version of yourself, or wearing your favorite not-so-practical shoes despite the chilly fall weather because your feet are snuggled inside stylish sleeping bags.

Sometimes you really can have your macaron and eat it, too.

Photographed by Edith Young at Ladurée Soho. Follow Hysteria by Happy Socks on Facebook here

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  • rolaroid

    The 2nd and 3rd outfit are fun on their own but the socks def enhance and round out the look, great choice of colours! Great looks, I wanna wear them all!

  • I’m obsessed with funky socks! My sparkly party socks (colour: ‘champagne’) always manage to glam up my outfits that usually come in always-funeral-ready colour schemes. What a simple but brilliant way to spice things up a little.

  • I was totally a donut sock roller too! It was the “cool” response to ruffle socks 😛

    • Harling Ross

      so nice to meet a kindred weirdo

  • I love my funky sock collection! Glad to see pairing them with more traditional outfits is being accepted. I always feel /slightly/ crazy when I show up to work with my socks pulled up to my knees.

  • Amelia Diamond

    I need all of these outfits socks and all so that I can dress like my most true Harling self

    • Harling Ross

      aka your best self

  • Christine Dyson

    Fantastic pattern mixing aside, Top Shop has a delightful selection of ‘sparkle socks’ and fishnet socks – ripped jeans over fishnets was quite a thing for me back in the 80s and I fully intend to reprise it!

  • Jorinna

    Absolutely in love with your first outfit wearing Ellinor socks the most. Aren’t statement socks in pumps the affordable alternative for sock shoes anyway? An easy way to pimp every outfit! xx, Jorinna from

  • Sheila Callahan

    I have a collection of “silly socks” and love each and every pair for their weirdness (some are so old that I’ve darned them because I can’t replace them). Not much of a trend follower or pattern mixer, I wear mine with monochrome outfits. That “silly space” between pant cuff and shoe top always elicits a “I love your socks!” compliment.

  • diane

    I appreciate socks. They are cheaper than most other purchases, almost always fit and don’t need to be tried on, don’t stop being user-friendly when you gain weight, and they hug and cushion your tired feet. What’s not to love? Buying cute, yummy socks is a cheap thrill that just keeps on giving.

  • Lanatria Brackett Ellis

    I only have funky socks.The mates are easier to find , and of course I’m extra AF.