Dress Socks: How Many I Need and How to Take Care of Them

Are you in a dilemma because you don’t know how many pairs of dress socks you should have in your wardrobe? I started with too few pairs of socks, but I didn’t have enough room for sports and regular socks in my wardrobe, so I bought more. The answer to how many pairs of dress socks you need is below.

On average, you should have 3-5 pairs of dress socks per suit in your wardrobe. The number of pairs depends on how often you wear a suit and how many suits you have. Three pairs are enough if you only have one dress you don’t wear often. For every color of the dress, you need at least another three pairs of dress socks.

How many dress socks you need depends on how often you wear them and how many outfits you have. See the table below for a guide to buying dress socks. At the end of this article are some more tips on taking care of your dress socks so they will last longer.

Pair dress socks with your suit

The dress socks must match the color of the trousers, and it is recommended to have at least 2-3 pairs of dress socks for each color of the trousers. The most common colors for business suits are black, brown, grey, tan, and navy.

Pair dress socks with the color of your suit.

If you have several dresses that you wear in combination, then you need fewer pairs (1-3) of socks for each dress because the socks will be washed and dried when you wear the other dress. I suggest you read this comprehensive article on combining colored stockings with a dress.

However, if you have one or two dresses you wear daily, you should have at least 3-5 pairs in stock for each dress.

How often do you wear a suit?

The number of dress socks also depends on how often you wear the suit. If you only wear a suit once a month or for special occasions, having 1-3 pairs for each dress color is sufficient. If you wear your dress more often, it is better to have several pairs of dress socks in stock (see table below).

 One dressTwo dressesThree dressesFour or more Dresses
Every day5-7 pairs3-5 pairs/dress2-3 pairs/dress2-3 pairs/dress
Once a week1-3 pairs1-2 pairs/dress1-2 pairs/dress1-2 pairs/dress
Once a month1-2 pairs1-2 pairs/dress1-2 pairs/dress1-2 pairs/dress
Once a year1-2 pairs1-2 pairs/dress1-2 pairs/dress1-2 pairs/dress
Table of how many pairs of dress socks you should have.

But do I need 1-3 pairs of socks for every dress I own? The truth is, you can have one color of socks for two different types of suits.

For example…

You can match dark gray socks with black and gray suits just fine. In that case, you can have 2-4 pairs of the same color of socks instead of 6 pairs of socks of the same color (the number of pairs depends on how often you wear your suits).

Having many pairs of socks would be best because socks need special care and more time to wash and dry. Find out why dress socks need special care below. Read this post if you are interested in whether you can wear dress shoes without socks.

Are ten pairs of socks enough?

Ten pairs of socks are enough if you have four or more suits and wear them daily. Make sure your socks match the color of your clothes. Ten pairs of socks can last long and always look good with good care.

Which color is the best for dress socks?

Even if you have different colored dresses, you don’t need to buy special dress socks for each color. Some colors go well with black, gray, and brown suits. The only important thing is to use darker socks for darker outfits and lighter shades for lighter ones. It is currently the trend for many men to wear colored socks under their suits, which is not precisely dress ethics, but for informal events where no formal protocol is required, such socks are also acceptable.

Instead of wearing colored dress socks, you can choose socks with dots or stripes to spice up your look and add your unique touch.

Even if you want to choose colored tights, follow the basic rules (dark dress socks with dark trousers and light dress socks with light colors).

Colored dress socks with stripes.

Take care of your dress socks

As we have found out, you need to have many pairs of dress socks if you want to look good in a dress. Good quality dress socks can also be expensive – $16-$60/pair for no-brand name socks. Dress socks from well-known fashion brands can cost $200, $300, or more than $500 a pair. So it’s better to take care of them and maintain them properly.

One of the main reasons why socks need to be replaced is because they get holes. Find out the 9 most common reasons why socks get holes and how you can change it. Read the whole article here.

Dress socks are mostly made of cotton or wool. Nylon and spandex are added to make the socks stretchy.

How do you dry dress socks without shrinking them?

The average composition of dress socks is 74% Cotton/Wool / 23% Nylon / 3% Spandex. Washing the socks in hot water can cause the nylon and spandex to shrink, which will cause the socks to no longer fit your legs ideally. They will no longer be elastic and will start to fall down. Your socks should never look like this (see the picture below).

Dress socks must be elastic enough to stay up all day.

Before washing, turn the dress socks over so that they do not get damaged during washing. This will protect the socks’ fibers and prevent lint from adhering to the exterior.

Wash your dress socks in cold water to prevent shrinking them. As mentioned, hot water can damage the nylon in stockings, so wash dress socks in cold water, but if this is not possible, the water should be warm (20°C or 30°C) and not hot. Instead of machine washing, socks can also be hand washed by soaking them in a bowl of cold water for half an hour or an hour. You can also add softener to the water to make your dress socks smell better.

To prevent shrinking while drying your socks, we recommend hanging them on a rack to air dry. If you prefer machine-drying your socks, dry them at a low temperature. For even more protection, use a laundry bag, and this will help further protect your socks.

How do you wash black socks without fading them?

Black is the most sensitive color when it comes to washing. To avoid faded black socks, I have some valuable tips for you to use in your next wash to keep your black dress socks looking flawless.

  • Always turn the socks inside out to protect the outer fibers,
  • Wash socks in a laundry bag to protect them from other clothing,
  • If possible, wash only black laundry in the same wash, using black laundry detergent,
  • Wash black socks in cold water, or hand wash them and dry them on a wire rack.


My name is Gregor and I'm a sports and fashion enthusiast. Like you, I want my clothes to be good quality and comfortable. I hope my articles will help you choose the right underwear for you.

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