07/06/2022

FAshion loves nothing more than making hype about coveted, rare, and expensive designs, like waiting-list bags and six-figure sneakers. But the items that will fetch compliments on what you’re wearing this summer are… socks.

The plain sock drawer would normally be out of fashion, but this humble accessory is now a way to add style to an outfit—so much so that some socks sell for well above retail value on resale sites.

StockX, the streetwear resale website, reports that Hidden NY stockings are in great demand. Bought new for $14 (£11), and it’s sold for up to £166 on the site. Other popular brands include Bape, Fear of God, and Chrome Hearts. Three sets of socks from the latest brand, which feature the lip embellishment, are selling for £200 on the website. In contrast, a three-person package costs £15 at Marks & Spencer.

Socks have become a style statement over the past five years—especially when worn with slides or sandals. Celebrities like David Beckham, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Tyler The Creator, and Justin Bieber have endorsed this look and have been spotted on the runways of brands like Dior Men and Ahluwalia.

Bella Hadid rocks the stocking look in New York. Photo: Gotham / GC Images

Circle Zero Eight’s fashion director, Gary Armstrong, is often photographed at runway shows in outfits with pantyhose. He says they’re an “all-time favorite and updating your sock wardrobe for 2022 is a must.”

Socks and sandals have become so popular that government photos of Rishi Sunak preparing the 2021 budget showed the chancellor wearing a pair of Palm Angels loafers and white socks.

Even Sunak, who wears the sporty look, hasn’t stopped stockings as a statement item, but celebrities like Bieber, Williams, and Bella Hadid have subtly changed the way they wear them. Instead of skaters, they wear shorts with sneakers and socks that are pulled at the calves.

According to Jesse Einhorn, chief economist at StockX, socks are popular with consumers because they are a smart way to buy into a brand when larger items – T-shirts or hoodies – are expensive: “10,000+ packs of Supreme x Hanes – StockX socks have been sold over the years The past few and the average resale price has been just over $30 (£23.80)…For the budget conscious buyer looking to own a Supreme logo piece of clothing, these socks are an attractive choice.”

Hosiery sales are up 70% year over year at Matchesfashion.com. While the focus was on socks as a practical accessory, they are now in the spotlight. “Wearing luxury socks with leather shoes is definitely a priority,” says Damien Paul, Head of Menswear. “However, we saw that our customers also viewed socks as a statement and wore a sock as a subtle nod to the logos.”

Einhorn is also credited with the emergence of the coaching culture. “With so many people obsessing over what they’re wearing on their feet, it feels like a natural move for socks to be a new, flexible style,” he says. “It’s the perfect way to advance your sneaker game.”