Who knew bare ankles could cause such a stir? Matt Lauer's interview with Ryan Lochte last year sparked plenty of Internet outrage, but in addition to the discontent with Lochte's destructive behavior and subsequent mendacity in Rio, commenters lashed out against Lauer for what they saw as a style faux pas: his failure to wear socks with his loafers during the interview.
"One really does need to wear a ped, a sockette, a loafer sock... whatever you name it. That minimal piece of hosiery that hides discreetly within your footwear helps prevent moisture, odor, and preserves the condition of your shoes."
I'm going to go out on a limb and say Lauer's naked ankles are no big deal. He's speaking to a disgraced athlete, not a head of state, and well, socks just aren't a strict wardrobe requirement anymore. The Today show host has learned what stylish men (and Hollywood legends, as you can see from the images below) have known for a while: A bare foot and ankle make an excellent canvas for the right moccasins or loafers. (I myself am partial to Belgian Shoes.)
A sockless Cary Grant reads a script in 1955.
Bruce Pask, men's fashion director at Goodman's, the men's arm of Bergdorf Goodman, is an advocate of the "sockless in summer" look, but he says it's a bit of a misnomer: "One really does need to wear a ped, a sockette, a loafer sock... whatever you name it. That minimal piece of hosiery that hides discreetly within your footwear helps prevent moisture, odor, and preserves the condition of your shoes."
Steve McQueen at home in Palm Springs in 1963.
Got that? Going sockless may convey a casual summer insouciance, as if the extra step of pulling on a pair of socks was just too much to handle in wretchedly hot weather. And that's okay, but reality shouldn't be quite so unconcerned. Your feet have sweat glands, so it's best to prepare them with no-show socks like Falke's, which have anti-slip silicone grips on the heels, or these playful versions from Nice Laundry (only the wearer knows they're there).
Errol Flynn knew that top-siders are best when barefoot.
The rules are fairly simple—there really aren't any. I've never seen a summer dress code that requires socks, because if you look presentable on top, who is going to question what you're wearing between your shoes and your feet? Black tie does demand black socks, but short of that, men should feel free to flash their ankles.
Marlon Brando in 1955
And for women, if Kate Middleton says it's okay, it's okay.
The Duchess of Cambridge pulled off the sockless look on a trip to Canada.
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.