Some styling tricks in fashion are simply not so, well, simple. Take pulling off cropped wide-leg pants or mixing prints, for example—they just aren’t for the faint of heart. But others couldn’t be easier. Case in point: styling socks with cold-weather boots. Whether the socks are short or tall, chunky or finely ribbed, solid or patterned, all you have to master are a few easy-to-follow tricks for nailing this classic fall and winter combo. Lucky for you, we’ve already rounded them up.
1. Pay attention to proportion: As a general rule of thumb, taller boots work best with knee or over-the-knee socks, while shorter socks (think crew or trouser styles) pair well with ankle boots or booties.
2. Leg shape matters: Not all pants and jeans were created equal. When wearing leggings or skinny jeans, try tucking them into ribbed or chunky socks and finishing the look off with a pair of hiking boots for a rugged-chic style. If you’re going for cuffed or rolled pants or jeans, style your socks so they’re sitting right up against—not above or below—the cuff.
3. Height matters, too: For a shorter pair of socks, scrunch them up so they sit right above the ankle bone. With taller socks over boots, aim to hit right below the knee. In both cases, the right height helps to draw attention away from the wider parts of your lower leg and keeps you looking sleek and streamlined, even when wearing thicker socks with boots.
4. Don’t be scared to make a statement: Whether it’s with a bright color, contrasting neutral, or sheer pattern, socks are an easy way to break up monochrome or one-note outfits. One exception to the neutral-sock rule: No white athletic socks—save those for the gym.
5. Layer up: When it gets really chilly (or you just want to look super cute), layer wooly socks over opaque tights, then pair them with ankle boots and a dress or skirt. How’s that for an easy outfit?