Over-the-knee socks have always been fashionable, but it wasn’t until the past half-century that they have genuinely become the style icon that we know them to be today. Don’t think you’re trendy enough to wear them with your outfits?

A Brief History of the Knee-High Sock

Knee-highs and over-the-knee socks have been around since ancient times. In Roman and Greek cultures, people would wrap their feet, calves, and knees in leather and woolen fabric to protect their shins and calves and provide warmth. This practice wasn’t gender-specific until very recently in history. Even during the World Wars, men were required to wear these types of socks for warmth and protection (and even more to prevent foot rot and other foot-related severe ailments). 

Knee-high socks around this time also became a standard dress addition for school girls and fell out of mainstream fashion for many years. However, in the 1960s and 1970s, when miniskirts became fashionable, that knee-highs came back into mainstream fashion. This  time, their mark was made in women’s fashion and has become forever unforgettable.

Ditch the Schoolgirl Mindset

Unfortunately, over-the-knee socks can seem dull when it comes to the rest of your wardrobe. We are used to seeing them paired with cutesy skirts and not much else. Not everyone is a skirt person, but everyone can be a knee-high-sock person. Here are a few ways to mix up your knee-high look this winter.

Don’t Pack up Your Shorts Yet

If you’re a fall lover, you probably packed your shorts away long ago with big hopes for apple cider, fall foliage, and eventually snow. If you did, dig them back out — you’re going to want them.

Many people get caught up in the mindset that shorts are a summer item only. But if we can wear miniskirts during the winter, why can’t we wear shorts? Especially if we pair them with a slick pair of over-the-knee socks, we don’t have to sacrifice fashion for warmth. Save your cutest and thickest shorts for winter and pair them with a beautiful, thick pair of over-the-knee socks. Wear them with a boot or an oxford for a little extra edge.

Layer Them Over Stockings

Sometimes, socks are purely practical. When you’re just looking for a little extra warmth, wearing a pair of otk socks over your stockings can really give you the edge to get through the cold — like that last half hour of Christmas caroling with your church or through dinner at your millennial sister’s house who doesn’t keep the thermostat over 50 degrees. 

You can choose to layer them with a dress, pants, or anything else you might typically wear with stockings.

Wear Them With Sneakers

When we think of over-the-knee socks, we typically think of lacy, fancy stockings that pair well with dresses and skirts. However, there is a lot more versatility to these socks than one might expect. Wearing them with sneakers is a fun and engaging way to incorporate them into your everyday wardrobe. This harkens back to days of old when knee-high socks were not just women’s socks. Wear them to femme up a masculine outfit, or to give your outfit a bit of a kick.

With a Sweater Dress and Leggings

You might not be into schoolgirl-style dresses or skirts but still might like to wear feminine-styled outfits from time to time. If this is the case, consider wearing a sweater dress with leggings and otk socks for an extra cute and comfy look. Sweater dresses pair very well with sweater-textured knee-high socks. To embolden your outfit, use your socks to add a pop of color. Or, match the color of your sweater dress and over-the-knee stockings and wear a set of leggings that are differently colored. 

Thin and With Oxfords

Oxfords are back in fashion after a brief stint away from the fashion limelight. However, you don’t have to fall back into the same old routines with Oxford shoes and thick, wool otk stockings. Luckily, Oxfords have come a long way from their clunky origins, and there are ways to make them look sleek and sexy. Get a pair of thin over the knee socks and oxford heels, and pair them with a corduroy suit dress for a hip but professional winter look.

Under Knee-High Boots

Knee-high boots are also optimal winter wear. They provide warmth and style while also helping you tread across ice and snow. What’s better is that they look great with over-the-knee high socks. Wearing otk socks with a little bit of lace trim gives you an air of elegance, whereas thicker woolen socks paired with boots and layers look more wintry and hipster. 

Around the House With PJs

Women’s socks are not just about fashion. Over the knee socks exist in all types of materials, and aren’t only meant to be worn as part of a fashionable look. A less conventional way to use your knee-high socks is to wear them around the house with a set of pajama shorts. No need to give up your favorite pair of summer pajamas just because the weather has turned cold!

Scrunched Down For a Textured Look

And just like there’s no right outfit to wear your socks, there’s no wrong way to wear your socks. It’s trendy to wear them up above the knee, but it’s also cute to wear them scrunched down for texture, like a leg warmer. Especially if you are wearing them layered over a stocking, this look will complement brighter, less conventional styles. 

Over the knee socks are the perfect companion for a winter wardrobe. They allow you to mix and match year-round items of clothing to keep your wardrobe fresh. Additionally, they keep you warm and cozy during the coldest time of the year, and there’s definitely something to be said about that. 

Instead of falling into a rut with your traditional over the knee sock looks, try out some of our latest looks over at Foot Traffic. We have a variety of patterns, materials, and styles that will keep you creative and on your toes this winter. 

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