Eff the Crew Socks Trend

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a collage of nine different celebrities and fashionistas wearing crew socks with bare legs and sneakers or sandals
Various fashion lovers rocking the heck out of crew socks. Good for them, not for me.

Word on the street is no-show socks and ankle socks are OUT. All the cool kids are now wearing at least a quarter crew sock if not higher. My teenager gave me all her ankle socks and now it's all crew socks (and for where we live, the coolest of crew socks are Nike). But you're not going to see her mom, this Gen X woman rocking the crew socks trend any time soon.

That Doesn't Mean I Didn't Try the Crew Socks Trend…

That doesn't mean I didn't try. I will try any trend once, and I am not afraid to revisit my past. I remember when socks with sandals were only for the stoners, and crew socks were worn by dads and tourists. But then I also remember that back then, men in turtlenecks, aviators, and mustaches looked creepy, and now they're the hottest celebs on the cover of GQ. Fashion is cyclical; I'll snag a pair of my kid's Nike quarter crews and try an extra inch or so of elasticized cotton on my ankles and see how I like it.

Ankles isn't the right word. Cankles sounds as though I am making fun of myself or making a self-deprecating joke. But really, I am 5'3″ tall, solid, strong, and curvy. As a kid, I walked on my toes, which built up my calves, shins, ankles, and balls of my feet. There's not a lot of leg between my kneecap and my ankle bone, and that expanse of leg doesn't have much of a taper.

Trying the Crew Socks Trend

I thought maybe the best way to try this sock trend was with my high-top Chucks and a pair of loose linen shorts that hit just above my knee. While I am all about breaking style rules, I do know that more leg showing will make my legs look more proportional, and the fullness of the shorts will balance the volume created by more coverage below the calves.

Since I was wearing the quarter crews with Chucks (last two eyelets without laces because thick shins and all), the sock only peeked out a bit. It was hard for my Gen X eyes to become accustomed to it, so I decided to wear it to Target and the grocery store, catch a glance in reflections and see how I feel after a couple of hours. Maybe it doesn't look bad, it's just like how it was hard to break the bootcut jeans habit, and then more recently, the skinny jeans habit. Maybe by time I came home I'd be a convert.

I lasted 15 minutes. The socks were irritating my legs and when I pushed them down to scratch, I saw red dents in my legs where the quarter crew ended. I shoved them down, and when I got home I threw them into my daughter's laundry basket so they wouldn't end up in my sock drawer and tempt me again.

It's All About Comfort and Joy

I am comfortable in ankle socks, especially when they have that little tab in the back so I can be sure they won't slide down into my shoes. I like socks with a bit of strategic cushioning and compression, and I like letting my ankles breathe. And I really don't care if this makes me look like an Old. I am an Old and by getting to this point in life, I have EARNED the right to wear whatever the eff I want.

And come on, I am from a generation of rule breakers. I dyed my hair black, I shaved my head, I pierced my ears with safety pins and wore Doc Martens and torn tights to school dances. I have never been one to blindly follow trends and I sure as hell am not going to start in midlife.

Eff all of this noise. Wear whatever the eff you want to wear. You've earned that right. You DESERVE it.

Style is Listening to Oneself

The older I get, the fewer f*cks I have left to give. But I still give a sh*t. But giving a sh*t isn't listening to what Gen Z or even the Millenials. It is listening to myself.

It's taking the time to truly listen. To play, to try, to break some style rules, to give myself permission and grace. To know that a single outfit will not change my life for the better or the worse. The world continues to rotate even if we buck the rule of thirds, we don't lengthen our legs, we don't whittle our waist, we don't create optical illusions or try to recess into the background.

a collage of nine celebrities and fashionistas wearing visible socks with their pants and shoes
While I may not be wearing crew socks this summer, you can bet I'll embrace wearing visible socks this fall and winter. No more cold ankles for fashion!

True style is knowing oneself and respecting oneself by dressing for comfort and joy. It's not following the leader but creating our own path. Using others for inspiration, not gospel. And knowing that it's going to be okay if you make mistakes or end up with red indentations around your “cankles.” Learning from those mistakes, and continuing on the path, finding joy not stress in the journey.

Breaking Rules Can Be Hella Stylish

I tried the crew sock trend because I knew it broke soooo many rules for my body type. I've found over the past few years that breaking rules may not result in me adopting that style concept, but it does chip away at the cage I have put myself into in an attempt to look as flattering as possible.

It shows me that beauty can be weird, be out of proportion, not match, and not make sense. But somehow it is still beautiful or cool or fun or interesting. It can still work, and maybe it works even better. But I would never know if I didn't try.

Try crew socks. Or don't. Wear knee-socks or toe socks or legwarmers or fishnets or find those anklets with the pom-poms on the back that we rocked back in the days. Hell, begin sewing pom-poms on ankle socks and sell them to all of us who are willing to try something new or go back in time, but only on our terms and only when it brings us comfort and joy.

Crew socks don't bring me comfort, so they don't bring me joy. But I'm glad I tried so I better know myself. And myself won't be wearing crew socks any time soon.

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. If the pictures you posted are demonstrating the most stylish of women wearing crew socks, then there isn’t much hope for everyone else. I think they look stupid on everyone. My one exception? Women or men wearing an all white or mostly white tennis outfit.

    For winter I prefer that my socks don’t show at all under pants. I might wear knee high, crew socks or tights but I prefer my pants being long enough that my ankles don’t show when I’m standing or walking.

  2. Love everything about this post. I surprised myself by actually loving a visible sock when I tried it. The trick that worked in my personal circs? Using ones that are fairly neutral in color, shorter, and here’s the kicker … with a slight frill. I know that I’m probably *technically too old* to rock the look. And I care not at all 🙂 It’s bringing me joy.

    As always, great post, Alison!

  3. Here Here!! I’m 47, I hate socks and always have. I wear no-show socks with sneakers or with my running shoes when I work out, but otherwise go sockless (except for tights in winter). No crew sock trend or any other sock trend is going to ever make me like socks!

  4. I won’t be wearing them either. My 12 year old twins are wearing the Nike crews with Crocs and other sandals. Personally, I think it looks bad. I always associate socks with sandals as prison inmate fashion. I’m gonna be wearing sandals all season, without socks!

  5. This resonates! I called my thirty something daughters to ask what socks are good with my newest pair of new balances and all three said they have sock angst! I’m sticking to my balega socks I run in because at my age I’m for comfortable style. ( never thought I’d put comfort over style, but there you have it!)

  6. Lol. I am now 68. I have always preferred the FEELING of crew socks v the lower socks. I am also short and curvy. I don’t care. I am going with how it feels. I wear no-show socks when that would look too weird (to me). It is ALWAYS about how it feels to oneself.

  7. I am totally fine with holding onto styles that ‘make me look like a Millennial’. I am a Millennial! And I’m pretty sure that there are other things about me that out me as well (greying hair, TikTok reluctance) but if I see a trend I like I will try that too. Both things can be true. Trying to center my decisions.. from MY center!

  8. Now crew socks for me unless it’s with pants or jeans. And then they can be as funky as they wanna be. Perhaps at some point during the summer when the cool kids decide to wear flip flops and see their farmer tan “socks,” they’ll think maybe crew socks weren’t that great of an idea, lol.

  9. Today’s post made me smile and took me back to long ago childhood summers. Sometimes that meant crew, ankle or no socks. I’m from your late mom’s generation – we wore what was available and clean in our household. I’m not even sure “no show” socks existed – unless you were cursed with ill-fitting thin socks that slid down midway inside your sneakers giving the appearance of “no show” (but so much uncomfortable bunching!). The current crew sock look is a trend I’ll bypass this time around. The beauty of being an adult means being happy with your choices. You do you, too!!

  10. There’s a fine line between crew socks and support socks! . I’m searching for knee high support socks that look like tube sox! Yep of that age!

  11. No show socks FOR EVER_AND, wearing skinny jeans as I type this. lol. I give props out for trying. The 50s club has graced us with doing what works for you. period.

  12. I don’t really feel drawn to trying this particular trend – but I do like that your post is a reminder to push against the boxes we draw around ourselves. As a 53 year old, I have long since discovered what looks most conventionally flattering on my body type – but it’s important to not get stuck in a rut. I’ll keep my eyes open for other new things to try!

  13. Amen! I wore crew socks the last time they were “in style” in the 80’s. I think they look cute on young women with long, slender legs. They do not look cute on 59-year-old me. So they can have their crew socks and I’ll keep wearing my ankle socks!

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