Unless you’re one of those lucky people who resides in a climate that stays warm year-round, there’s a good chance it’s freezing—or well below it—where you live. Which means bundling up with cozy hats, sweaters, boots, and maybe even a chill-beating faux fur coat. It’s not a look that’s particularly conducive to showing off your shape, but then, who cares about cutting a good figure when it’s so cold you can’t even pull out your phone to text without feeling like you’re about to catch frostbite?
That being said, a flash of exposed ankle can instantly make an outfit look more flattering, even if a Michelin Man-level coat is involved. It elongates the leg, helps to break up an otherwise monotone ensemble (after all, all-black is a seasonal staple), and shows off one of the slimmest parts of the body. Since exposing even a sliver of bare skin isn’t really an option this time of year, pair cropped pants with a pair of funky socks to get the look without catching a chill.
Given the popularity of crop-kick flares and abbreviated, cut-off boyfriend jeans, you probably already have a suitable pair of pants in your closet. If not, consider 3×1’s Fringe Straight Crop, RE/DONE’s Leandra High Rise Crop Flare, or M.i.h’s Marty Cropped Studded High-Rise Flare. Pair with a turtleneck sweater (like this one from Madewell), and ankle boots or low-top sneakers. Let a pair of printed socks, like the ones we’ve picked below, bridge the gap between your shoes and the bottoms of your pants. If you’re more of a dress kind of gal, just pair socks and ankle boots with an on-trend midi dress, like Tanya Taylor’s Idella Dress or Opening Ceremony’s Striped Knit Maxi Dress. And remember, warmer weather is (hopefully) just around the corner.
Henrik Vibskov Graphic Printed Socks ($29; H. Lorenzo)
Danish designer Henrik Vibskov is the king of cool socks, and these look like they belong on display at MoMA. Pair them with cropped black pants for gallery girl sophistication or, if you’re feeling bold, layer on a complimentary print like black-and-white Breton stripes.
Gucci GG Cotton Blend Socks ($99; Sodafirm)
Are these pink, glittery Gucci socks a little bit extra? Um, definitely. But just think about how much they’ll brighten your day every time you go to put them on. Also, as far as Gucci goes, these are downright affordable (especially compared to the $1,340 version Rihanna showed off recently on Instagram).
Mary Jane Stockings by Strathcona ($36; Memphis Workshop)
Looking to show your support for marijuana legalization? These silky, knee-high stockings, which come in pink or purple, are the perfect way to do so.
Hot Sox Multi-Stripe Cashmere Trouser Sock ($12; Jet)
A cashmere sock is the ultimate luxury and these also have a surprisingly versatile color palette. After all, there’s nothing like a well-placed pop of Barbie pink to get you through even the chilliest winter day.
Out From Under Ribbed Icon Sporty Sock ($5; Urban Outfitters)
From Diane von Furstenberg to Moschino, lips have been everywhere on the runways recently, and these sporty tube socks from Urban Outfitters are an easy, subtle way to integrate the sultry symbol into your wardrobe.
Calvin Klein Modern Logo Tube Crew Sock ($10; Urban Outfitters)
Take a page from Brooke Shields’s book and don’t let anything come between you and your Calvins. These black-and-white socks are a relatively low-key way to hop aboard the logo mania train, and their sporty, net-embellished aesthetic makes them feel worthy of an Instagram It girl.
Sheer Nigh Sparkle Trouser Socks ($9; Madewell)
Is there any better way to amp up your going-out look than a dash of glitter? We think not. Rock these sheer, shimmery socks with ankle boots now, then pair them with open-toed platforms when it gets warmer. Your twinkly toes will be the talk of the evening.
Hot Sox Mona Lisa Trouser Socks ($8; Macy’s)
These artsy socks will show off both your sense of humor and your intellect. Not to mention that pretty mint green will pair with everything from neutrals to pastels.
Tabbisocks Twinkle Toes Star Print Mesh Socks ($30; Lulu’s)
Okay, so these sheer mesh socks probably won’t do much when it comes to warmth, but how pretty are they?
Happy Socks White Black Polka Dot Knee-High Socks ($13; BoldSOCKS)
These Yayoi Kusama-inspired speckled socks will transform your legs into a whimsical (and warm) wonderland of bouncing polka dots. Keep the rest of your outfit simple yet directional with color blocking or monochrome dressing to let these bad boys function as the focal point.
Pizza Party Sock ($13; Ties.com)
We’re not sure why (maybe blame Pizza Rat?), but pizza has been having something of a cultural moment recently. And now, you can wear your love for cheesy, carb-laden goodness on your feet. Bonus points if you sport them to your favorite pizza joint.
Burberry Merino Wool Argyle Check Socks ($135; Neiman Marcus)
Argyle socks are a preppy staple and these thick wool ones from Burberry are well worth the splurge for how warm they appear to be. We suggest pairing them with leather loafers or Bean boots for that classic, New England collegiate look.
Just a Touch of Your Love Velvet Socks ($8; Nasty Gal)
We love wearing velvet in the winter, so why not extend the trend to our feet? These sleek, forest green beauties also come with a touch of sparkle that makes them perfect for a fancier occasion.
Dimepiece Add Tax Crew Socks ($24; Dimepiece Los Angeles)
Dimepiece is a streetwear label that caters to bold, badass women, and these black and red socks are no exception. With “Dimepiece” (as in, a perfect ten) scrawled on the leg and “Know Your Worth & Add Tax” written on the toe, these socks will keep you in high self-esteem all winter long.