What are Argyle Knee Socks?

T. Alaine
T. Alaine
Woman shopping
Woman shopping

Two main characteristics are attributed to argyle knee socks. First, to be considered knee length, a sock must be able to stretch far enough up the leg to reach just below, or to the midpoint of, the wearer’s knee. Second, argyle knee socks are woven with a specific pattern, which consists of grids of different colored diamonds.

Socks that reach knee height are fairly common, and can be woven from a large variety of materials, including wool, cotton, and textile blends. Knee socks are stretchy and fitted enough to stay stretched up to knee height without scrunching or falling down. The great length of knee socks, as compared to socks that only reach ankle height, is useful when wearing tall boots or for keeping legs warm under pants or skirts.

For those who seek a detailed or patterned option, argyle knee socks are a good choice. An argyle pattern looks like diamonds arranged in a slanted, diagonal checkerboard, often overlaid by a grid of diagonal lines. Most patterns typically consist of at least three colors: one for the background, one for the diamonds, and one for the grid. Ultimately, though, the number of colors can vary according to aesthetics and taste.

Argyle knee socks can be found in somber, muted color palettes, which use neutral colors such as browns, grays, black, or deep blues and greens. These particular socks are well suited to formal attire, and are often paired with slacks and dress shoes. Flashier argyle knee socks come in a broad spectrum of colors, utilizing any color of the rainbow. Socks of this nature have become associated with the “preppy” styles of dress exemplified by traditional golf course attire. Private school uniforms are another common association of argyle knee socks, adding to their reputation as traditional, classic, conservative style.

Even though argyle knee socks can easily be written off as only serving a certain wardrobe aesthetic, they can easily be incorporated into a variety of styles of dress. Knee socks, especially when emblazoned with a pattern as potentially bold as argyle, serve double duty as both functional pieces and fashion accessories. Some people choose to coordinate the colors of their argyle patterns with the rest of their outfit to preserve the classic preppy look, while others strive to find new and different ways to incorporate tradition argyle knee socks into a modern or edgy wardrobe. In this way, argyle knee socks can be considered a surprisingly versatile addition to any closet.

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