Spring Trend Forecast: Argyle Socks & Shorts

OK, not a trend for this season, but it was in 1957. At least in one place: Rhodes College. And at least among this group of guys… on this particular day. But even in this small scientific sample, you can see human social tendencies asserting themselves. The guys in solid socks may be part of the group, but not the in-group. Audacity plays a big role in social hierarchies, especially when it comes to fashion.

28 Comments on "Spring Trend Forecast: Argyle Socks & Shorts"

  1. terrryoreilly75 | April 17, 2018 at 12:58 pm |

    Somethings are best left in the past.

  2. terrryoreilly75 | April 17, 2018 at 12:59 pm |

    *Some things

  3. This must be the “pants-worn-half-way-down-your-butt” equivalent of its day.

  4. Unless you are actually conducting business on the island of Bermuda, knee socks with shorts and a tie and jacket just don’t work.

  5. Mitchell S. | April 17, 2018 at 5:15 pm |

    Looks like a Thom Browne fashion show.

  6. Johnny Bravo | April 17, 2018 at 5:42 pm |


  7. MacMcConnell | April 17, 2018 at 6:43 pm |

    I’ve mentioned in the past the old lawyer in Greenville Miss. who wore trop weight wool Bermudas with a seersucker jacket, white socks and bucks. He would walk downtown to his office on Washington Ave. He also wore a boater. Yes 1957.

  8. Vern Trotter | April 17, 2018 at 6:56 pm |

    I thought I was familiar with about every college in the US. Located in Memphis with approx 2000 students, it was affiliated with the Presbyterians; an early president was Woodrow Wilson’s father.

  9. Woodrow would go on to become the president of another Presbyterian school, Princeton.

  10. “Southwestern at Memphis.” Arguably preppier than the oft vaunted Sewanee. Feeder schools included Memphis day schools, as well as Baylor and the surpassingly (even to this day) preppy McCallie.

  11. Lovely campus too.

  12. I think that shorts are flattering only on few men.
    And the look coat-shirt-tie-short is not only silly but senseless.
    When is hot weather,why in name of God i should be fresh with coat and tie only because i have shorts?
    Is more sane a unlined linen,cotton or seersucker suit.
    Back then this was only a American (or British Bermuda) trend…only Good Lord know why!

  13. MacMcConnell | April 18, 2018 at 6:30 pm |

    I notice two things in that image. First is the length of the jackets. Second is the patch pockets which seem harder and harder to find.

  14. Better than hoodies: today’s college student uniform.

  15. Can’t help think of some comical scene where an old man loses his trousers when I view this historic photograph. I understand they are wearing shorts.

  16. elder prep | April 22, 2019 at 8:45 pm |

    Argyle calf hose. Argyle calf hose, with shorts? Argyles socks are to be peaked at between a mans cuffed trousers and his Bass Wegeons. Perhaps they were trying to get into a fraternity?

  17. I’d maybe wear argyle ankle socks, with shorts, if I’m even wearing socks with loafers which is not often, but not this high.
    But I like fashion discussions not fashion policing and I think male style should be liberated from pressure a bit, so, if you like knee socks with shorts wear them, as long as you don’t feel too hot for the weather, that goes for women as well.

  18. Spartacus | May 4, 2021 at 3:35 pm |

    Hey, might just try this combo out this Summer. Will definitely raise a few eyebrows in the park !

  19. Charlottesville | May 4, 2021 at 4:05 pm |

    A fine look … for college kids in 1957. I’m with Paul’s 2018 comment regarding the inappropriateness of shorts, knee socks, blazer and tie outside of Bermuda today. I saw it a few times at W&L in the 80s, albeit sockless, but it was not typical by any means; more just college boys fooling around with the rules, like wearing white bucks with a cream dinner jacket and black tie, of which I was guilty myself on one occasion around that time.

  20. Rhodes College wasn’t called Rhodes College until 1984. In the 50s it would still have been known as Southwestern at Memphis.

  21. I look forward to seeing Ivy purists dressing this way this spring. You want to be authentic, don’t you?

  22. Vern Trotter | May 5, 2021 at 12:39 am |

    This style never caught on in this country in the 50s. Yes, the Bermuda shorts and knee socks did but not with the coat and tie. A few spots here and there like this location for a couple years and in formal wear, dinner jackets in warm weather etc. still. Strange to see the coats were so long.

  23. Vern Trotter | May 5, 2021 at 12:49 am |

    A few times over the decades to wear something different I have worn a kilt for a formal occasion. Sort of the same idea and still around. The gals love them on a lad.

  24. The guys in the photo are now between 82 and 86 years old. I wonder how they dress now, and what they think about how they dressed then.

  25. And Lexman, that’s a good question. The fact that the answers are out there is tantalizing!

  26. Roger Sack | May 5, 2021 at 3:05 pm |

    I always regarded Bermuda-length shorts as a sign of defeat:


  27. Vern Trotter | May 6, 2021 at 6:28 am |

    The Brits wore Bermuda length shorts as part of their uniform in all of the tropics. The US never as far as I know in WW2 but were often in short shorts while on base when it was very hot. May even have been boxer type shorts. It made sense really but it was never part of our culture until after the war years later.

  28. Hans Christian Brando | October 31, 2022 at 8:16 pm |

    It’s funny to read these other comments, but then there’s always been a stigma about grown men wearing shorts except on the beach, the tennis court, or very casual occasions. However hard designers like Thom Browne try, the so-called shorts suit will never make it into the mainstream. The photos above merely represent a brief 1950s fad. Even Brad Pitt and his “skirt” (which looked more like he had a towel wrapped around his middle) was more acceptable. Still, anyone who thinks shorts with knee socks are a fatal combination has never seen a soccer game.

    At the very least, think of it this way: 65 years from now, people will have pretty unflattering things to say about how you’re dressed.

Comments are closed.