How can something so simple be so complicated? There is a logic to socks that – once you’re schooled – will let you master any outfit and keep you from looking lost or misguided.

Remember the basic function of socks: to keep perspiration away from your feet and to reduce the friction between your feet and your shoes. But then there are the aesthetic considerations that are equally important.

There are three standard styles of socks:

The low-cut sport sock.  Wear them when playing. They’re cut below the ankle and fit nicely into your sports shoes. Usually made of a blend of wool and nylon, they absorb sweat and support the bridge of your foot, especially when playing sports.

The mid-calf sock. The most common sock men buy. They stretch above the ankle but don’t go as far as the knee. They’re available in a variety of colours and materials (wool, nylon, cotton, and more).

The knee-length sock. For the dressy, fashionable man. If you’re wearing a suit and sitting down, you don’t want your bare calves to show. The knee-length sock will prevent this.

Here’s how to make sure your socks don’t suck:

Pull them up all the way. Don’t roll them or let them sag. If a sock comes in a specific length, that’s how they should be worn.

Know the difference between formal and casual socks. Think shorter socks when being casual; longer socks when formal. The colours can be bolder and brighter when casual. Socks should be more subdued – black, grey, navy -– when formal (although this is changing with the evolving workplace). When you’re going formal and out to impress, make sure the material is high quality: silk, cashmere, or even just pure wool or cotton. Match your sock colour to the colour of your pants. When you’re attending a black-tie event, you wear a black knee-length sock – no exceptions.

Know when to wear socks with shorts. It’s best to wear socks with casual shoes and sneakers, but not as appealing to wear them with more expensive, fancier shoes like oxfords or leather loafers. And never wear them with sandals.

Sock collecting is becoming more fun than ever, as more styles and patterns are introduced due to a growing popular demand. It’s no longer just a wardrobe staple -- it can actually become quite an addiction. Notice how a tiny item like socks plays big-time into your entire ensemble.

Click here to find Daily Jocks’ top picks in socks.