Knee high socks are a type of covering for the feet that extends up the legs, reaching to the knees. Sometimes referred to simply as knee socks, they are available in a variety of fabrics, textures, styles and colors. They often are worn as a fashion statement but can be worn for practical purposes. Although they cover the legs, knee high socks can be worn to show off the legs and draw more attention to them.
Like other types of socks, knee high socks can be made from many types of materials, including cotton, nylon, silk and wool. Wool knee high socks, for example, might be worn during winter to keep the feet and calves warm. Nylon knee socks are thinner and might be worn with more formal clothing or during the summer. Knee socks of all types can be worn with many kinds of footwear, from high heels to boots. Well-made knee socks will stay up on the legs and not slide down to the ankles.
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These socks are often associated with younger women. Cheerleaders have worn these socks in high school or university colors. Knee highs are also worn with short plaid skirts and collared shirts, as an accessory for uniforms worn by girls in private school. The socks, therefore, are often associated with a schoolgirl look. They are sometimes worn as an accessory in costumes mimicking this look.
Knee high socks were highly popular in the 1960s and 1970s in many societies. They were worn with miniskirts and rose to just below the knee. Brightly colored socks with stripes were popular.
Modern knee socks sometimes rise over the knee and end on the thighs. These thigh high socks are worn with everything from high heels to boots. They are sometimes paired with sheer or opaque stockings. When worn with knee or thigh high boots, knee socks cushion the legs against the boots' rough material. The socks are also worn with ankle boots, and the boots and knee socks usually match.
Celebrities have been spotted wearing knee socks that do not cover the feet. These are called footless knee socks. Popular designers have added knee socks to their lines.
Care for knee socks is similar to the care of lingerie. The socks usually can be laundered in a machine. Sheer socks or socks that contain delicate designs might need to be washed by hand. White knee socks can be bleached and washed in hot water. Brightly colored knee socks are usually washed in cold water with a gentle laundry detergent.