The irony of summer dress is that while your main objective may be to brighten up your wardrobe, your go-to devices for adding color—the necktie and the pocket square—tend not to make the cut. It’s too hot to button up, you’re not wearing a jacket to tuck your handkerchief into. Whatever the reason—you still need something that draws the eye and says, “I’m more than just a shirt and a pair of trousers.”

How about socks? All winter long they may be nothing more than a wardrobe staple, relegated to solid, dark tones and invested with little thought other than to make sure their color matches that of your suit. But when summer brings lighter-colored pants and shorts, it’s time to rethink the hose. Fortunately, a spectrum of hues and a slew of spritely patterns gives us plenty to think about.

Forget socks that blend into the color scheme as though your trousers magically melded into your shoes. Peeking out between your cuffs and your cobblery should be some hint of interest. Even those who are eschewing multicolored hose can find eye-catching tints like the green  socks (left selection, top right) from Punto. Robert Graham, with his magenta number (right selection, top right), goes even further.

Solid fields of colors aren’t enough for your sense of forward fashion? Get into patterns. The classic for socks—argyle—may seem a little been-there-done-that, but Penguin spruces it up with purple (left, bottom left) and red-orange-yellow color schemes (right, bottom left). Paisley is a time-tested motif for sure—but not on socks. That is until now. See what Graham has done with the sinewy shapes (left selection, top).

Likewise, standard stripes may seem tame on a suit, but check out what happens when bars of contrasting colors get stacked up to create new playful patterns as by Punto (left, bottom right) and Graham (right, bottom right). Some may feel polka dots are a little much for a necktie, but when they are subtly hitched on your hose as by Penguin (left, bottom), you can choose when to hide or flaunt them. Geometrics are another option as per Punto (left, top left) and Penguin (right, top).

Then there’s novelty. Say you’ve harbored a secret baseball fantasy ever since you didn’t get picked at spring training. Show your undaunted fervor with Graham’s crossed-bats-and-ball emblem (right, bottom). And if—for some bizarre reason—you’ve got a thing for touting sunglasses and a moustache on your calves instead of your face, Penguin will let you do that (right, top left).