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First it was the dress shirts, again the ties, — and now ablaze socks accept caked their abode as a must-have in a beautiful man’s wardrobe.

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For the aboriginal time in over a decade, men’s accoutrement sales accept outpaced women’s for the additional year in a row, with 2013 sales to men ascent 5% to $60.8 billion, according to analysis close NPD Group. Driving the growth: bifold chiffre assets in outerwear (because of colder weather); pants ( pleats to collapsed advanced looks); and — socks.

But they are not your boilerplate atramentous and white affection socks that amount like $12 for a 12-pack. Driven by appeal for such brands as Nike Inc.’s /quotes/zigman/235840/delayed /quotes/nls/nke NKE Elite socks, which appear in assorted colors and prints and amount about amid $14 and$18 a pair, bright, and cher socks, accept accurate to be a big ablaze atom in men’s fashion.

“Small accomplish in men’s bazaar accomplish a big impact,” dispatch men to chase clothing already a trend catches on, said NPD’s industry analyst Marshal Cohen in an interview, abacus the trend of guys cutting ablaze socks started in Europe afore they migrated to the U.S. and above labels like Nike spotted an opportunity. “What Nike Elite did was accompany absorption to the bigger socks business. It’s no best aloof avaricious white socks out of the drawer. Now it’s got to be this sock. The consumer-born trend sparked the accomplished abstraction of bathrobe the bottom up.”

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And bathrobe the amount up. The boilerplate affairs amount of men’s socks accept risen 24% to $2.18 a brace in 2013 from $1.76 in 2011, according to NPD Group’s Consumer Tracking Service.

Nike aboriginal apparent its Elite socks for basketball players in 2008 afore introducing the additional adaptation in 2012. The socks, including signature versions for brilliant athletes including LeBron James, avowal appearance including cushioning and compression. Nike has said socks accept become  “a ample and awful assisting $100 actor business” that’s “growing rapidly.”

“Socks acclimated to be a article allotment of the basketball business but we developed a new avant-garde sock,” said Jayme Martin, a Nike executive, at its broker affair in October, abacus they are a advance befalling beyond assorted sports categories. “Kids aren’t aloof cutting them on the courts. They are amusing currency. It’s an archetype of how we advantage abundant account beyond the alignment to drive new growth.”

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Retailers including Bottom Locker Inc. /quotes/zigman/293726/delayed /quotes/nls/fl FL accept accustomed “performance socks” led by Nike’s as a advance driver.

“Every kid had to accept a pair,” analyst Matt Powell of SportsOneSource told MarketWatch, abacus added brands from Adidas  /quotes/zigman/619210/realtime DE:ADS   to Under Armour /quotes/zigman/388552/delayed /quotes/nls/ua UA additionally are blame ablaze achievement socks. “(It’s) a appearance thing. Everyone is aggravating to get in the game, but no one has had any success animadversion (Nike) off.”

Athletic beat sales aftermost year surged 22% afterwards jumping 34% in 2012 and Nike’s allotment of the bazaar has risen to 43% year-to-date from 37% during the aforementioned aeon aftermost year, Powell said.  Another indicator of the accepting can be apparent in abounding Twitter handles and Facebook pages committed to Nike Elite Socks. Nike alike produced a alternation of videos on “sock etiquette.”

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And it’s not aloof an able-bodied trend. Added retailers and brands, from Macy’s Inc.’s /quotes/zigman/467976/delayed /quotes/nls/m M Bloomingdale’s and Ralph Lauren Corp. /quotes/zigman/6233187/delayed /quotes/nls/rl RL on the college end to discounter Target Corp. and Forever 21, accept all accustomed ablaze socks with altered prints.

Target /quotes/zigman/253872/delayed /quotes/nls/tgt TGT told MarketWatch it “has apparent a abiding interest” anytime since  it alien appearance socks in 2012.

“Bright colors and patterns accept become key trends in the beat category,”  Matt Feniger, menswear editor at trend consulting close WGSN, told MarketWatch. “Men appetence to accept some announcement or aberration in their accouterments and abnormally for men who abrasion accoutrement a beam of blush from the beat is the absolute way to do it. Also, the accepting of the ankle-cropped blow contour makes it accessible for men to appearance off fun socks and account footwear. The absorption to the beat industry is absolutely due to men’s accretion accepting and absorption in color, prints and pattern. ”

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And men’s appearance appetence isn’t assuming any signs of slowing down.

Men’s accoutrement spending is accepted to abide to outdistance women’s advance in anniversary of the aing four years, according to Euromonitor. Its abstracts showed men’s accoutrement sales, afterwards accepting collapsed from 2007 to 2009, accept added anniversary year back then, outpacing the amount for women in three of the accomplished four years. (See accompanying adventure on men’s bathrobe up trend.)

“More men (are) all-embracing the slimmer fit trend,” said Jane Hali, WGSN’s carnality admiral of chump research. Retailers and brands abide “to amend their assortments to accommodate assorted interpretations of the abbreviate fit, which is additionally giving men added options. Men are additionally not as amount acquainted as women. They’ll pay for acute fashion.”

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— Chase Andria on Twitter @AndriaCheng.

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