Reader Sarah had this request:
I was wondering if you could point me to a post or you could do one on styling white jeans. I finally found a pair that feels flattering and now I am excited to experiment with looks. They look so cute for the spring and summer, but in some ways because they go with everything, it is hard to figure out how to highlight their good attributes.
Although I don’t wear mine terribly often, I love the look of a bright white jean. And I agree with Sarah that they can be very versatile but also very tricky. Here are my tips for making them work:
Consider your footwear
Regardless of the length or cut of the jean, your own size or shape, or what type of shoe you prefer, light colored shoes will generally look better with white jeans than dark colored shoes. Since the jeans are light, light shoes will create a longer leg line but even if you don’t care to visually elongate your legs, pale shoes will generally look more summery and natural with white jeans.
Now if you have dark skin the leg elongation situation shifts somewhat: In order to create that unbroken line down to the ground, you’d need to wear a light, super high-vamp shoe … and you may not be interested in doing booties for summer. To keep your look seasonal, a shoe that is no darker than nude to your skin tone is still your best bet. Tan, pastels, and metallics are all great options.
If you’re going to do a shoe that is dark in color, opt for one that has narrow straps or delicate details. To my eye, the dark olive suede shoes on the left look less natural than the black strappy sandals on the right. Black and white are natural partners and doing a black top with white jeans can work nicely if you repeat the black elsewhere, especially by bracketing the look with black at your feet. But again, shoes that feel light instead of heavy will keep the vibe fresh and summery.
Repeat white for cohesion
Now I’ll admit that this tip comes directly from the office of the Mayor of Matchy-Matchytown, so bear that in mind. Although white jeans can be worked into a variety of outfits, pairing them with tops that have white in their print or pattern is a fabulous way to create a look that feels intentional and complete. Both of these outfits include tops that have both white and another color AND both outfits also repeat that color in the shoes. Chic and elegant.
Bright contrast or cool monochrome
You could also consider doing your pale shoes and white jeans with a bright, summery color like coral, mint, or yellow. Dusty shades like olive, mustard, and most jewel tones won’t work as well as colors with a bit of bite to them. White jeans look fabulous with cream, ivory, pale tans, stone, and other like shades for an arty monochromatic look.
Light neutrals or navy
In addition to white variants like ivory and stone, light neutrals like heather gray and tan look very modern and sophisticated with white denim. Sticking to this palette will create an arty, minimalist look but adding metallic accents like those in the outfit on the left will create a funkier vibe. Navy is a classic choice to pair with white jeans and is perfect for anyone who loves all things preppy and/or nautical.
Column of white or pretty pastels
If you worry about breaking up your figure or want to appear as tall as possible in your white jeans, wearing a white top to create a column of color will help. You can then add a vest, blazer, scarf, or other element for interest and your long line will remain unbroken. I had trouble finding a good example of what I consider to be an easy, classic, nearly foolproof pairing for white jeans: Pastels. The look on the right here includes a pink striped top, but any pastel will do from lavender and butter yellow to pale blue and seafoam. I love the look of a pastel top, white jeans, and tan shoes.
And that’s all I’ve got! Hopefully some of these tips and outfit suggestions will help you generate new ideas for wearing your own white jeans. I’d love to hear any additional white denim outfit building advice you have to share. How do YOU wear white jeans?
Top images courtesy Gap.
Originally posted 2014-06-05 06:30:53.