Everyone has a few wardrobe staples they swear by, year after year, season after season. A checked blazer, a trusty pair of classic loafers, or a wear-to-any-event LBD, these pieces form the backbone to our wardrobes. I have a few perennial must-haves in my sartorial rotation, but none as controversial as a pair of white jeans.
As divisive as more trend-led pieces like dad sandals, to me, a pair of white jeans is as vital to my wardrobe as any blue washed pair– but to others, they’re a hard no, no matter the season or occasion. And I get it.
For a long time, I was a white jean refusenik – primarily because I thought it was a style reserved for those with perfectly proportioned pins as they’d surely show off every lump on bump, right? Wrong. Not only have I come to realise that white jeans look good on *every body* but I’ve come to be reliant on them for their versatility they add to my wardrobe.
How do I get white jeans right?
So, what do I look for when I’m looking for a new pair of white jeans to add to my wardrobe rotation? Most importantly, is the cut – mid to high waisted with a straight leg are my go-to. And never, *ever* a pair too fitted or tight – I’d rather size up and get a slouchier look than have a pair that’s skin-tight.
100% cotton jeans are the way to go when it comes to a lighter colour – anything with added stretch might be more comfortable, but they won’t look as crisp. Plus, the more rigid denim will prevent your white jeans from looking clingy – and cheap.
And my final word of advice? White jeans are also notorious for showing *way more* than you planned to, so always make sure to try yours in a bright light to ensure they aren’t see-through.
So, whether you’re a recent convert like me and wondering how to style them, or a long-time white jean aficionado looking for some inspo, here’s how I wear my white jeans through summer:
Try a monochrome look
White jeans aren’t perhaps the best option for someone as clumsy as me – cue ketchup stains by 2pm – or someone with dogs or toddlers (both, also me), but that doesn’t stop me from wearing them, and with a head-to-toe monochrome look, no less.
Yes, it’s a risky look to get through an entire day unscathed, but there is something achingly chic about a full white look. It’s also a style that’s easy to emulate with existing pieces in your wardrobe, simply by pairing staples like a classic white tee or an oversized white shirt. Add in white trainers or sandals and it’s a winning summer look.
If a full white ‘fit feels a little too bright for you, add in a neutral accessory or two – you’ll still get the full effect, but in a more toned-down version.
White jeans + stripes = off duty perfection
I’m a big fan of the preppy, off-duty styling of a pair of white jeans and Breton stripes; it’s a combination that calls to mind lazy days on a yacht, when it’s something to easily throw on for a run around day in town. It’s also a seasonless pairing, whether I’m reaching for a striped tee in the summer months, or a cosy striped knit for cooler days.
To really ramp up the preppy aesthetic, tie a jumper around your shoulders and you’ve got a failsafe outfit formula for weekends to come.
Add in layers
One of my initial reservations with white jeans is that I felt that they could only be worn in the summer months, with equally summery pairings. I’ve since come to realise their versatility, and that white jeans *actually* look incredibly chic paired with a trench coat or an oversized blazer, rather than anything too florally or feminine.
I now love to wear them year-round, most often (let’s be honest, this is London), with a neutral trench or a variety of blazers. This pairing is a great option for work – white jeans always look that little bit smarter than their blue counterparts, and you can easily transition this look from day to night by swapping your trainers out for a pair of heels.
All about the contrast
Black and white are a classic combination and for good reason. The sharp contrast of the two colours together is eye-catching and forever on trend.
One of my go-to looks is a chunky, oversized black jumper paired with white jeans and trainers; it’s an effortless look for cool weather days, but it still looks put together. (White) jeans and a nice (black) top are also a date night winner – the lighter jeans make the whole look more interesting than the usual pairing with blue denim.
Whether it’s a black silk shirt, or a black crop top, just add in a pair of strappy heels and lashings of gold jewellery for a date night look that’s *chef’s kiss.*