A symbol of the 1980s and the ‘tight and bright’ fashion sensibility that came with it, for a long time since, white jeans were a fashion pariah. That is, until now. Rapidly becoming a wardrobe staple and the epitome of European chic, they’re a timeless piece and the ultimate in versatility.
However, for many blokes, this unassuming item is viewed with fear. Not universally flattering and trickier to style than their regular blue wash counterparts, white jeans can be daunting. Worn wrong, you’ll look like a washed-up, George Michael wannabe; worn well and you’ll look impossibly chic. Here, we’ll be explaining how to make sure you fall into the latter category and pull off white jeans in a decidedly contemporary way.
What Top To Wear With White Jeans
The go-to combo with white jeans is an easy one – adding a button-down shirt. However, there’s some subtlety when it comes to choosing the right colour. You want to avoid pale shirts as these blend with the jeans and make you look like a backup dancer for Wham. Instead, look at darker options like an indigo chambray shirt that contrasts with the white.
Alternatively, opt for a patterned shirt such as a maroon coloured paisley or a thick stripe in a silky texture. Paired with white jeans, this makes for a great party outfit in the warmer months and elevates you beyond the standard blue jeans ‘n’ shirt combo.
For those who prefer a more casual vibe, white jeans with a fitted tee is a great option. Think about contrasting the denim with either a khaki or navy tee-shirt. This looks sharp and has the added benefit of giving you the illusion of a tan.
How To Dress Up White Jeans
White jeans look sensational when worn with a classic navy blazer and this is an easy way to take an otherwise casual item and make it feel a little more premium. Consider pairing slim white jeans with a pale blue shirt and a blue single-breasted linen blazer for a simple yet elegant outfit.
If you’re open to being a little bolder, explore a more monochrome variation on this look with a bone or beige coloured blazer. To avoid this being a completely white-on-white affair, you can break it up with a dark brown suede belt and loafers. This is perfect for occasions like a relaxed summer wedding or even the polo.
What Shoes To Wear With White Jeans
When it comes to white jeans and footwear, I always like to show off a little bit of ankle by opting for loafers or double monk straps. By eschewing socks, your look stays streamlined and you ensure that your outfit is in keeping with the holiday-like vibe that white jeans seem to evoke.
In terms of specifics, it’s best to steer clear of anything that looks too severe or heavy. Suede tasselled loafers from the likes of Santoni are a great option that can be worn time and time again.
At the other end of the spectrum, white low-top sneakers are also great for more casual occasions. Look at Common Projects, Adidas or SuitSupply for well-made options that don’t look overly bulky.
What Jackets To Wear With White Jeans
It’s a common misconception that white jeans are only suitable prior to Labour Day. In fact, white jeans are a fantastic way to freshen up the Winter wardrobe and look great when layered with sweaters and jackets.
A classic look is pairing white jeans with a neutral coloured sweater and a camel coat. Whether you go for a trench or a heavier wool style, it’s easy to then add finishing touches like a scarf or even a sports coat if it’s truly chilly.
Another option is to use your jeans as a way of colour-blocking an outfit. Topping off white denim with a dark navy crew neck sweater and windbreaker jacket –à la Nick Jonas – has a striking effect and ensures that your winter wardrobe diversifies beyond the regular dark hues.
What To Look For When Purchasing White Jeans
When on the hunt for the perfect pair of white jeans, there are a few points to watch for. First and foremost, you need to focus on fit. If this is your first pair, opt for a slim fit that is cropped neatly at the ankle. This is a versatile style that can be worn for a whole suite of different occasions.
Secondly, watch out for any styles that have unnecessary detailing. Whilst extra zips and studs might seem like a good idea at the time, they’re too much and will quickly turn a perfectly good pair of jeans from great to tacky. Finally, get to know the care instructions well. White jeans are chic when they’re white – not when they’re a slightly grubby shade of cream.