Recently at lunch, my girlfriend confided that she never wore white after Labor Day. She didn’t think it was allowed. She went on to explain that fashion rules dictate that you can only wear white between late May and early September and only ecru, cream, and beige are appropriate for the rest of the year.
Rules? Fashion has rules? I didn’t know. Or maybe I did. Once upon a time. As my daughter’s first grade teacher once told me at parent-teacher conferences, “your daughter knows all the classroom rules, she just chooses which ones to follow.” The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Rule of fashion be damned, I wear white all year round. My white denim jeans and tank tops are year-round staples. My self-proclaimed, rule-following girlfriend was adamant that she wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing white off-season for fear she might look ridiculous. I could see her point. Simply throwing on your whites in the winter won’t go over so well, there is an art to wearing white in the off-season.
The trick to wearing white year-round is to pair it with other seasonally appropriate colors. Between September and May, white looks great with other neutral colors like gray, black, or the off-whites (tan, cream, and beige). Just after Labor Day while it is still so, so warm here in DC, I wear my white denim with a fun, summer-y top to keep cool but I try and steer away from the bright colors that are popular in the spring and summer and toward darker hues. These are my favorite white jeans. They are great for a skinny jean because they are super stretch-y. This one-shoulder top is no longer available but there are many great alternatives like this one or this one.
As the weather turns cooler, another trick to wearing white in the fall and winter is to pair it with another white, like a tank top or a blouse to create a clean base — then layer on another piece (like a sweater, cardigan, or jacket) in a complementary neutral color. Adding a piece with texture, like a waffle knit sweater or a suede jacket instantly transforms the look and gives it a seasonally appropriate feel. Add a fringe or suede bootie or a tall boot and you are ready to go!
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