There’s a school of thought that says white denim is not terribly chic. It’s true that at times it seemed a mission unending to find a pair of white jeans that weren’t see-through or so thin and tight that they were, essentially, the world’s most unflattering leggings. However, I love white denim for sunny days, so I persevered and eventually my apparently disproportionately sturdy thighs and I found a pair that fit – in Japan, of course – and now I’m converted to the white denim cause.
Also – I laughed as soon as I saw that picture of me on the see-saw, and knew it had to be the title photo for this post.
In the photo above I’m wearing one of the most common white denim pieces, a button through skirt, with a vintage men’s Hawaiian shirt tied at the waist. As soon as I saw this shirt I knew it was destined to be worn tied at the waist with either white jeans (or in this case, a skirt) or with white cotton. The worn, oversized fabric needs to be paired with something quite crisp and feminine to highlight it and bring out its best features. The old Opposites Attract rule works better for clothes than it ever has in my dating life.
This combination creates a casual, easy look that is perfect for sunny weekends. I can definitely imagine sitting in the sun with a glass of cold white wine and maybe (definitely) a cheese plate within reaching distance. Should I ever find myself in possession of a yacht, that someone else operates for me, this will be a firm contender in the Yacht Wardrobe.
By contrast, this outfit is a more traditional, preppy take on white denim. I do really wish these jeans weren’t quite so distressed (and I’m still on the hunt for the ideal white jeans) but I was just so pleased to find a pair that weren’t oddly transparent that I snapped these up. The important thing I learnt from my extensive trying on of every pair I came across is to make sure the jeans are a modern cut, so in this case, a straight leg that I can wear more cropped or straight.
Blue is an obvious pairing with white. What I love about this shirt is how thin and soft it is, giving it a slightly sexier look than a more robust option, without becoming too difficult to wear. I always check where the buttons fall on shirts, as I like to wear my shirts buttoned fairly low but close to the skin. You’re aiming for “dishevelled ingénue in her lover’s shirt” as opposed to “harassed mother whose toddler has ripped open her shirt”.
Both of these looks called for a neutral shoe to cut down on clashes with the other items and to help lengthen my legs in the skirt. I bought these Mollini shoes from Andrea Biani a few weeks ago, and I half expected to find them impossible to walk in and to have to return them. They are, and I’m not exaggerating here, the most surprisingly comfortable shoes I’ve ever owned. The leather is soft and the length of it is enough to hold your foot securely. I can already tell I’m going to thrash them this summer based on how often they are the answer when I find myself thinking “what shoes will I wear with that though?”.
With its instant tan-boosting properties, I think white denim will stick around in my wardrobe for years. As we learned when I wore my lovely Wilson Trollope Porcelain Jacket, there is always potential for spills and accidents when wearing white, but we live in a magical time of stain remover and dry cleaners who are not judgmental about how clumsy a woman in her 30s appears to be (but do know me by name).
White jeans are from Uniqlo, but perhaps check out the Levis 501s; pale blue shirt, try this one from JeansWest; white denim skirt, similar style available from Just Jeans; Mollini Kerrie Shoes from Andrea Biani; Vintage men's hawaiian shirt, there are lots of options (including this one) on Etsy; Quay Australia sunglasses, lots of great styles on The Iconic.