White pants are not just for summer and more. Whether you choose crisp white linen pants, or a classic denim style, white pants are a stylish addition to our wardrobes year around-including the winter months. Oh, and you can forget about the Memorial Day to Labor Day rule–it doesn’t stand anymore. You can wear white trousers and pants year around. As one who loves the color white and wears white almost daily, I have learned a lot about selecting the right white pants, keeping them looking their best, and how to style them year around. Nothing is better than a perfect pair of white jeans that fit perfectly in all the right places. Whether you love high-rise jeans or white wide leg pants, you will see that white pants are not just for wear in the warmer months–white pants are a wardrobe staple, and I am going to show you my favorite ways to style this wardrobe staple.
Today, I am going to give you the complete 411 on styling white pants, white jeans and white linen pants so you can style outfits with confidence. White pants can be tricky to select and care for, so I will also share my secrets on keeping my white pants fresh and how I choose the perfect white pants for all occasions. You will know how to create a whole look.
Pants come in all types of fabrications from jersey knits, silks, linen, cotton, denim, chino, and wool. Choose light weight fabrics for warm climates or summer, and heavier fabrics such as denims, some knits and wool for cooler days, but depending on the weight of the fabric, even white denim and some types of wool can be worn throughout the year.
White pants are great for formal occasions too. Choose fabric with a bit of drape such as jerseys, luxe silks and satins. For the office, white and off-white linen pants and trousers definitely send the “girl boss vibe”. For a summer picnic choose a light weight linen or cotton. Playing with the fit of white pants can make a huge difference too-try skinny jeans, cropped styles, wide leg, white jogger or a white jean. You will find that the various styles create very different looks. For example, style experts put together relaxed chinos with an interesting t-shirt for a casual look, while straight legs and a blazer make for a chic look.
This season we are seeing a variety of styles, including skinny denim and flowing wide leg linen pants. We are also seeing lots of white palazzo pants that look like they will be very comfortable during the hot summer months. So put your blue denim aside, it’s time to style pieces in your wardrobe in new ways.
As always, I have taken a look at some of the commonly asked questions about styling, and am excited to share the many ways white pants can be worn year around–this is not just about summer whites!
What color goes with white pants?
One of the best things about the color white is that it goes with all colors, so what ever color or pattern top, jacket or accessory you want to wear, it will go well with white. The only color I personally don’t style with white is off-white. When pairing a pure white with an off-white, the off-white can look dingy or dirty, so be careful if the rest of the pieces you are choosing for your outfit is off-white or has off-white accents. Play with monochromatic black and white outfits, white stripes, florals or maybe even put together a nautical look–a pair of whit trousers, and a navy blazer–it’s a good thing!
I love wearing blue, red and yellow with white-for example I love white pants with a blue shirt-perhaps a denim fabric, white pants and a pair of aviator sun glasses for casual outings. Or, a yellow tank top with white cropped jeans and a cute sun hat. For winter, I love pairing a creamy white wool trouser with a v-neck sweater and a camel coat for a flattering look. As you might imagine, white pants outfits can be worn for many different occasions and you can make great looks with almost any color scheme.
White can be worn with gold and silver accents. The color works well with neutrals or with an interesting accent or statement item. White also looks amazing in the “column” style of dressing, (you wear all white with an interesting long line jacket, duster or kimono) over top. With white you can make lots of different outfits without having to buy lots of new pieces for your wardrobe.
White pants can be worn with all sorts of patterns, prints and solids. Don’t be afraid to play with your white pants and style them with sweaters, blouses or evening wear. Plus, white looks amazing on every skin tone.
When considering styling pants, think in terms of the season and occasion. Tops and jackets in deep jewel tones evoke thoughts of fall and winter winter, while brights and pastels look great in spring and summer. White with neutral tones look great year around.
White pants can be worn for any occasion that one would wear pants (here in the United States women wear pants almost all the time so no occasion would be inappropriate though that may not be true in other countries).
The occasion you are dressing for can help guide your choice as to what to wear with your pants, for example a formal or work occasion might call for a beautiful blazer worn with white skinnies, while styling an outfit for a picnic might call for a fun graphic-t shirt and a denim jacket.
Jackie O is famous for styling her casual white jeans with a black t-shirt and sunglasses, the French love pairing white denim with a white t-shirt and an interesting jacket. Another great classic look is the Bretton stripe sweater with a pair of white boyfriend jeans with a relaxed fit and a navy blazer.
I am also loving white linen pants with an oversized light blue button down shirt and a pair of sandals for a fresh look.
I love wearing navy with white pants or jeans; it has a simple elegance that always seems to work. I also love wearing white pants with pastel or neutral colored sweaters. White pants are so incredibly versatile!
5 Things to Consider When Buying:
White pants can be somewhat challenging to purchase, getting the right pants is so important and great pants come at all price points so you may try on several pair before you find just the right ones. I know this is true for me. Here are a few things I look for when buying white pants:
- Make sure you can’t see the pocket lining through you white pants. Some have the pockets removed to avoid this problem.
- Make sure the pants themselves are not too see through. I just sent back a very cute pair because I could see right through them!
- Wear flesh-or nude colored underwear beneath white pants to avoid being able to see underwear through the pants. Even thicker white pants can sometimes be a bit revealing so having nude underwear on hand to wear with your white pants will definitely elevate your look.
- If you are prone to spills and stains, look for white pants that are stain resistant. Men’s pants have been made stain resistant, and now you can also purchase women’s white pants with a stain resistant finish. (Check out Chicos here for stain resistant jeans)
- As always, make sure your pants fit properly. No matter the color or fabrication, getting the right fit is always super important. If necessary, have a tailor make a few alterations to ensure the right fit.
- Make sure your pants are the right length for your body type. You don’t want your pants to drag on the ground and get dirty, nor do you want to wear that unflattering “peddle pusher” length- those don’t look good on anyone! Currently a cropped length just above the ankle bone is very popular, so if you want that casual type of look, look for a “cropped” style.
Shop the outfit above: Levi’s Weggie Jeans, Sezane Silk Blouse
Outfit below: Brooks Brother’s shirt and Levi’s Weggie Jeans
How to Care for White Pants
I avoided wearing white pants when my daughter was small, but made the useful discovered that baby wipes can work wonders on a fresh stain. Tide Sticks are also great to have on hand when wearing white as well. Rinsing and treating stains immediately is super important; the longer a stain sits on the fabric the greater the chance it will set in and become permanent. BONUS TIP: I don’t apply heat until the stain is completely gone, heat can set the stain so don’t put your item in the dryer or iron it until the stain is gone.
I rarely get stains on my white clothes, knock on wood! But when I do, it’s usually iced tea, ink or, in the old days a splash of red wine. To remove ice tea and wine, I rinse with water to remove as much of the stain as possible, then I soak the item in Oxy. I wash them in the washer, then check to make sure I got the stain out before drying. Small amounts of ink can be removed with hair spray. Makeup can be removed with Grandma’s Secret
Keeping your pants white:
Sometimes your whites need a good soak to remove yellowing or a dingy look. I found Restoration, a fabric cleaner and whitener, when I wanted to freshen antique fabrics without harming the fabric, and now use it anytime I want to freshen my white clothing. Its safe for silks as well, so it’s a great product to have on hand. I even saved a sweater with makeup on it using this product.
When all Else Fails
Every once in a while I’ve encountered a stain that doesn’t come out. If I really love the item, I consider adding an embellishment to cover the stain. I’ve added appliqués and embroidery, or interesting patches. I’ve turned favorite trousers into shorts and once even turned a pair of pants into a skirt—I loved the pants that much. If you really love the item, get creative, maybe dye it another color. I have a friend who frequently dyes her clothes when she gets tired of them or if they become a bid dingy. It’s not hard and can breathe new life into a piece you love.
Shoes to Wear
When choosing shoes to wear with white pants, consider where you are going and what you will be doing. Denim looks amazing with a pair of white sneakers for a casual day or a day you will be doing a lot of walking.
Cropped pants look great with a shoe with a high heal.
Consider a classic slide sandal for an easy casual look.
For winter, consider a grey or tan suede bootie or a classic pump.
I love the look of white pants with a warm caramel colored sandal, navy looks amazing, as does black. Don’t forget to consider white shoes; trainers–( a pair of sneakers) are all the rage these days as are white sandals.
What Can I Wear with White Linen Pants
Airy white linen pants look amazing with soft t-shirts, light cotton button down shirts. A silky camisole is also a beautiful choice. In transitional seasons, a light weight turtle neck sweater or a sweater set is also a beautiful option. “Grandpa” style cardigans can give your white pants a modern look and for the contemporary dressers among us, bright colors, patterns and florals are always in style.
Key in choosing a top for white linen pants is the silhouette, if the pants are slim fitting, you may want to add a blazer or a top that will add dimension where as if your pants are wide leg or trouser style, you will want a more figure hugging top.
What Kind of Tops go with White Pants?
Most tops will look great with white pants! Just keep in mind your own figure and the proportions of the over all outfit. You can enjoy boho, preppy, t-shirts, tank top blouses. Plus, don’t forget to add a “third piece” such as a blue or black blazer, cardigan, duster or kimono-this will make a really gorgeous look.
When styling winter white-which is usually a bit more cream colored than bright white–choose warm tones such as camel, beige or a soft grey sweater for the ideal winter white pants outfits.
Add a few fine necklaces, a hoop earring or a statement necklace to elevate your look.
How to Style High Rise Pants
High rise pants are all the rage this season, and I was first in line to order a pair! I did have to think a little as I styled them as we have been wearing lower rise pants for so long.
I discovered that they lend themselves beautifully to tucked in shirts, or shirts that ride just below the waist. Wrap tops and tops that tie at the waist give hourglass silhouettes lots of beautiful curves.
Short waisted girls may not love high rise looks, unfortunately, as they do require a fairly long torso to look proportional. Go for a mid rise if you want to get in on this look.
How should a woman over 50 style white linen pants?
Pants of all types can be worn by women over 50. Just follow the tips above and you won’t go wrong. Simply ensure you have the right fit, style, length. If you would like a classic look, go for a white denim and sweater set. If you are looking for a more elegant look, add a blazer over a simple t-shirt or choose a colorful duster or kimono to elongate the line of your body.
Paying attention to the length of your pants will also help create a chic look. If you are shorter, consider wearing long pants will help make you look taller. Cropped styles will shorten the line and give you a more casual, less elongated look. Straight leg pants also help elongate the line of your body.
As you can see, white pants offer so many great options for styling! This is why they are at the top of my list when I am putting outfits together all year around. Let me know your favorite way to style white pants, and which style you like wearing the most.
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