White denim brightens summer and shifts into fall

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Thursday, July 18, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

Denim doesn't have to be blue.

White jeans look sharp and are a summer must-have. They also can be worn past Labor Day, stylists say.

“White jeans are perennially classic, and I think every woman should have a pair in her summer wardrobe,” says Gregg Andrews, Nordstrom fashion director. “In your summer wardrobe, white will go with pretty much everything. You can wear white on white and white with neon and, of course, with a nautical-inspired striped shirt.”

Andrews says a skinny pair of white jeans is on trend this summer. And it's OK if they are cropped.

If you choose to wear them into fall, be careful of what you pair with them, Andrews says. Don't put on a chunky sweater with white jeans. A nice combination would be a white jean, black leather jacket and black booties. Denim and leather just feel very natural together. That look also plays into all the black-and-white combinations we will see this fall, Andrews says.

Jeans are versatile regardless of color, Andrews says. You need to buy a pair that you can wear with both flats and heels. And for summer, they should be white-white, not off-white.

You also need to try them on to see how much of contrast there is between the pants and your skin, Andrews says.

White denim isn't just for wearing on the sailboat, he says. It is a great way to color block and can be worn to the office or on the weekend.

White jeans have a shorter life than dark denim, so you might need to buy a new pair every summer. If you have an old pair that have been stained or ripped, cut them off and make shorts out them, Andrews says.

Denim is versatile and has become such a wardrobe staple, says Natasha Pace, Zappos.com trend manager. Switching and lightening your denim for warmer months makes you feel more summery and gives you a lot of options for outfits each season.

Pace says if you plan to wear these jeans into fall, go with something such as optic white, white leather, novelty white wovens and lots of gold hardware. Or choose a light beige or ecru tone.

“My three favorite options to pair with white jeans are halters, crisp, structured tees and colorful tunics,” Pace says. “Halters that are brightly colored or metallic just lend this really sexy vibe for the night. Structured tees give that sporty no-nonsense, extra-clean look. And the tunic (with a mai tai) just completes the ladies-who-lunch, Jackie-O look.”

In footwear, Pace says a sporty, classic Keds sneaker, bejeweled flat sandal or wedge are perfect complements.

White jeans embody summer with the crisp, clean look they give when worn with high-contrast color, paired with neutrals, or even an all-white look, says Sher Canada, Chico's style expert. White jeans work with everything, she says.

“Black and white is a huge trend right now,” Canada says. “Chambray and denim shirts are also spectacular with white jeans. If you are one of those girls that does not think that white jeans are figure flattering, buy a slim pair and wear it with one of the other big trends — the big shirt. Totally amazing and trend right.”

White jeans can take a woman from desk to dinner, says Josh Saterman, Macy's fashion director.

“If she wants to add a little sexy to the look, find a great boyfriend-fit or skinny-fit with some distress or abrasion,” he says. “Subtle can go a long way but adds a little lift to make this look fresh. Throw on a blazer and V-neck tee, and you're on your way.”

There are no rules. White looks good in the fall, Saterman says. He likes the shift from stark white into the ivories and bones and suggests wearing boots with this look.

“With a summer white jean, a sandal always looks fun, Saterman says. “The options within sandals are endless. We love the blazer with a fashion layering knit tee or embellished top. This completes your day-into-night look. We also love the idea of the new peasant blouse. ... (which) adds evolution to this look.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at jharrop@tribweb.com or 412-320-7889.

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