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Wearing white is a rite of summer

| Thursday, June 19, 2014, 8:55 p.m.

It's the perfect time of year to wear white — from head to toe.

“I think all white gives off a chic, polished look,” says Allure magazine accessories director Nicole Chapoteau. “If you can only buy one white item this summer, it should definitely be a shirt dress in a crisp, poplin fabric. It's a clean style that you can find in all silhouettes to flatter every body type, from A-line to tunic style.”

The little white dress replaces the little black one when the weather heats up, says Marissa Rubin, senior market editor for People StyleWatch.

“For me, a white dress is perfect,” Rubin says. “It's so easy. ... White is so bright and crisp and clean. An all-white outfit is definitely OK. It's a great look.”

If wearing white head-to-toe doesn't fit your style, then add a white accessory such as a great handbag, shoes or piece of jewelry, Rubin says.

Another route to go is white denim or a white blazer, she says.

“White denim is a wardrobe staple, an essential item in a woman's closet,” Rubin says. “And a white blazer adds a nice polish to an outfit. White just goes with summer.”

There is only one setback to wearing this hue.

“The biggest problem with white is it gets dirty quickly, so you have to be careful where you wear it,” she says. “Know your plan for the day.”

White is the perfect neutral, says Gregg Andrews, Nordstrom fashion director. It goes with everything.

“Wearing white conveys this sense of luxury, because white is so pristine,” Andrews says. “But you need to keep it looking that way because when white gets dirty or faded, it doesn't look good.”

If you choose the head-to-toe white look, add contrasting accessories such as shoes or jewelry, even a belt.

All white is on trend this summer, says Lindsay Huggins, senior fashion market editor from Self magazine.

“I like to call the look ‘white heat,' ” she says. “Nothing is more sleek, chic and sophisticated than an all-white ensemble with metallic accessories. It's effortlessly chic.”

A white shift dress is a timeless, classic investment and you'll stay cool, Huggins says. A modern way to wear white pieces is with color-blocked items. It could be a color-blocked blazer, tote, oversized clutch or heel. Something that's very art-deco-inspired looks great paired with white, Huggins says.

The head-to-toe white look is “having a moment,” says Hayley Phelan, fashion features editor for Lucky magazine.

“It is fun and fresh and the perfect alternative to all black,” Phelan says. “It can flatter and is versatile and can be worn no matter your style. My philosophy with all white is wear whatever floats your boat. You may want to have a hint of color somewhere in the outfit, from shoes to a red lip.”

When wearing white, make sure the garment isn't see-through, Phelan says.

“That can be an issue with some dresses,” Phelan says. “Especially in daylight when the sun is shining. So you have to definitely keep that in mind.”

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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