White hot on the catwalks of (left to right): Calvin Klein, Cynthia Steffe, Derek Lam and Alexander Wang. Images courtesy of style.com.
I am currently on holiday in Europe and am obsessed with wearing white. Although it’s a tricky colour to pull off, it looks good on almost everyone (and looks even better with a tan!). It also keeps you cool, both literally and metaphorically, and is undeniably chic.
That being said, I have seen some disasters here so here are some tips to pulling off the look in the city, countryside or beach.
Try and experiment with…
A white shirt: Go for a structured button down, or a soft silk blouse paired with anything from jeans to cropped trousers. Choose styles with feminine details such as voluminous sleeves.
Capris: Think of Audrey Hepburn and her 1950s inspired look. Pair them with ballet flats and a lightweight cotton tee, and you’re all set. White denim also works but make sure you choose a lightweight denim that’s soft, not stiff.
A white blazer: A summer essential you can throw this over anything from a floral flirty maxi dress to a mini dress. A white suit or tuxedo is even better – it looks clean and cool (think Bianca Jagger).
Romantic pieces: Floaty white dresses accented with ruffles or lace brings to mind summer holidays on the French Rivera. Embroidery and crochet create a similar but more rustic vibe. Take a look at Dolce & Gabanna for examples.
Modern silhouettes: Change things up by choosing a futuristic white dress with a structured silhouette and clean lines. Brands such as Calvin Klein and Jil Sander do it best.
Sheer fabrics: Layer different textures for a modern look that’s not too fussy.
Gold accessories: It’s all about the Grecian look, so match your white ensemble with chunky gold jewellery such as bangles and earrings, and gold flats or wedges.
Pop of colour: A bright colour can be used as an accent – let’s say as a belt or handbag – for a preppy look.
Try to avoid…
My biggest pet peeve is seeing someone wearing white underwear under white clothing. Repeat after me…nude underwear only. It virtually disappears underneath and you get no visible lines. As white can be unforgiving on most figures, invest in a nude slip to wear underneath clingy fabrics such as jersey.
In terms of styles to avoid, top of the list are sheer white bottoms for obvious reasons. Maxi dresses are not flattering at the best of times, but an all white style will look like you’ve worn your nightie out (and they are not advisable for a wedding either – you will definitely not outshine the bride). Anything white with a fringe on it reminds me of cowgirls, or worse Jessica Simpson (yes, I have a thing about the way she dresses). I also hate white shoes paired with white clothing – the look was popular in the 1980s, need I say more?