Fashion legend (anything that happened more than 5 minutes ago) claims that online shopping killed white. Before you jump to the obvious conclusion that maxing out all our cards late at night on net-a-porter.com made us too poor to wear the fave hue of the rich and idle, think about any online shots you’ve ever seen of white clothes…….thinking? Yep, as a colour its online repro is rubbish. But, ‘death of white’ like most legends, is a combo of a little bit of truth and a whole of lot of complete nonsense. This summer white’s everywhere – proving conclusively that human beings have imagination and can work out what a plain, white shirt is going to look like without a detailed visual aid.
And ‘plain’ is pretty much the keyword when it comes to white (along with caution and detail).
THINK SHIFTS, NOT SACKS
Seems like a lot of fashion editors this year had a hall pass when it was being explained that ‘sack tied in the middle’ wasn’t a compliment. There are more all-white dresses around at the moment than you can shake a little sticky hand covered in chocolate at. But proceed with caution. There are also a lot of draw string waists and hips – unless you’re standing completely still with the Parthenon in the background and accessorising with Laurel Leaves, don’t! Same goes for the (admittedly not so many) super fitted white dresses around, can’t think what this would work for unless you’re the type of person who likes to upstage brides at weddings.
You want to go shift and then you kill two looks with one deft, seamless move: 60’s and white but you don’t look toga or too beachy and the mix of clean shape and colour balances out the perennial white problem of looking just a little bit try-too-hard.
Basic starter thought for me on this one goes to Cos (H & M’s less confused little sister). Simple, white cotton, just above the knee, straight A and understated panel detail in front.
Oh how I love me a sleeveless, totally plain white shirt in summer. Buttoned up it looks fresh and preppy, open it’s got that slightly NY street photographer thing going and no fussy sleeves so sits and stays cool under a cardi or blazer (just to protect from all that relentless UK sun obviously).
Basic starter here is Joseph’s pure white crepe de chine with shell buttons and sweet, raw sleeve edge.
NO NICE JEANS
That’s Nice the capital of the Côte d’Azur not nice the blah adjective and the place that springs straight into my mind when I think of white jeans. Don’t get me wrong, I like white jeans in principal and they pretty much say summer in all their many shapes and forms, but the one thing they should never say is ‘Hello, I spend all day walking along the Promenade des Anglais and I am never troubled by thinking’. Classic jean styling (doesn’t matter what fit you’re going for think detail) is essential. And toughen it up a bit with great statement shoes (think bold if you’re going for heels and cropped with some of this summer’s really cute white brogue styles).
Basic to think about is Michael Kors’ white skinny jeans from The Outnet, classic styling and Kors luxe.
DOWN TO DETAILS
Don’t do ruffles (even if you’re getting married don’t do ruffles). Exception is a single, asymmetric pleat on an otherwise impeccably plain Miu-Miu white, sleeveless shirt.
Statement white sandals like Sam Edelman, cork soled and silver heeled from coggles.com.
White toenails (go for bright white for a 60’s look with lightly tanned and perfectly smooth toes or opt for a pearly, blush white that’s just the right side of transparent).
And if you’re buying white online, use your imagination and get free return postage.
main photo c. Musee Louvre (detail)