How to Wear White Jeans with Style

June 15th, 2011

White jeans are super versatile – not only are they easy to pair with just about any color/pattern combination (because of their neutrality), they also have the unique property of looking pristine/”dressy” (because they’re white) and rugged/casual (because they’re denim) at the same time.

Although I could probably put together hundreds of outfits with these, here are three takes on white denim, each inspired by a different NYC neighborhood.

1. Lower East Side (Casual)

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Young. Relaxed. Expressive.

Pair them with a nautical striped tee or tank under a washed poplin for a summer look that keeps you looking and feeling cool.

Bonus Tip: Since they’re primarily a Spring/Summer jean (although I certainly wear mine in the F/W as well) it’s even more important that they be slim through the leg and hemmed with little break. Loose or long white jeans don’t work nearly as well.

Bonus Tip II: Denim stretches. I know, it sucks. I’ve had these for several years now, and just recently had them re-tailored  (taken-in at the waist and through the leg) because I’ve lost a little weight since my college bball days and they were all stretched out. Sometimes you have to bring pieces back to the tailor for a second nip and tuck as your body, or the garments, change shape.

Bonus Tip III: Looking for a pant to wear with those tough-to-match colorful shoes? Problem solved.

  • Blue stripe shirt by Steven Alan ·
  • Multicolored boat shoes by Sebago ·
  • Straw trilby hat by J. Crew ·
  • White denim jeans by Helmut Lang ·
  • Watch by Montblanc Timewalker ·
  • Nato Striped grosgrain watch strap by Corvus

2. Soho (In Between)

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Fashionable. Chic. Put-together.

In a laid-back office setting, you can likely throw on a chambray shirt + knit tie and have a Casual Friday outfit that can take you seamlessly from the office to the weekend.

Bonus Tip: Denim on denim, the clash-free way.

Bonus Tip II: Everybody is making white denim these days. You can find them for under $50 from brands like Levis, H&M or Urban Outfitters.

Bonus Tip III: In my opinion the mini tie bar (narrower than the tie) can look sightly more casual than the standard 2 incher, making it more appropriate for a laid back summer outfit sans jacket.

3. Upper East Side (Dressed Up)

Proper. Established. Sartorial.

Yes, they can be dressed up too! Just make sure their silhouette is similar to trousers (and therefore congruent with your jackets) and start by pairing them with traditional items in a neutral palette (blue/white banker stripe shirt, grey lightweight jacket, navy knit tie, brown loafers, etc).

Bonus Tip: Another bonus of white denim is that they can either be a blank canvas to let something else stand out (like the shoes in look 1) or they can be the item that adds an accent themselves, like here in look 3.

  • Navy stripe shirt by Polo Ralph Lauren ·
  • White denim jeans by Helmut Lang ·
  • Watch by Montblanc Timewalker ·
  • Leather/suede double monkstrap shoes by Scarpe di Bianco ·
  • Black alligator belt and silver buckle by Ralph Lauren Purple Label ·
  • Black alligator watch band by Montblanc

Thanks for reading.

Yours in style,

Dan Trepanier

Photography by Brent Eysler. 

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