So you’ve heard that white denim is reserved for the fashion forward likes of Justin Bieber, Wham! and overweight middle-aged men on their summer holidays? Think again. This conclusive guide will show you how to style white denim as well as some outfit ideas to have you looking incredibly chic, and not in the least bit shabby.
Men’s white jeans have, for the better part of the 20th century, been blue denim’s unfortunate younger brother; sitting slightly in the shadows, catastrophically styled and consequently resigned to the depths of your wardrobe. But this Spring, dig out said unwanted denim, quickly sponge off the inevitable dust marks and read on to discover how a slim pair of white denim jeans or a beaten-up white denim jacket can make you look more Steve McQueen than Euro-trash.
The possibilities seemingly appear difficult as the pristine nature of the denim requires careful attention and a wariness of any whiff of tomato-based foods. Because of it’s need for perfection, white denim tends to be associated with a high maintenance attitude of men’s style, both in terms of style and physical appearance. But what goes well with white jeans? In reality, white denim offers the most versatile of canvas’s to anyone willing to give it a try. And anyway; a little dirt never hurt no-body, right?!
Check out this video from ultra-cool NYC based fashion fanatic Tim Bryant showcasing some ideas for outfits with white jeans for men, so you can look super cool this season.
Caring for White Denim
The first rule of white denim jeans is, please – nothing too tight. White is a notoriously unforgiving colour, so it’s best stick to a slim leg rather than a calf-hugging style. The second rule is to not worry about the denim getting a bit mussed up, however, we should try to keep our whites as white as possible.
First lesson in Mum’s washing guide home 101: always separate your colours from your whites. However, you do need to be careful when washing said denim wether it be jeans or a jacket. The ideal reality with a pair of denim trousers is not to wash them at all, that way they maintain the shape that you want them to – except we all know this is pretty unavoidable with white denim.
Eat, sleep, rave, repeat in your white denim and, if you do happen to rave a little too hard, dab any marks with warm soapy water. If this doesn’t do the trick then throw your jeans into the wash with a little dash of Vanish or the likes.
Air dry your denim after washing and spend the next few weeks doing star jumps and squats in your jeans to get them back into shape. If you’re a real denim junkie, put on when wet and mould to your body.
What to Wear with White Denim
So emergency scenarios accounted for, now you need to know how to style your white denim and what to wear with white jeans on men. Are you rock god and fancy a leather jacket/boots combo? Or are you more Riviera holiday style and prefer a button-down shirt and boat shoes look? Even still, are you brave enough to rock the double denim tuxedo? Read on to find the best white jeans for men and how to style your denim for every occasion including:
- For Work
- For Drinks with Friends
- For a Festival
- On Holiday
- At the Beach
- On a Date
- For a Picnic
- For a Night-out
- For a Summer Sporting Event
- In The Rain
A pair of white slim fit jeans are the easiest and fastest way to update a Spring work look. You won’t have to invest in anything else as the jeans will go with almost everything you already own. Keep the look more office than picnic with a button-down Oxford shirt and the palest of lace-up brogues and feel easy-breezy in your super chic get-up.
Drinks With Friends
Now with your mates, you don’t want to try anything too daring and you’re, most likely, not trying to impress anyone. They might love you, you but they sure as hell won’t hold back on the insults if you try anything wildly new. Opt for a slightly baggier slim white jean which is ideal for hazy Spring evenings spent in beer gardens.
Pair with a smart polo shirt and a casual boat shoes and your look will take you straight from the office into the pub. Just mind those outdoor chairs – the last thing you want is a lovely moss-green stain on the seat of your brand spanking new pair of jeans.
Now many of you may be slightly bemused at the suggestion of rocking white denim at a festival. And yes, I agree, this challenge isn’t for the faint of fashion heart. However, if you are willing to let your denim get a bit down and dirty, then they can look extremely bad ass.
Wear regular jeans on your lower half, opting for a white jeans outfit is just asking for a disaster. I suggest throwing on a white denim jacket over a pair of vintage ripped jeans and of course, finished off with the obligatory pair of sturdy boots. Rave glasses, bucket hat and layers of beads optional.
This is when you can style your white jeans to look as Riviera as you like. But it can also be a danger zone for over styling and fashion faux-pas. Avoid looking too dad-on-holiday by keeping it casual in a stripey tee and classic wayfarer sunglasses and go bare foot on the beach at sundown as you sip on an ice cold beer.
Try and make sure your denim is lightweight and thin rather than the heavier type, otherwise you’ll be incredibly uncomfortable in that warm continental heat. Be wary of white jeans and the inevitable sunburn, the brightness of the denim against your lobster-red ankles is just a bit too much.
At the Beach
So you’ve mastered the art of avoiding the dad-like aesthetic, but you’re wondering how to go about wearing white denim on the beach? White shorts are you’re best bet here – perhaps more suited if you’re one for a sun-lounger and table service rather than a towel and a couple of cans.
The easiest way, however, is simply stuff a lightweight denim jacket in your rucksack for the walk home as the sun goes down. You’ll be grateful of the warmth and will look a hell of a lot cooler than your mates who are wrapping their damp towels round their shoulders.
So in your haste to rush out the door to your date, it is quite easy to throw on the same old outfit that you know looks ok but isn’t all that exciting. Why not try something a bit different and, instead of automatically grabbing your blue denim jacket, pick up your white one.
Wear with black jeans and navy shoes and it can smarten up an outfit in seconds. It also means you then have a jacket to throw over the shoulders of your date, should they inevitably feel the cold at the end of the evening – you can thank us later.
So if a festival was a little too messy for you, then a picnic will certainly be too far. Food everywhere, sitting on the grass, probably an animal of sorts or a friend who is just as bad. The hazard potential for that precious white denim is off the scale.
The trick? Wear an imitation white denim shirt buttoned all the way up to stay fresh in the face of melting chocolate and dripping ketchup. Teem with a comfy pair of dark shorts and slip on trainers to leave you free to enjoy the picnic, rather than feeling any sense of panic.
So the appropriate clothing for a night on the town depends entirely on where you’re headed. If you prefer to stay near the classier end of town, why not try the top-to-toe white denim ensemble, complete with button-down shirt and smart shoes?
Cue images of rooftop bars and swanky beer gardens. If, however, your preferred hang-outs are the more grimy establishments, potentially leave the jeans at home and just take the jacket. Drink splashes up the front of a white pair of jeans has never been a good look.
A Summer Sporting Event
Smarten up your denim for a strict dress code by finding a style that is more cotton trouser than thick jean to avoid the scrutiny at the entrance. Wear with a tailored blazer, loafers and an air of nonchalance that challenges anyone to question your attire. A pocket square and watch simply add to the aura whilst an enviable pair of sunglasses will maintain your (fake) celebrity-like status.
In The Rain
When the inevitable happens in an English summer, do not pack away your white denim in an angry fit of eternal gloom – for rain does not always have to mean you should bear your darkest colours. Indeed summer showers are often nothing more than a quick soaking, followed swiftly by brilliant sunshine.
All you need to be armed with is a fold-up umbrella and/or brightly coloured cap and a good number of doorways along your route (should you need to duck inside one to protect your pristine jeans). Choose a pair of jeans that hang heavier than most to keep you dry and avoid the damp-trouser-sticking-to-upper-thigh situation.
What to Avoid
There are a few definite and resounding no’s when it comes to styling white denim. Try to avoid wearing it with a fresh spray tan… cue a slightly TOWIE-esque vibe and orange stains all over your clean washing.
Avoid jeans that are particularly tight. It’s too much at the best of times and with white denim, well – I’ll leave that up to your imagination. Needless to say, you’ll find yourself with plenty of space to move around on the tube but potentially no mates to grab a drink with.
And finally, it’s usually considered best practice to avoid double denim, this stands even more so for white denim. Option for a head-to-toe carte blance aesthetic will definitely overdo things and leave you resembling a Lake Garda wannabe – not a good look.
How To Wear White Denim
- Don’t choose anything too tight fitting, white doesn’t leave much to the imagination.
- Don’t be worried about your whites getting too scuffed – live a little.
- Always wash your whites separately – but we don’t need to tell you that.
- Avoid white denim with a spray tan, nobody wants to look TOWIE inspired.
- Double denim is a BIG no-no when it comes to an all-white look.
On That Note
Now that you know the dos and don’ts of wearing white denim, hopefully you’ve come to the conclusion that actually it is far more versatile than you originally thought. Of course it comes with its pitfalls and warning messages but it also looks just as good slightly rough around the edges as it does perfectly pristine.
McQueen knew what he was doing when he covered his white jeans in paint splatters. Sometimes you’ve got to be bad to be good and white denim just might help you figure that out.