Wearing all black is essentially a cheat code for looking good. It’s very difficult to get wrong, which is probably why most men are more than happy to wear it. All white, on the other hand, is a little trickier to nail, and therefore tends to be avoided by all but the most confident and style-minded of men. But don’t write whitewashed looks off just yet.
All white outfits shouldn’t be treated as some sort of high-level sartorial witchcraft that may only be wielded by Northern Italian fashionistos, ageing Balearic nightclub owners, and the occasional cult leader. It’s not rocket science. You – yes, you – can pull it off too with the right know-how and a bit of styling inspiration. And you should, because not only does all white look great when done right, it’ll also keep you cooler in hot weather and can even highlight your tan or complement your skin tone.
To help you out, we’ve pulled together some key styling tips for making a no colour palette work for you. We’ve also highlighted 10 glowing examples of men’s all white outfits done right and the lessons you can learn from each one.
Consider Skin Tone
One great thing about white is that it tends to look good regardless of your complexion. If you’ve experimented with different coloured garments before then you’ll know there are certain colours that simply don’t suit you, and a lot of that is down to skin tone. With all white there is no such issue.
Sure, it can look better against darker or more tanned skin, and make those with very light skin look a tad washed out. However, on the whole, all white is pretty versatile and will suit a diverse range of complexions.
Take The Rough With The Smooth
When dealing with any colour-matched outfit, it’s important to still have some sort of contrast in play. Obviously, this can’t come via colour, so instead use textures to your advantage as a means of creating depth and focal points to lead the eye.
Thankfully, there are lots of tactile fabrics that look great in white. For summer, think linen, pique cotton, terry towelling and Tencel. For winter, think chunky knits, fleece, cashmere and corduroy. Mix these materials in with smoother-faced fabrics to bring your all-white looks to life.
What’s The Occasion?
It should go without saying, but setting matters a lot when it comes to any form of clothing. Particularly one as bold as all white. These are not the type of outfits to be rocking up at a funeral or a formal event in – for those sorts of situations, stick to muted, dark colours like navy, black and grey.
That’s not to say all white can’t look smart. White or off-white tailoring can look razor sharp when balanced out with casual pieces in tonal shades. But where all white really shines is in the casual, smart-casual and beachwear arenas. Think dates, nights out, beach bars and poolsides, depending on how it’s styled.
Fifty Shades of… White
As anyone who has ever tried to find matching paint for their kitchen walls will attest, there are many, many shades of white. When it comes to putting outfits together, you can and should use this to your advantage.
Mixing and matching various shades of white will keep your looks fresh and stop you from straying into Richard Branson territory. Along with texture, this is the best way to give your all-white outfits a bit of character and contrast, while retaining all of the benefits that all white has to offer.
10 All White Outfits For Men
Less Is More
We’ve talked about creating contrast via texture and tonal shades, but it’s not a prerequisite for nailing all white. This stripped-back all-white outfit proves this point by utilising just a T-shirt, a pair of jeans and a pair of trainers, all in the same shade of pure white. It’s clean, simple and perfect for summer weekends around town.
All-white outfits have their roots in sportswear and this athletic look plays up to that. The off-white tracksuit contrasts slightly with the white T-shirt to create depth and premium touches like the smart white leather sneakers help to make the overall look feel more ‘street style’ than ‘sports day’.
Big Jumper Energy
You’ve probably never thought of pairing a heavy-gauge knitted sweater with shorts, but it can work. The chunky knit of the jumper brings some texture to the table here and lends what would already be a pretty laid-back summer-evening look a further touch of nonchalance.
If you’re one of the many men who still view double denim as a style faux pas then hopefully this white jeans and jacket take on the Canadian tuxedo will convince you otherwise. At first glance, you wouldn’t notice it was double denim at all, but the texture is there, subtle as it may be. It’s a rugged take on what can at times feel like a rather ethereal colour scheme and is complemented perfectly by a subtly contrasting T-shirt and boots.
Laid Back In Linen
White and linen go together like strawberries and cream; each one perfectly complements the other. This outfit takes full advantage of that, using off-white linen pieces in relaxed cuts to anchor the look and adding contrast by way of some dark-brown deck shoes and a tonal T-shirt. It’s a laid-back ensemble that would be perfect for summer evenings.
There’s not much going on in this look, but that’s exactly what we like about it. The few garments that do feature feel upscale and premium, which makes the outfit feel smart and sharp without being in any way formal.
Spring Smart Casual
It’s easy to fall into the trap of viewing all white as a summer-only option. However, it’s also great for the transitional months too. Featuring a knitted polo, cropped dress pants and a light jacket, a look like this one is perfect for smart-casual dress codes in the springtime.
If you’re stuck for something to wear in the summer, you could do a lot worse than this. A spread-collar polo, white or cream denim and brown leather footwear form a warm-weather dream team that’s really difficult to beat.
You don’t have to make every garment a different shade to nail tonal dressing. Take this look, for example – there are just a few subtle hits of tonal colour. They’re barely there but they really help to bring an outfit to life.
There’s no getting away from it: all-white tailoring is an extremely bold look. It takes some serious confidence to pull off but it can be made slightly more accessible by introducing a tonal element. Here, the tailored jacket and pants are actually a subtle cream shade, while the T-shirt and sneakers are pure white. This dresses things down slightly and takes the edge off, creating a smart all-white look that most men style-conscious men could pull off.