The question of how to wear white jeans is one that has a tendency to leave even style-savvy men experiencing a degree of uncertainty. On the surface, they’re a simple garment, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find plenty of scope for styling missteps.
White jeans may be difficult to nail but there can be huge sartorial payoffs when executed well. The problem is that there’s only a wafer-thin line separating ‘neatly tailored Northern-Italian elegance’ and ‘second-hand BMW dealer holidaying in Marbella’. It’s our job to ensure you don’t cross it.
Rule number one is confidence. White denim is a bold look and if you’re not 100% convinced it’s working for you then it probably isn’t. The secret lies in knowing what to pair it with for best results, leaving no room for mistakes.
It’s with that in mind that we’ve decided to arm you with a selection of tried-and-tested ways to wear white jeans. Here’s everything you need to know.
Unless you’re a keen tennis player, Richard Branson or the leathery-skinned, Montecristo-smoking proprietor of a Balearic nightclub, chances are ‘all-white everything’ isn’t one of your go-to looks. Smart move. However, where white denim is concerned, there is actually a case to be made for a sartorial whiteout.
It should first be noted that we use the term ‘whiteout’ loosely. That means thinking less about matching exact shades and more about working with a tonal palette. Think off-white, light beige, cream and the odd dark piece for contrast.
If you are going to introduce dark pieces, the best garments for the job are a T-shirt/knit/whatever you’re wearing under your summer jacket and footwear. Black is always a safe bet, although earthy tones like browns and greens work well too.
As An Anchor
There’s a reason blank canvases are white. White serves as an excellent backdrop. It highlights whatever is put in front of it, making things appear bolder, punchier and more attention-grabbing. This same logic can be applied when talking about styling.
Use a pair of white jeans as the simple foundation upon which to wear bolder colours, patterns and statement pieces. A printed shirt, textured jacket or your most eye-catching piece of outerwear.
Wearing white jeans in place of any other colour will really allow these sorts of pieces to take centre stage and shine. Just remember to keep everything else restrained too.
We tend to pigeonhole white as a warm-weather colour. This is likely to do with its heat-reflecting properties, its brightness and popularity among those who reside in sunnier climes. But white is just as well suited to autumn/winter wardrobes. Just as long as you’re not using the video for East 17’s ‘Stay Another Day’ as your point of reference.
White jeans just so happen to be the perfect complement to some of our favourite winter outerwear. Take the camel overcoat for example. This is a classic winter piece that looks good with most types of legwear, but there’s something about a hit of white that really sets it off.
The important thing to remember is to use layers and textures to create contrast and depth. Tonal looks can work as long as there’s sufficient balance between white and darker colours, and your top layer, in particular, should be in a contrasting shade.
That breezy but perfectly tailored Riviera look is something we at Ape are big fans of and it wouldn’t be possible without white legwear. That’s downstairs sorted, but what about your top half? The answer: separates.
Teaming a pair of crisp white slim-fit jeans with a blazer is nothing short of a sartorial power move. It somehow manages to look both nonchalant and razor-sharp all at once and is perfect for summery smart-casual occasions.
To pull it off, select a jacket in a nice light shade. An unstructured blazer in cream, light grey or beige would work perfectly. As for what to layer beneath it, either an Oxford shirt or polo (knitted or pique) is the obvious choice and as far as colour goes, you can either go tonal or pick a darker shade for contrast. Footwear-wise, a pair of loafers worn sockless will always be a winner.
Rocking a Canadian tuxedo isn’t one of the easiest style moves to master, and that’s putting it lightly. Still, double denim can be done and, when handled with care, has the potential to look great too.
There’s one golden rule to remember when styling double denim, and that is to create contrast between top and bottom. If your jeans and your shirt or jacket are the same shade, that’s when you’re in dangerous territory. This is where your white jeans come in.
Wearing white jeans affords you the freedom to pick any other shade of denim you please for your top half. The darker you go, the smarter it’ll look. However, be very careful if you’re planning to pair white jeans with raw denim as the indigo dye has a nasty habit of bleeding onto other garments.
If in doubt, earth tones. It’s a pretty reliable mantra to live by when it comes to styling your white jeans. Greens, browns and greys go perfectly with white, meaning you can pretty much do as you please within that colour palette.
This is a great everyday option as it requires little thought to get right. Simply pull your white jeans on and select some earthy layers to wear on top. For bonus points, introduce some texture. This could take the shape of a brown suede jacket of even some carefully placed corduroy.
In terms of footwear, you can either use a dark leather shoe to tie in with your upper half, or you could opt for some luxe white sneakers for something a little more relaxed.
Chances are, your go-to weekend jeans are blue or black. That’s absolutely fine, but having a white pair on standby allows you to kick things up a gear in the style stakes as and when you feel like it.
The good news is, white jeans are actually surprisingly easy to style as part of a casual outfit. Avoid going double white, but other than that anything goes in terms of colour.
One of our favourite pieces to wear with white denim for weekend duties is a cropped bomber jacket. It can be layered to cover a variety of seasons and dressed up or down easily by switching between a shirt, sweatshirt or T-shirt underneath.