Even just thinking about shopping for white jeans can be daunting. There are so many different cuts, washes, shapes, and sizes, you can literally spend weeks in the dressing room and end up with 15 perfect pairs... or none at all. For such a versatile piece of clothing, they can be incredibly frustrating.
Luckily, the hardest part is picking out a pair you love. Once you've found them, the styling couldn't be easier — white jeans are an easy, goes-with-everything option that make for a great everyday (and every night) uniform. You can dress them up for a night out, dress them down for a day of shopping and/or drinking rose, or go barefoot and roll them up at the ankles for a sunset walk on the beach.
And the best reason to embrace white denim this year? Like most fashion "rules," the "don't wear white after labor day" mantra meant to be broken. White jeans are now acceptable all year round, and in pretty much every social situation (save for a black tie wedding) which makes investing in a pair exponentially more justifiable, and pretty much necessary.
Here are seven things to take into consideration when picking out your white denim — just in time for summer!
J.Crew Toothpick Jean in Ecru, $115, JCrew.com
Believe it or not, "white" jeans actually come in a lot of different colors (What can I say? We live in a crazy world.) There's pure white, which is the easiest to keep clean (thanks, bleach), but there are shades of cream and beige that serve the same function.
Cheap Monday High-Flare Spray, $75, Revolve.com
White jeans can be worn pretty much anywhere — they're seemingly considered more formal than regular blue jeans, so can easily be dressed up or dressed down. If you're looking for something you can wear in every summer situation, opt for a pair without rips or extravagant detailing that you can use to create outfits to go everywhere from the nightclub to the country club. A close-fitting cut, like a skinny or straight leg, or a flared ankle, tend to be considered more sophisticated.
Plus Sized Refuge Skinny Boyfriend Jeans, $39.90, CharlotteRusse.com
There's nothing worse than putting on a new pair of new white jeans and realizing your black thong is fully visible... after you've walked out the door. When choosing your summer whites, check out how visible the front pockets are through the denim. If you can see them, even just a little bit, you may want to go for a thicker material.
Citizens of Humanity Dylan Boyfriend Jean, $93.97, Nordstromrack.com
White jeans are so versatile, one pair is never really enough. Luckily, like blue jeans, they come in zillions of different styles. If you're looking for something more casual, a distressed white boyfriend jean is great to throw on during the day with a bikini top and flip flops, or at night with strappy sandals and a silky camisole. High-waisted flares offer a more formal, nautical vibe (and make you look extra tall, especially paired with heels) and skinny jeans work with pretty much anything, day or night.
Zara Ripped Mid-Rise Jeans, $39.90, Zara.com
Stretchy white jeans are an easy summer alternative to the black leggings we wear all winter (mine have become the bottom half of my summer weekend travel uniform), but beware of too much stretch. The last thing you want are saggy, baggy jean knees!
To help with the stretch factor, take into account the type of fabric your denim is made up of. Cotton jeans tend to stretch out the most, and don't shrink back to their regular shape (no matter how many times you wash them) because they have very little elasticity, so look for something with elastane or lycra instead. When you wash your jeans, use a cooler wash and tumble dry to help maintain the elasticity in the fabric. Wash your jeans as infrequently as possible... which, if your anything like me, means opting for clear cocktails instead of red wine and hoping for the best.
6. Pocket Placement
Gap STRETCH 1969 True Skinny Ankle Jeans, $69.95, Gap.com
This is true for all denim — black, blue, white or any other crazy color — but pocket placement is critical to the fit of a pair of jeans. The bottom point of the pocket should fall where your hamstring meets your butt, and the smaller the pocket the bigger it will make your butt look (which I think is a good thing!).
Moto White Raw Hem Jamie Jeans, $74, Topshop.com
Not only are too-tight white jeans uncomfortable, but because of their light color they tend to show off everything underneath them (underwear lines, in particular). To err on the side of caution, go up a size from what you're used to so you don't feel over-exposed.
Images: The Blonde's Couture; Courtesy of brands