I’m going out on a limb here, not being born-and-bred New Englander, but I’m willing to bet that white jeans are the cornerstone of any prep enthusiast’s wardrobe. I mean….for the preppy devotees, there are so many possibilities: Navy! Gingham! Chunky cable-knit sweaters and loafers! Lilly Pulitzer prints!
All of which – don’t get me wrong – are great. And as I type this, I’m making a mental note: Find Self a Chunky Cable Knit Sweater. (This is on my list every year, FYI. Hard to find a good one, it seems.) But other than the odd piece or two, head-to-toe preppy isn’t really my thing. And since I already dabble in gingham and chunky cable knits….white jeans often push me over the edge.
First of all, the white jean thing almost feels too fancy for my taste. No, not fancy. Too….put together. Too…polished – yes! They’re much too polished for my slightly messy style.
Distressed white jeans are the obvious answer here. But finding a pair with the right amount of distressing – too little gets lost, too much it feels like I’m trying reallllly hard to Make A Statement In MAH WHITE PANTS (you gotta say that last part in a booming voice while swaggering around the kitchen) – it’s tricky. Piling on (since we’re going for gold #always), I also want MAH WHITE PANTS (cue booming voice and swagger) to have a slightly looser fit because, white, but also….wait for it….a flattering rear view.
So. To recap: loose-ish jeans, nice bum, just-right distressing. In white. No problem, right???
It should surprise no one that I haven’t been wearing a ton of white denim….until recently. If you follow me on IG (@shanachristine) you may have noticed that a certain pair of white jeans have made it into my wardrobe rotation. Rag and Bone, my longtime favs, came out with a pair of Dre’s….in white.
Let’s talk about Dre’s for a second. Rag and Bone Dre’s are one of TME readers’ most favorite pair of jeans. They’re called “girlfriend jeans” because they are reminiscent of boyfriend jeans, yet are cut slimmer, making them more flattering, and easy to wear.
They’ve got that loose-ish + good bum thing down.
Further more, this particular pair of white denim has distressing on each knee (one side more than the other), and a raw step-hem. The result is a pair of white jeans that are ever-so-slightly edgy, and completely on-trend.
I will likely take the step-hem up an inch….once I gather my courage. (And find the scissors.) When I do, I’ll do a FB live or live IG story or something – I’ve gotten so many questions about how I hack off my jeans.
White Jeans, White Graphic Tee, Done
So. How am I wearing these bad boys? With a graphic tee. I especially love when the graphic tee is white, so you can capitalize on the monochromatic thing (it makes such a big impact), yet the graphic keeps the vibe casual and irreverent.
Nude sandals don’t distract from the monochromatic theme, and a quirky bag never hurts. (I’d also wear this with my taupe Minkoff backpack.)
tee // by And Finally Bruce Springsteen Graphic Tee (now 40% off!)
shoes // Splendid ‘Mason’ Sandal
My Four Favorite Ways To Wear White Jeans
In addition to the white graphic tee, I have three other go-to formulas when it comes to styling white jeans (especially distressed white jeans).
Timeless (Add a Black Top)
There’s something about this combo that’s timeless and chic. Add giant sunglasses and nude shoes to keep the vibe modern (less matchy-matchy). I love a textured bag (like straw) to warm it up, with bold earrings.
For Fall: Swap out the pretty blouse for a black turtleneck sweater, and the nude heels for nude booties.
Edgy Monochrome (White Graphic Tee)
I’ve already talked about this ad nauseam, but this combo is still my favorite. If you don’t have nude sandals (which I reallllly love with this look), you can do black, but either look for a white graphic tee with enough color to feel cohesive, or find really minimalist black sandals. (Black slides would be really cute, actually.)
For Fall: Add a trench coat. Done.
featured items: tee | jeans | backpack | shoes
Nonchalant French Girl (Striped Sweater)
Don’t be afraid to mix tones – it’s the French-girl’s version of monochrome. The stripes add a dark element that is perfectly grounded by chic black booties. This one comes across a bit rocker in person, even with a floral clutch (you can see a version on my IG)…..
For Fall: This outfit was made for a black leather jacket….or even a denim jacket!
Rock Chick (Dark Graphic Tee)
The advantage here is that the darker colors in the tee support other shoe choices. Nude sandals would still look amazing, but you can pair this combo with black booties (to dress it up), or sneakers of your choice. And a backpack, always.
For Fall: One can always stick a cool jacket on top….but if it were me, I’d add a long-sleeve tee underneath (as a nod to the 90’s), and use a giant scarf to finish the look.
So that’s how I’m styling my whites! What do you guys do? Do you love the polished look, or are you always looking for ways to mess things up a bit? Feel free to share some styling notes in the comments – they’re always so insanely helpful.
A huge thank you to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post! As you are probably well aware, I could talk denim all. day. long. As always, all thoughts, opinions, and product choices are my own. And readers, thank you for your continued support. It doesn’t go unnoticed, and is so very much appreciated.