While most people think about classic white jeans or airy sundresses for summer, I often go in a different direction. I love clothing that leans a little more structured (menswear-inspired, even) but still read fresh when in light shades. This year I landed on some outfit pieces like a cute vest, a boxy white shirt, and pants with a cargo vibe.
Menswear-Style & Summer Whites: A Try-On Sesh
Forever and ever I have wanted to find the right white jeans, soft summery pants and a matching vest. These pieces just feel exciting to me for warmer months, plus I love a chic, monochromatic look. But it’s been tricky to find white pieces that actually fit correctly or aren’t see-thru. If you have tried to find the same, you know. It is a struggle, fashion friends.
It’s sometimes tricky to organize a try-on session…what is the best way to unfold the story? I ask myself. Welp, sometimes it’s just easiest to tell you what I liked and didn’t like! It’s helpful to see both to kind of solidify my criteria and let you in my head (something I’m not naturally good at haha.)
As a reminder I’m 44, 5’4″ tall, 32DD bra size, size US 6 in most clothing, a 28 in jeans, and have a booty and thighs. I’m typically a little straighter through the waist, shorter in the upper torso and am only really petite sizing when it comes to inseam, which is approximately 27″ to my ankle.
If we have the same build, this can be helpful to see the pieces and my feedback, but I try to go into enough detail that if we are built differently you might find you love some of the pieces that didn’t work for me!
My Top 3 Menswear-Style Pieces: An Ivory Vest, Barrel Jeans & A Boxy White Shirt
I found several menswear-inspired items (all in shades of white and ivory) to try and discovered three favorites: an Alex Mill vest, Everlane utility barrel pants and a boxy cotton shirt. I added few others below that I tried, but personally wouldn’t put in my “keep pile.” Let’s get into it.
This Alex Mill vest is so soft. I needed to start off by saying that. SO soft! It’s composed of linen, Tencel and cotton, and I just want every other clothing item in this fabric, please. How cute this vest with jeans? Most size options are at Alex Mill’s site, but some sizes in ivory and khaki are also at Nordstrom.
Below you’ll see the full jeans look, but I wanted to show a vest close-up first. So cute with a neutral wedge heel (I’m partial to the leopard print). Just add more makeup and a bag, and it could easily do a summer date night. Plus it looks great with the Everlane Barrel Pants I’ll get more into in a minute, too.
Fit Notes: Wearing a M here, which is pretty much my size in non-stretch buttoned pieces like this. I tend to run wide through the ribcage.
I got these Barrel Pants recently when I was in NYC and got to go to the Everlane store for the first time. It was so great to see since I’ve been a fan for so long!
I wasn’t sure my shorter frame could wear these barrel pants, but my friend had some on recently and they looked so cute I wanted to try. I was so pleasantly surprised how stylish they are! They’re flattering and have a bit of a cargo vibe without all the pockets and tool loops. They’re modern and clean and have nice details like the mid-calf seam, too.
Fit Notes: I love that these barrel pants have stretch but are thick enough to lay nicely. I sized up to an 8 for the best fit (typically a 6 in pants.) I find I do need to size up often in white and light bottoms for a nicer, even look in the fabric.
This Box-Cut shirt is one of my new favorite tops. I love the boxy fit for breeziness and the crisp cotton fabric for a fresh, polished vibe. The sleeve length is perfect and it looks so cute buttoned all the way up.
Fit Notes: Stoked at the fact this top doesn’t gape at the buttons on me. I struggle with finding button-ups that fit me well but this one really does. Wearing a S.
The Box-Cut Top looks cute unbuttoned a bit, too, depending on the look I want that day. Such a great top that I’ll pair with jeans, shorts, pants and skirts for summer.
More Menswear-Inspired Pieces (Spoiler: I Didn’t Love These)
It’s easy to want to skip over the misses here in our posts and only talk about the wins, but it is helpful when you’re out there looking for clothes, and that’s what we’re here for. So, let’s get into some details on why these pants and top didn’t work for me.
What I like: I was so hopeful for these pants to be perfect so I could have a matching ‘suit’ with the vest. They’re the same insanely soft fabric but the pants are only one layer (the vest is double) so they don’t really match well. BUMMER. The fabric is SO good though that I did just order the navy.
What I don’t like: The sizing was mislabeled on the two pairs I received. Hopefully it was just a SNAFU, but the M was smaller than the S. I’m assuming the M was what I’d actually need, but, as sent, the S is what I’m wearing above. In any case, these pants are too see-through. Does anyone make comfy light white or ivory that you don’t see the pockets through? LMK.
What I Like: The DL1961 Hepburn jeans look super-cute online. I love the hem and they look great on Amy in a blue wash. So if you’re taller and slimmer through the booty and thighs, these might just be for you!
What I Don’t Like: Arg. This is the second pair of these DL1961 jeans I’ve tried, but they are not made for those of us with hips and thighs and a booty. Or those of us 5’4″ and under.
I had previously tried the 29 (these are the 30) and they were too tight to get on. I could size up even more, but then I’d most likely have to try to recreate the cool hemline myself since they’d be too long, and I don’t have the hours in the day for that commitment right now, friends. Even as a stylist and clothing reviewer as my job…haha.
3 | DL1961 Denim Vest
What I Like: Aaaand. Then there’s this DL1961 vest. It’s so cute in theory…and how adorable to have a matching vest and jeans?!
What I Don’t Like: But I am shorter in the upper torso and this vest sat way too low on me to wear with just a bra…the way I’d prefer to wear it. It’s also too tight and gaps at the buttons. Wearing a M here.
It is a cotton and linen blend, so it might stretch some with wear, but I’m not gonna put in the time for that discovery either. If you are taller and narrow through the ribcage this might be great on you!
Shop Menswear-Style Clothing In Ivory & White
Here are a few more pieces in addition to those above that have a similar vibe…structured and modern and a bit menswear-inspired (if anyone has a good single word/phrase for this style please let me know haha.)
Would love for you to say hi over on my Instagram @laurajansenstyle where there are mostly odes to snacks, OOTDs, travel and everyday mom-life-stuff in Portland, Oregon. xoxo