Introducing summer's coolest denim update
White jeans have a bit of a tough gig over the years – incompatible with rosé, grass and, well, anything colourful that may transfer – thankfully, this one-time holiday wardrobe staple is back in a cooler new guise. Re-emerging during the demise of skinny silhouettes and the dawn of relaxed retro fits, white jeans have shaken off their high-maintenance connotations and are embracing a rebellious spirit.
A quick fashion history lesson on white denim tells us that their very beginnings were born of a rebellion: ‘In the 50s and 60s, many schools prohibited blue jeans, deeming them too casual for the classroom,’ Levi Strauss & Co. historian Tracey Panek recently told the Wall Street Journal. ‘Students found a way around the ban by bleaching their jeans white.’ Cue the launch of Levi’s first-ever white jeans.
Nowadays, think less ‘sexy mum’, more Scandi-blogger, and seek out roomy fits and distressed details. The key to nailing a modern version also involves veering away from Colgate-esque, socket-scorching whites and opting for creamier versions. From raw hems, slouchy dungarees, awkward (in a good way) lengths, flares and office-appropriate culottes, there are many options available right now – almost overwhelming so. Before we plundered every corner of the high street, we called upon the advice of jean geniuses Chloe Lonsdale of M.i.h Jeans, and Donna Ida Thornton.
‘I prefer white denim to be textured and authentic,’ Chloe told us. As such, she and her design team created a dreamy new capsule collection for summer 2016, filled with non-stretch, off-white denims and the perfect pair of high-rise, straight-cut cropped jeans with some subtle and natural-looking rips.
‘Cropped and high rise is definitely the way to go with white denims, so we’ve done our cool, cropped slim leg, the Niki, in a white denim with a bit of stretch. It’s the perfect vintage high rise fit.’ Other highlights from MiH this season include the white ‘Marrakesh’ flare which has received a Vetements-style makeover with a new step-cut hem.
Donna’s shopping advice is super-useful: ‘Look for a good weight of denim, you don’t want it to be too thin because you can actually see through it, and you don’t want it to be too thick either because it will be quite hot. Normally, with black or dark indigo jeans I would say to go as tight as you can because you will probably wear them a few times before you wash them, but with white jeans you will probably wash them every time so just go for a nice fit, and don’t forget about wearing nude underwear.’
So, relinquish your grass stain anxiety and make like Prince William – for those who missed it the Duke of Cambridge recently threw caution to the wind and partook in a spot of al fresco yoga in his white jeans on a polo lawn. Embrace your inner rebel because this time around white looks better the worse you behave.
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So there you have it; bonne chance with your new white denim – and steer clear of the rosé.