How to wear white: 12 Style Panel tips for making summer’s most synonymous hue anything but boring
Much like a blank canvas, white fashions are the clean slate that every wardrobe needs. The versatility of the innocent hue lends itself to endless styling possibilities. With the no-white-post-labour-day rule behind us (how passé), we’re free to stock up on crisp white pieces for summer, fall and beyond.
Stars on and off the red carpet are choosing white as their colour of choice. The ongoing white trend can just as easily adopt a streamlined, clean-cut look with sharp tailoring, as it can a perfectly pretty one with embroidery and sheer silks. Whatever your flavour, the posh hue is the perfect choice for showing off some of your boldest accessories. Consider pairing your favourite whites with a fierce animal print bag as Beyoncé pulled off recently. In the jewellery department, try topping off a white frock with an edgy, head-turning necklace like Olivia Palermo. A bold lip can also make as strong a statement, with Karlie Kloss showing off the perfect red pout to avoid looking washed out by her all white red carpet getup.
Much like the stars they dress, A-list designers are showing their love for the always-in-style hue. To keep it fresh, Bottega Veneta combined white-on-white textures on its Spring 2013 runway. Chanel spiced up ensembles with pearl beads garnishing white pieces.
Still doubting the power of an all white palette? Fear not, because we’ve asked our style panel for tips on how to wear white.
Over My Styled Body’s Lyndsey Forest agrees that accessories are key to amp up a white ensemble. She also suggests trying an unusual hemline to keep your look fun. Alicia Fashionista’s Alicia Quan pairs her whites with edgier pieces such as a leather jacket to avoid a bride-to-be look. With Love Gabrielle’s Marta Tryshak thinks that white is easy and fabulous. She considers well-fitted white denim jeans a must-have and advises investing in a pair that can be worn well into the fall.
Or jump to: ALICIA QUAN, VANCOUVER | BARBARA ANN SOLOMON, TORONTO | BECKY KUNG, CALGARY | JACQUELYN SON, VANCOUVER | KAYLA SHORT, HALIFAX | KD FAUSTINO, CALGARY | LEAH GUST, TORONTO | LYNDSEY FOREST, CALGARY | MARTA TRYSHAK, TORONTO/MONTREAL | MO HANDAHU, HALIFAX | NICOLE WILSON, TORONTO | ZOE SMYTH, NEW YORK CITY
Zoe Smythe, 30
New York City | Zoe’s Fashion Feed
Summer whites are always right. I adore a crisp white shirt with shorts or a flawless white summer dress. My favourite this season is this long flowing wrap dress. There are so many brilliant ways to wear summer whites. Pair navy, red and gold with white for a charming nautical look. Get a vanilla vibe that is far from boring by mixing a variety of shades of white or accessorize with bright jewelry for a sunny summer look.
Zoe’s wearing: Lochness Dress, The Reformation. Tickled Pink Foundation Garment, Saxton Chayse. Woven Circle Pendant Necklace and Patterned Sweetgrass Bangles, Indego Africa. Bangles, thrifted. Bag, vintage.
Alicia Quan, 25
Vancouver | Alicia Fashionista
After stocking up on plenty of Tide To Go pens, I dove into the fresh, all-white trend that has been a favourite this year. Staying true to my style and what would be figure flattering, I settled on a beautifully detailed white frock instead of separates.
In order to steer away from bridal or just plain boring, I love to pair romantic summer whites with edgier pieces, such as a leather jacket and boots. I’m going to be sporting this all-white wonder at Osheaga (#RRRgirlCAN) in Montreal this weekend, and again at Vancouver’s Diner En Blanc. Pretty sure this one will prove to be one of my best investments this season!
Alicia’s wearing: Dress, RACHEL Rachel Roy. Jacket and booties, Zara. Rings, Pandora. Sunglasses, Main and 8th (Vancouver).
Lyndsey Forest, 23
Edmonton | Over My Styled Body
Some may think white is too simplistic to wear from head to toe, but its that simplicity that makes white such a huge statement to wear. If you are going to sport the white trend I suggest playing with white accessories to help amp up your look. You can also try sporting something with unexpected details, like an unusual hemline, to keep your look fresh and fun!
Lyndsey’s wearing: Skort, Zara. Tank, Urban Outfitters. Heels, Asos. Clutch, H&M. Necklace, J.Crew.
Kayla Short, 26
Halifax | Short Presents
White is a summer basic for sure, and although white lace dresses are hugely popular right now it can be daunting to know how to appropriately style your white frock. Until you’ve added accessories to your white ensemble it really is a blank canvas that could take on any form.
It’s what you pair with your white dress that will make you stand out, and so make sure to put some of your personality into the accessories you choose. I love adding a bold lip color, and a fun purse (like this clutch seen here), but really the possibilities are endless. Because I styled this outfit for day wear I decided to opt for a neutral shoe, but you could for sure play with different colors and/or prints for evening. Also if you read Style Panel last week you will have noted that this dress’s true uniqueness really is in the detailing on the back.
Kayla’s wearing: Dress, Funktional Venice via Shopbop. Bracelet, Short Presents Etsy Shoppe. Lipstain, Revlon Just Bitten in “Love Stick”. Shoes, Mudd via Kohls. Sunglasses, Joe Fresh. Clutch, Silver Daisy Boutique.
Mo Handahu, 29
Halifax | Lion Hunter
White presents the perfect backdrop for an accessory that demands a lot of attention. To perk up a white look that may at times seem boring, I chose my most favourite vintage Egyptian necklace and a pair of white and gold elephant earrings. The strappy sandals also give an element of chic to a very comfortable and effortless look.
Mo’s wearing: Pants and earrings, thrifted. Shoes, Shoe Dazzle. Tee, Walmart. Necklace, Vintage. Rings, H&M.
Leah Gust, 31
Toronto | Leah Says
White is so bright and fresh and feels light and breezy for the hot weather! This vintage dress is very quaintly girly so to update the look and make it feel a bit more contemporary I took inspiration from recent street style photos and wore contrasting under things to play up the feminine pattern of the dress by adding a hint of flesh. I love the idea of being traditionally girly with a clever, modern twist. Red lips and cat eyeliner round out this modern 50s look!
Jacquelyn Son, 21
Vancouver | Style Worthwhile
Wearing an all-white outfit is always a nice simple classic. Since it rains a lot in Vancouver, I don’t get to wear white pants very often – kicking up mud onto my legs isn’t fun. So, white pants in the summer is where it’s at! Here, I played up the mono-colour look by adding an unexpected leopard print.
Jacquelyn’s wearing: Denim jacket, Levi’s. Leopard bodysuit, Vedette Shapewear. High-waisted shorts, Zara.
Marta Tryshak, 24
Toronto/Montreal | With Love Gabrielle
Despite enjoying pops of color in my life, I still feel most confident and like myself in neutrals and pastels. White is always on top of the list, especially during the summer months. This season, the white on white combination is seen on every celeb and runway. Who can blame them?! It’s instantly chic and what woman doesn’t appreciate a look that is easy and fabulous. When pairing whites it is best to keep them similar in color although when properly matched various shades of white can look beautiful as well. A simple little white dress is an easy choice for every woman. Otherwise investing in a well-fitted pair of cropped white denim jeans is a must! The jeans are a great transition piece that can be worn well into the fall. Also when wearing white remember to avoid dark liquids as those tend to result is utter wardrobe disaster!
Marta’s wearing: Blouse, Vine. Jeans, 7 For All Mankind. Necklace, Olive + Piper. Purse, Marc Jacobs. Heels, Rosegold.
KD Faustino, 28
Calgary | The Girl With The Messy Hair
White is definitely a summer wear staple. To keep the look interesting, use bold accessories as it is a great contrast to the white or, if you are lucky, this built-in neck embellishment is a must for a fresh take on the typical white dress. Follow some trends too like lace, white suit or, in this case, the sheer and you’ll sure be white hot!
KD’s wearing: Dress, Zara. Aviators, Ray Ban. Watch, Michael Kors. Bracelets, ILY Couture and Sewsephine. Ring, Adorie Jewels.
Becky Kung, 30
Calgary | Velvet & Vino
White has certainly won my heart over lately, especially with its elusive presence appearing on the fashion runways across all seasons in the last few years. The rule of thumb for not wearing white past Labour day weekend no longer exists!
One of the exciting ways that I enjoy styling white this season is to jazz it up by matching white with bold prints and colors. A white top is the perfect way to neutralize the funky print and bold colors found in these floral-print pants. Paired together, these two are the perfect combination for enjoying a summer day in white!
Becky’s wearing: Pants, ARK Clothing. Top, So Nice (Taiwan). Pumps, Sam Moon. Clutch, Coach. Bracelet, H&M. Watch, Michael Kors. Headband, Aldo Accessories. Necklace, Forever 21.
Barbara Ann Solomon, 26
Toronto | Barbara Ann’s Style Blog
As a pale girl, wearing white has always been tricky for me, but there is nothing more elegant than a simple white summer dress. Wearing light colours in the summer usually are really flattering for most people, as they help create a glowing appearance by contrasting against your suntanned skin.
I think simple white dresses are summer essentials with so many different occasions to trade in you LBD for a LWD (little black dress for a little white dress). I love white lace as it’s super feminine. This pencil dress is the office version of summer lace, perfect to go from the desk to dinner, which is always a bonus. With a dress like this I try to keep the accessories simple and wear one bold-statement piece, like a wire collar.
Barbara Ann’s wearing: Dress, Maggy London. Collar, Topshop. Heels, Franco Sarto.
Nicole Wilson, 29
Toronto | Dainty Girl
Move over little black dress – the little white dress is a summer staple! I love bold colours and wild prints for summer, but every girl needs a fresh and simple white dress in their wardrobe. From super-feminine a-line frocks and bohemian tunics to modern sheaths and fitted body-con styles – there’s a little white dress for everyone.
Sometimes less is more when it comes to accessories. I let the dress do the talking with simple rose gold jewellery, a straw box clutch and light brown sandals, but the white dress is so versatile. Next time, I might try a statement necklace, a colourful clutch and playful wedge sandals.
With beachy waves and a pop of coral on my lips, I’m ready for a chic summer party! Which way to the Hamptons?!
Nicole’s wearing: Dress, Ann Taylor. Shoes and Watch, Michael Kors. Clutch, Tristan. Bracelets, Ellie Mae. Sunglasses, EDIT by Jeanne Beker.