On The Runway
Though a mix of stark white hues suit the spring and summer months best, we actually found inspiration for today's story in Acne's Pre-Fall 12 collection-revealing this trend's year-round appeal. For the collection, designer Jonny Johansson channeled rebellious youth during the MTV era (a.k.a. the early '90s, when the music channel was in its initial heyday), showing looks with all-weather leather, midriff-baring tops, and sheer panels. For the collection's single white-on-white ensemble, Johansson expertly teamed the boxy Alaine XXL Jacket ($2300) with the Jami Poplin Shirt ($320), Roxy Short Skirt ($290) and Parker Plastic Boots ($1300). The mix of proportions and materials (leather, cotton, and Lucite) help break up the crisp monochromatic color palette, giving the overall outfit its visually interesting and modern look.
On The Streets and At Events/Simple and Chic
Mixed whites are quickly catching on off the runways too-just look at the outfit Ashley Olsen constructed while out in Beverly Hills last month, for example. The fashion mogul created a relaxed weekend look by styling an oversized, cream Celine sleeveless knit sweater over a linen skirt by The Row. While we obviously adore Olsen's easygoing take on the trend, we're also partial to Chloe Sevigny's borrowed-from-the-boys styling. The actress turned up at the New Museum's spring gala in New York two months ago wearing BLK DNM's Blazer 6 ($600, 212.966.6258) and Pant 6 ($170, 212.966.6258) in Milk, plus the Shirt 28 ($190, 212.966.6258) in White with an Olympia Le-Tan book clutch (find similar styles here). We love how the on-point blend of white hues lends the sophisticated, menswear-inspired separates a decidedly feminine feel. Additionally, we're quite smitten with the outfit Natascha Elisa of In Search of Sadie assembled on Stockholm StreetStyle recently. The fashionable femme created a nuanced look by simply styling an embellished white button-up by Funktional with Isabel Marant cuffed white jeans. This fuss-free combo can easily take you from the office to happy hour with friends, and happens to be the perfect canvas for adding bright accessories, like her multicolored clutch.
On The Streets and At Events/Effortlessly Layered
Another option for addressing this one-hued trend is to go for multiple, lightweight layers in varied shades of white-a chic outfit suggestion that works well for chilly afternoons. Jessica Alba pulled off this particular look with ease while out in New York City last month, when she paired Joie's Bronx Suede Elbow Patch Sweater ($125) in Mushroom with a white button-up and Brunello Cucinelli cuffed trousers. Adding even more white to her ensemble, Alba accessorized with Tory Burch's Walking Fedora ($87.50), Proenza Schouler's PS1 Lux Leather Pouch Bag ($1325), and Casedei's Blade Wedges ($750) for a flawless finish. Model/blogger Hanneli Mustaparta also made our mixed whites best-dressed list, thanks to her seamless blend of off-white hues and interesting textures at the Jeremy Laing F/W 12 show during NYFW back in February. Consisting of Tibi's Leather Fencing Coat ($1390, 212.226.5852) paired with a Ralph Lauren knit sweater, Rag & Bone's The Skinny Cords ($88) in Winter White, and a metal Proenza Schouler necklace, the style savant's front-row ensemble was anything but vanilla.
We recently read that more shades of white are available commercially than any other color, which means stocking up on a slew of stylish pieces to suit today's monochromatic look should be a breeze. If Olsen's casual weekend ensemble resonated with you, pick up a lightweight tank dress, like T by Alexander Wang's Cami Tank Dress ($97), and throw on a relaxed knit in an off-white color; in this case, we suggest Baserange's Long Sleeve Crewneck Sweater ($82). Fancy yourself a pair of white jeans? A summer wardrobe isn't complete without a pair, so try Mango's Super Slim Jeans ($70) or Madewell's Skinny Skinny Jeans ($115) with a cool, white button-up, like Zara's Studded Denim Shirt ($90), for your next afternoon shopping excursion. For a nine-to-five take on the look, go for a shorts suit (it's ideal for the warmer months) like Thakoon's Suiting Blazer ($693) and Pleat Front Shorts ($343). A textured button-up in a slightly brighter shade of white--our favorite is Pencey's eyelet Sleeveless Shirt ($167)--will break up your outfit and prevent it from feeling one note.
Alba and Mustaparta's effortlessly layered looks are easy to recreate too! Simply start with a knit sweater or casual tee, like A.L.C.'s Ainsley Sweater ($346) or Gap's Essential Crewneck T ($15) for the top half, and add either Elizabeth and James' Milo Cropped Crepe Pants ($285) or Ann Taylor's Cotton Perfect Capris ($68). Note: if you'd prefer to try shorts instead, we think Acne's Bacall Silk Shorts ($250) are a very chic, dressier option. Once you have your bottom half sorted, incorporate a lightweight cardi, like J. Crew's Jackie Cardigan ($62) or Vince's Tucked Stitch Cardigan ($395).
Finally, you can add even more white to your look by tossing a few accessories into the mix! Goorin Bros'Fine Day Hat ($45) is a wardrobe necessity, especially if you're going spend a good amount of time in the sun this summer, while Reiss' Keli Snake Print Belt ($115) is perfect for giving shape to a flowy white frock. Kendra Scott's Harlow Necklace ($195) will bring a touch of luxury to any outfit, and in case you haven't already snagged a pair of white shoes, you must try Aldo's very affordable Hembre Sandals ($50) or Elizabeth and James' Stela Pumps ($375)! Whatever items you pick, just know you have exactly 89 days left until Labor Day, giving you more than enough time to test-drive each of today's white-on-white looks!--Jessica Baker
Photos of Ashley Olsen and Jessica Alba, courtesy of Splash News; Photos of Chloe Sevigny and Hanneli Mustaparta, courtesy of Getty; Street style photo, courtesy of Stockholm Streetstyle.