White Trousers Then & Now: From Jackie O. To Kate Hudson

White trousers are the sartorial equivalent of peach sorbet: a palette-cleansing piece with the ability to keep your everyday looks feeling crisp and clean. Once an essential item for style icons like Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy, the preppy classic is rendered new again, as current-day tastemakers showcase its versatility with of-the-moment styling.

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  •  We’re turning the spotlight on the staple's fashionable history, so keep reading to see how white trousers were worn then and now.

  • Marilyn Monroe
    Photo credit: Alfred Eisenstaedt//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

    Marilyn Monroe

    The blonde bombshell, photographed here for LIFE magazine in 1953, was the epitome of minimalist glamour in white high-waisted cropped trousers and a black turtleneck sweater. 

  • Jill Kennington in Blow-Up

    At the height of the ‘60s Mod trend, English model Jill Kennington wore white straight-leg trousers paired with a stripe jacket in Michelangelo Antonioni's cult film Blow-Up.

  • Jackie Kennedy
    Photo credit: AFP/Getty Images

    Jackie Kennedy Onassis

    Just like oversized sunglasses, tailored white trousers became a wardrobe regular for the former First Lady and style icon, seen here in Rome with her children. 

  • Faye Dunaway
    Photo credit: Everett Collection

    Faye Dunaway

    In the 1968 rendition of The Thomas Crown Affair, the actress showcased a low-key take on the classic piece with a relaxed version worn with a yellow turtleneck. 

  • Bianca Jagger
    Photo credit: Express Newspapers/Getty Images

    Bianca Jagger

    In the '70s, nobody looked chicer in a white pantsuit than Bianca Jagger—a look that continues to influence designers today.  

  • Lauren Hutton
    Photo credit: Ron Galella/WireImage

    Lauren Hutton

    Model/actress Hutton brought the closet essential back into the spotlight when she wore white calf-length trousers to the Los Angeles premiere of Starflight.

  • Kate Moss
    Photo credit: Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

    Kate Moss

    Epitomizing ‘90s irreverence, the model’s en route ensemble hits on two major trends today: matching whites and tying a sweater around the waist.  

  • Sarah Jessica Parker
    Photo credit: Brian Ach/WireImage

    Sex and The City

    Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw puts her own spin on the masculine-feminine look with a white tuxedo vest and matching tailored trousers. 

  • Kasia Smutniak
    Photo credit: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

    Kasia Smutniak

    The Polish beauty hit on the season’s black and white trend while attending the Giorgio Armani S/S 13 Womenswear show in Milan wearing pieces by the designer. 

  • Gwyneth Paltrow
    Photo credit: Blayze / Splash News

    Gwyneth Paltrow

    For an appearance at the Apple store in Soho, Paltrow showcased her affinity for sophisticated minimalism in fitted white pants with a Barbara Bui top and Tom Ford’s Kidskin Natalia Bag ($3980). 

  • Kate Hudson
    Photo credit: KP PICTURES/bauergriffinonline.com

    Kate Hudson

    The actress offers a current-day interpretation of white trousers with her A.L.C. jumpsuit styled with Smythe's Metallic Coated Linen Blazer ($390). 

  • Fashion Vibe
    Photo credit: Fashion Vibe

    Street Style

    Seventies-inspired, wide-leg trousers in an off-white hue take on a modern persona when worn with a relaxed white top and contrasting black clutch. 

  • Street Style
    Photo credit: A Portable Package

    Street Style

    A stylish civilian takes a laidback approach to the trend in a pair of rolled slouchy pants.  

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