White jeans intimidate me. There, I said it. I know that as someone who prides themselves on experimenting with weird outfit combinations and trends most others would shy away from, I should reasonably be on board with white denim because it's really not that strange of a garment. But I can't deny that white jeans scare the crap out of me. I see them as something only modelesque people get away with wearing. That and maybe anyone summering in a New England beach town? Both of which I am not. So why exactly are they so frightening to me? Because they showcase everything. They put all my insecurities on display. They're the opposite of the safety that comes along with adhering to an all-black palette. That is to say, they're risky.
In an effort to tackle some of my deepest fashion fears, I picked up a few new pairs of white denim and challenged myself to wear them every day for a week. I didn't know what this would teach me or if I would learn anything all, really. What I did know was that I kept on seeing the most stylish white jeans outfits and I knew I had an irrational fear I needed to just get over. I didn't discriminate when it came to fit and cut, either. I tried everything from skinny jeans to kick-flare to straight leg, hoping to land on a pair of white jeans that I didn't actually want to run away from.
Right off the bat, I went for what felt scary to me because, as they say, life happens outside your comfort zone. We've established that I'm going out on a limb wearing white jeans as it is, so why not throw in another style element that intimidates me while we're at it? Thus, skinny jeans were the first pair to kick off my week of white jeans outfits. Disclaimer: I haven't actually worn the slim-fitting style in years, so trying on this pair set off all the alarms in my head. I didn't feel like myself at all, that is to say, someone who prefers slouchier fits at all times. Read through to see if I survived or if I let my crippling fear of the denim take over.
The Outfit: Balance was my main aim for Day 1. Like I said, I was shocked to see what my legs actually looked like in skinny jeans, so I thought of them more as leggings and layered a dress over them. I also needed the one item that I can throw on to make me feel like myself: my leather jacket.
The Outcome: Driving to work on Monday proved to be somewhat of a challenge as I contorted my body to avoid spilling coffee all over the jeans. It apparently worked, and I felt much like myself all day. Success already.
The Outfit: Skinny jeans again! I was riding the high of Monday's success and curious to challenge myself to another skinny jeans outfit. I made a pact with myself to only wear skinny jeans with one of these six items in 2018, and here was a perfect opportunity to follow my own rules.
The Outcome: My kitten heels provided just a bit of lift while the trench coat obscured everything I wanted to hide about the white jeans (aka my hips and thighs). This pair also has a bit of stretch in them, so the comparison I made earlier to leggings wasn't exactly unfounded.
The Outfit: I capitalized on the one day of summer weather we had that week to throw in a fresh dose of color with my white jeans outfits. There's something undeniably French about these high-waisted flare jeans, and it may or may not be due to seeing Jeanne Damas wear them in the brand's campaign. Either way, I leaned into the French inspiration for this look, bringing back the retro baguette bag and finished it off with a metallic pair of Mary Janes that can make the most average day feel special.
The Outcome: Maybe it was the sunny marigold of my polo, or maybe it was the stretch-less denim I had on that day held everything in place, but I slowly felt myself gaining confidence. I was still acutely aware of how visible my lower half was to the world, but something about the jean's off-white wash and the cool XL cuff made everything better.
The Outfit: Lately, cargo pants have caught my eye. I know the pant style hasn't always been the most popular, to say the least. Anyways, I kind of fell in love with this white denim pair because of its high waist and buckle closures. Going off of the pant's utility feel, I wore these platform Dr. Martens sandals that felt just as substantial as the jeans themselves. To balance the bottom half, a floaty peasant top was in order.
The Outcome: It was the novelty of this pair that felt fresh to me about white jeans. It was like I was tricking my mind into thinking I wasn't wearing "white jeans" in the typical sense, but a trend piece instead. As far as I'm concerned, the strategy worked.
The Outfit: I think I hit my stride here. This last pair was a vintage find (Levi's 501) with a straight cut and a baggier fit, probably due to the fact that they were a size too big. I wanted to give them more of a forward feel (I heard dad jeans were a thing?), so I wore a men's button-down shirt backward so that it buttoned up the back and created a boxy silhouette up top.
The Outcome: Ultimately, it was the looser fit that convinced me that white jeans and I could coexist. They didn't hug my body (at all) and I felt like the coolest version of myself all day. Perhaps it's just as well that on the last day of my mini style experiment I would spill a glass of red wine all over the jeans. At least I saved my clumsiness until the end, right?
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Available in sizes 2 to 12.
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Available in sizes 24 to 32.
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Available in sizes FR34 to FR44.
Available in sizes 24 to 32.
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I hope by now I've inspired you to tackle the fashion pieces that intimidate you the most. You'll get more out of your wardrobe and you might even learn something along the way, too.