White Jeans and Shorts Available Now
We’ve all heard that old fashion adage about only wearing white from Memorial Day through Labor Day. While some people still swear by this unofficial rule, others happily break it. White, off-white, and cream have become year-round, go-to shades, increasingly popping up in designers’ fall and winter collections. Still, there’s no denying that nothing says “summer” quite like crisp, bright white—predominantly white jeans and shorts.
Once temperatures start climbing, the fabulous pieces of cotton and linens come out. Traditionally, warmer weather calls for bright, poppy colors and bold prints. And what better to pair them with than a tried-and-true summer staple like white women’s shorts, shirts, or denim? Whether you gravitate toward color-saturated pieces or prefer a more minimalist palette, there are plenty of stylish pairings to consider. We’ll break down what to look for, what’s available, and how to team different pieces together.
Wearing White for Summer
By now, you’ve probably seen white cashmere and wool, having admired a chic pair of cold-weather trousers or a great sweater. Typically though, white is most often associated with summertime. In part, that’s because it’s believed to be more cooling than darker shades, but only if the garment is not tight and not heavy.
So, when did people start wearing white in warmer weather? It all began around the turn of the 19th century when wealthy urbanites (New Yorkers, specifically) began leaving the city for the summer, typically staying at a second or third vacation home. At the time, New York streets were pretty filthy—filled with dust, dirt, trash, and especially horse manure.
Even for those who weren’t spending much time in those streets, keeping clothes clean was a chore. Thus, men and women alike wore darker clothing to better mask stains and blemishes. However, once summer came around and wealthier people decamped to other, cleaner environments and residences, they were free to wear white, unencumbered by the need to hide those stains. Thus, donning white clothing came to be viewed as a signifier of wealth and status.
Eventually, more and more people from all backgrounds adopted this unofficial rule, with many of the wealthiest abandoning it by the mid-20th century. Today, women most often wear white jeans and shorts during the summer. Still, white clothing items per se do not relegate to one season.
The best white jeans
When it comes to warm-weather denim, white is a natural go-to. Sweating (even if only a little) is probably a given, so look for something lighter-weight, cropped, or with some stretch for ease of movement. Because it’s summertime, you can toe the line between casual and polished with details like frayed hems or gentle distressing.
We love a straight leg for ease and versatility, seamlessly bringing your denim from day to evening. While lower-waisted styles are trending, it makes sense to invest in a pair of bottoms with a bit of longevity—not to mention ones in which you’re truly comfortable. Our pick? The Highrise Good Vibes Crop in Brilliant White.
The best white linen pants
Cool, crisp, and comfy, linen is arguably the material of summer. So, a great pair of linen pants are a must. Sought-after styles run the gamut, from classic trouser and tie-waist to ultra baggy. Granted, given its status as a summer essential, linen pants are often light and fluid, allowing the person wearing them to keep cool on the move.
However, given the popularity of cargo and utility styles this season, we’re gravitating toward something functional yet elevated with a mid-rise and plenty of pockets. A ⅞, ankle-grazing cut teams well with sneakers and sandals alike. Our pick? The Everyday Linen Pant in Clean Sand.
The best white shorts
We talked linen and denim, including white jeans and shorts. Now let’s dig into one particular item of summer clothing: white shorts. Given the light color and the fact that shorts are well, short, sometimes finding the perfect pair can prove tricky. There’s cut, material, length, and stretch, after all.
For Summer 2022, standout styles abounded, from boho-tinged crochet looks to breezy paperbag and classic five-pocket denim. Of course, we’re fans of all of the above, but if we had to zero in on just one, we’d have to prize a pair that puts effortless, everyday utility at the forefront. Think standard-rise, cargo-inspired, and cuffed for a hint of added polish. Our pick? The Switchback Cuffed Short in Brilliant White.
The best white shirts
Beyond a pair of linen pants, a white shirt (or two) is undeniably one of the summer’s core essentials. Because of its easy-breezy connotations, the ideal summer-ready white shirt is probably crafted from linen (yep) or cotton and has an airy lightness.
We’re imagining a billowy cut, buttons and cuffs, and a classic collar—the piece you could seamlessly wear to the office before meeting up with friends for cocktails. Casual yet slightly refined, it’s as versatile as your favorite pair of jeans. Instead of a traditional button-up, we love a high-low hem style for summer. Our pick? The Oversized Tunic in White.
How to match the white in your wardrobe
Unlike that pesky no-white-after-Labor Day rule (just kidding), there aren’t too many hard-and-fast fashion mandates when it comes to wearing white. Since it functions as a neutral like black, it can go with anything. However, when building an outfit around the white items in your closet, there are still some things to bear.
While we don’t have anything against wearing a white top with white jeans and shorts per se, the look could veer into “uniform” territory as opposed to a purposefully coordinating (and of the moment) shorts set, for example. With that in mind, we suggest treating your white pieces like a blank canvas and setting up a colorful contrast. Bold, super-saturated hues always pop against white and make great focal points.
The same goes for prints and stripes, which offset white nicely and won’t overwhelm the overall look (or the person wearing it). Still, solid paler hues and pastels aren’t off-limits. While a color like beige may not prove as striking paired with white, they’re both neutrals, and there’s no clashing happening. That said, we love an outfit that draws the eye. If you do, too, then find a graphic pattern or standout stripe and wear them with white.