Now that the last days of summer are officially ahead, I thought we should discuss the wearing of white garments. While white itself is never out of style, there are those who still follow the old regulation that states that you may not wear anything white beyond Labor Day. That decree has been broken over and over by stylish people who flaunt conventional wisdom, and with good reason.
Another way to interpret that old adage is to wear white fabric that is seasonally appropriate year round. That means that a lightweight cotton dress doesn’t really work in winter. Same goes for that white or off white wool sweater, you wouldn’t wear that in August would you? What is it about white that can cause so much debate and consternation among the fashion world? Why do so many people feel that they can’t wear white at all, let alone during summertime? The answers to those queries and quips are as unique as the singular style each individual has. Take a look at a few of my expert tips to sort out how you feel about colorless couture.
Although fashion magazines and runway shows tout full on exploration of the non-color, it’s not realistic for those of us who don’t live a jet-set lifestyle, or pose for the paparazzi. Head-to-toe white ensembles are never a great option for busy moms with messy kids, or people who have a tendency for spilling things. I know that there are those that can pull it off, and that’s great, but for the average Jane it’s a look that’s not only hard to wear, but hard on the maintenance budget as well. With that said, here’s my tip for caring for your white clothing without using bleach which can damage and deteriorate fabrics:
- Mix 1 gallon of warm water in a large bucket (5 gallons would be great).
- Add 2 tbsp. of ammonia.
- Add 4 tbsp. of dishwasher detergent or regular dish soap.
- Place clothing in the bucket and soak for about 30 minutes.
- Remove and wash as you would normally for the type of fabric.
You may also make an overnight soak from 1 cup of baking soda added to a bucket of warm water. Wash the following day for a bright and sunny white!
Don’t let caring for your clothing stop you from taking a few fashion risks. For example, in some of the photos here, we see runway looks that feature white and off-white, cream and beige mixed together. These types of tones can easily work together to create that clean, fresh, summery look that light and bright neutrals evoke so effortlessly. Take a close look and you’ll see that many of the ensembles pair their colorless clothing with metallic pieces or dull neutral colors, like sand, light brown, pewter, bronze and, for a real contrast, black.
Start with a basic white dress in a style that fits and flatters your figure. Add some cool accessories that evoke summer and beach culture. Layer on a necklace that has driftwood, seashells, or even some beach glass in light greens and blues. Pull it all together with some espadrilles or wedges that have rope, burlap, or woven accents and you’ll look just as great as the runway counterparts that are our inspiration. Maybe you’ll choose to layer on a rustic belt or straw hat for the full effect. The possibilities are endless.
Look for the perfect white button-down shirt that can become a cover up at the beach, a coat for chilly summer nights when worn over a tank and shorts, or a belted top worn over a breezy skirt.
Maybe white isn’t your thing next to your skin, so you might opt for a pop here and there with some white-hot accessories. They are always a good way to access any trend seasonally. Try a pair of white sunglasses, handbag or sandals.
That’s why shopping at Goodwill is the first place to start when trying out new looks, or fashion styles that you’re unfamiliar with or unsure about. You can feel free to experiment, and you’ll still have enough left over in the budget for that weekend getaway!