Shane Watson: Everyday jeans are wonderful in white

Shane Watson: Everyday jeans are wonderful in white

04/18/2021

How to dress like a grown up with Shane Watson: Everyday jeans are wonderful in white

  • Shane Watson shares advice for embracing this season’s white jeans trend
  • She suggests pairing cropped styles with cream, navy and black items 
  • British style expert reveals a selection of High Street stores offering the look 

Yes I know, if there was the faintest chance of you wearing white jeans, you’d have done it years ago.

When you were younger. When you were slimmer. When it was summer. When you didn’t have a dog that likes to high five your knees. When you were on a mini-break in Paris, where all the cool women wear white jeans and navy pea coats.

If you were going to wear them it would have been any time but now, in the spring of 2021, when, if there’s one thing we want from our clothes, it’s uncomplicated wearability.

And yet, this is the perfect time to give white jeans a chance.

Why, can be summed up in the words of the Ikea ad: The Wonderful Everyday.

Shane Watson takes inspiration from Emma Willis (pictured) for embracing this season’s white jeans trend

White jeans are regular everyday jeans, made wonderful. They fit like blue jeans. They work like regular denim, with everything from a blazer and a low heel to a turtle neck and trainers, only they inspire delight because they’re the ordinary, made new and fresh.

Ikea wants to encourage us to upgrade our gloomy kitchen units for slick modern ones and the message is spot on for anyone looking for a post lockdown injection of style into their wardrobes: stick with what works for you everyday, but make it better. The Wonderful Everyday white jeans are a very good place to start.

Let’s get to the practicalities quickly, before you give up. White jeans are lumbered with a reputation for being hard to wear because they’re liable to get dirty (wash them on 30 degrees, problem solved) and they’re unflattering.

Of course, they can be if they’re badly cut, too tight or, worst of all, see through.

But all jeans have the potential to make you look terrible if the shape doesn’t suit you. (I think black jeans are more likely to add pounds.)

WHITE JEANS: THE NEW RULES 

  • Wear white jeans with cream, navy and black.
  • Keep jeans cropped just above the ankle.
  • A wider straight leg is the new look.
  • Wear now with bare legs and ankle boots.

The secret to flattering white jeans is the same as it is for all jeans: fabric — you want lightweight denim with a fraction of stretch or none — and the right cut. For white jeans in particular, that’s snug on the hips, loose and straight in the leg, or wide legged.

If you can see your knicker line when you try them on, or the outline of your knees, or the pocket linings, or the waist band is more than an inch south of your tummy button, put them back. Note: you will have to try on a few pairs to get them just right.

What you don’t want is a tapered shape (frumpy), a bell bottom flare (too Liz Hurley on holiday) and a boot cut feels old. The look is classic Levis 501s, cropped (£190, levi.com) or a wider leg (£48.65, bananarepublic.co.uk).

Second thing to remember: they don’t have to be bright white. Sometimes bright white really works (usually when the jeans are wide and sailor style) and sometimes you’re better off with a calmer ecru (the colour of unbleached linen). Over the years I’ve discovered that off-white has advantages as you get into middle age; it’s softer and more versatile than bright white, which looks best with navy and black or cream.


Shane said bright white usually works when the jeans are wide and sailor style, however sometimes you’re better off with a calmer ecru. Pictured left: Christina Milian, right: Doutzen Kroes

And Other Stories does a good high-waisted, wide leg Treasure Cut jean, (£65, stories.com) in ecru with 1 per cent elastane — just enough to take away the starchiness.

The full-length leg gives them all-weather potential, but a crop feels right for now and the same style, cut off above the ankle, allows you to show off your sandals later on. These ones are Persil white; wear now with a turtle neck sweater, a light cropped jacket and ankle boots.

Me + Em has a slim, barrel leg, cropped style in ecru (£175, meandem.com) with an adjustable waist and pale gold hardware, all the better for evenings. Remember, white jeans dress up really easily. Just add a silk shirt, earrings and small heel. Also think how work-friendly white denim is compared to indigo: white jeans plus a checked blazer is the modern trouser suit.

Otherwise, Massimo Dutti does a cropped slim fit, a boyfriend shape and a wide leg (£49.95, £49.95, £59.95, massimodutti.com), all of which look tempting. The wide style has a stretch waist by the way. Who said white jeans couldn’t be easy?

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