Some style rules should always be obeyed—like not wearing socks with Birkenstocks (please just don’t, ever, even if you’re a video game programmer or comic book store clerk). And no…that jean jacket will never go with the same color denim jeans. But we’d like to encourage you to break most all the rules as you see fit. Starting with the idea you shouldn’t wear white after Labor Day. Yes, many people have broken this rule for a while, but there are some scolds still out there trying to convince you it’s worth following.
But why should it persist? This rule was likely developed more than a century ago by high society women to separate the wealthy from the working class. Well, let’s stop listening to the 1-percenters. If you incorporate these tips, you’ll be able to stylishly subvert this antiquated fashion rule all year-round.
1. White pants need darker colors on top once summer ends
This is key to making white an all-year wardrobe choice. It helps blend the color easily into a fall or winter look. Color choices like olive green, navy blue, maroon and certain shades of brown are hues to stick with, and this also applies to creating layers. Try a loser-fitting and more rustic jacket like the Filson Explorer in black or olive with a lightweight neutral tee under it and with a pair of your favorite white pants. Or mix it up with a light colored graphic tee that speaks to your taste—like this urban graphic tee from Supreme. You can wear it to the office as easily as you can to drinks after work. Versatility is always king, gentlemen.
Filson Explorer Jacket, $350
2. Since sandals are out of the question, choose a leather boot or a sneaker
White in the summer for guys is so great it makes shoes practically an after-thought — just throw on a pair of Rainbow sandals and it works. But with temperatures dropping, you’ve got to put a little more thought into your footwear selection. Good news though: you can’t go wrong with a pair of dark brown leather shoes like the Brogues by Ted Baker or Fryes Logan Cap Toe in Whiskey, but if you are sticking to a budget, a pair of black leather Jack Purcell Converse dress down white pants, but still exude an effortless sense of style.
$95, Jack Purcell Cross Stitch Leather sneaker
3. Opt for cords instead of lightweight pants
Bread, water, Levis. These are your staples; but not just the denim Levis, their vintage white corduroys, too. Cords’ weight make them ideal for non-summer months and their variety of styles allow you to find the right pair for any setting. Wear a flat front pair with thinner vertical ribs (a.k.a. wales) to the office and opt for a vintage pair with a more distressed look on the weekends. Tip: as wales get thicker, the cords become more casual. Todd Snyder’s corduroy 5 pocket pants will also do the trick and look sharp at any occasion.
Levis Tapered White Cords, $210
4. Now is the time to pair denim with white
Nothing is more James Dean like then a classic white tee and a pair of jeans, which in any women’s opinion, is as hot as it can get. But, up the ante and switch it up with a dark denim shirt or jacket with white on bottom. The combination is a more modern approach and adds plenty of edge. For starters, try a dark herringbone denim button-up from Supreme or a Mavi Frank Denim Jacket from Brooklyn Industries with a maroon or dark grey tee under it.
Supreme Herringbone Denim Shirt, $128
5. Experiment with off-white and patterns
Wearing clothes as white as the pure driven snow not your thing? Try going for off-white shirts and bottoms that play with stripes or shapes. This cotton button-up by Kapital incorporates white and khaki with stripes, while these Japanese selvedge jeans by J. Crew meet in the middle between white and khaki (or as J.Crew calls them—“wheat.”) Patterns and different shades can help play down the brightness of the color for those of you weary of sporting it in the so called “off-season.”
Kapitol Cotton Stripes Cartmans Shirt in White, $234.00
Bottom line: Wear white whenever you want. Just remember to balance out colors, wear a great pair of shoes and put away the white, short-sleeve Tommy Bahama button down (unless you are going somewhere very tropical for Christmas) and you’ll prove those 1900s high-society haters very wrong.