White Jeans for Every Shape
White jeans get a bad rap. Rumor has it that they make you look bigger on the bottom, show every little lump and bump, and can even be (yikes) see-through. But while all of the above may be true of the wrong pair, the right pair can actually be an asset to your wardrobe. They have a fresh feel and look for the summer months, and can be the foundation of many a great winter white ensemble (leave that outmoded Labor Day rule in the past where it belongs). Here's our guide to the greatest picks.
If You Have a Straight Figure
What to look for: A trim fit to play up any curves you do have. Bold embellishment on the back pockets, like contrast stitching, studs, or a flap, make a flat bum look perkier.
What to avoid: Exaggerated bells and flares that look unbalanced on a ruler-straight frame.
What to pair them with: “A blouse with ruching or draping to add more volume and shapeliness up top,” says Sarah Hodge, a fit expert.
If You Have an Hourglass Figure
What to look for: A contoured waistband, which is nipped in at the waist instead of cut straight across. “This allows the jeans to fit the hips without gaping at the waist,” says Janine Chilton-Faust, vice president of women’s design for Levi’s. (One pair to try is J. Crew’s Matchstick jeans, $115, jcrew. These not-too-skinny straight-leg jeans help balance a curvy figure.)
What to avoid: A straight-cut waistband, which will be too loose around the middle. Wide-leg styles will make this body look boyish.
What to pair them with: Curve-hugging tops to show off the feminine proportions of this figure.
If You Have a Tummy
What to look for: “A slightly higher rise—eight inches or more—to reduce the chance of muffin top,” says Rosella Giuliani, vice president of design and merchandising for 7 for All Mankind.
What to avoid: Anything without stretch that will dig into your stomach and make sitting and bending uncomfortable.
What to pair them with: “A lightweight Empire-waist top that is loose enough to skim the body yet not so billowy that it emphasizes the tummy,” says Giuliani.
If You Have Full Hips and Thighs
What to look for: A pair with a higher rise in the back than in the front and a contoured waistband that will accommodate your curves. “This prevents the jeans from sliding down and overexposing you,” says Hodge.
What to avoid: Very tapered legs that magnify wider hips.
What to pair them with: “A long top with a shirttail hem to help minimize the thighs,” says Chilton-Faust.
How to Keep Your Pair of Jeans Pristine
1. Before the first wear, spray all over with Scotchgard to ward off stains.
2. Be careful about pairing your jeans with a dark indigo jacket or a bright canvas handbag. Dyes may rub off on the white denim.
3. Wear just once or twice between washings. Overwearing without laundering causes a grayish tint.
4. Wash with other whites in warm water. Don’t overload the machine, since that can keep garments from rinsing thoroughly, and detergent residue can lead to yellowing.
5. If the jeans are still dingy after washing, soak them in warm water with a capful of color-safe bleach for 30 minutes.
How to Prevent Transparency Issues
In the store: Hold the jeans up to natural light with a hand behind one layer of fabric to get a real-life sense of how revealing they will be.
In the fitting room: Check to see if the pockets show through the denim. If the jeans aren’t too sheer elsewhere but the pockets are still visible, you can have a tailor remove the pocket fabric.
Out and about: Always wear nude—not white—underwear.
How to Cuff Your Jeans Stylishly
Eighties alert! The pegged roll is the easiest way to make slim, straight cuts look extra chic. Janine Chilton-Faust of Levi’s reminds you how to do it.
Step 1: Grasp a bottom hem and fold it vertically so there’s a ½-inch tuck in front.
Step 2: Hold the tuck in place while you roll up the hem by about two inches twice. Repeat with the other leg.