That old cliché about not wearing white after Labor Day might as well be an old wive’s tale at this point.
“That was sort of a taboo. No one really takes it seriously anymore,” said Ian Capulet, editor in chief of cefashion.net “It was sort of a big deal in the 50s and 60s.”
Our parents were missing out when they obsessed over that rule. The pale neutral can make your red scarf or lip stand out even more, and looks cozy-yet-fresh when layered with textured pieces in complimentary shades like cream and tan. Though the idea of banishing white to your closet for the colder months is long gone, there are still rules for wearing winter white. To keep you from committing a fashion faux pas so early in the year, I caught up with Capulet to find the best practices for wearing winter whites. Time to give your basic black the day off.
50 Shades of White
Capulet recommends avoiding snow white shades, whose brightness is best saved for the summer months, and opting instead for creams or ecrus. If you’re a risk-taker who loves to buck tradition, you may be eager to wear head-to-toe white. Even if you’re a little more conservative, you may want to include more than one white piece in your outfit, such as a sweater and scarf. “You don’t want to be too monochromatic with whites,” Capulet said. “If one piece matches one piece but not another, it’s so off. You’re better off going with shades.” Try a cream scarf with an ivory sweater and high-waisted tan flairs for an on-trend, office-appropriate look.
Leave your lightweight cotton t-shirts in the closet. Heavier fabrics keep your winter whites in-season. Capulet loves cashmere for sweaters, which tend to be lighter and less bulky than wool sweaters but have a soft feel that will keep you comfy on the coldest of days. Fur layers, like a vest, shawl or shearling jacket, look luxe and warm over tops, and a long coat is an elegant and dramatic outerwear pick. When it comes to white dresses, Capulet advises going with lace and yoke fabric. “It gives a little insulation and flair.”
Fit and Hem
If you’re going with the all-white look, play with proportions to keep it interesting. A chunky, oversized cable knit turtleneck sweater and slim white pants make a cozy outfit perfect for reading a novel and sipping coffee (careful not to spill). For work, swap the relaxed, chunky sweater for a more fitted cashmere one to get a more professional look and throw on an on-trend longline blazer. When choosing dresses and skirts, be mindful of the hem. “It’s cold, so you don’t want to expose your legs too much.” Unless it’s a gala, you don’t want a gown, either. Capulet favors a midi-length, a happy medium.