All white now: the great white jeans revival – The Guardian

By on April 24, 2019

The synthetic chime of the ice-cream van, the rollercoaster rush of cool air through rolled-down car windows, the sudden urgent need to book a pedicure. There are many signs that summer is here, but none is more definitive than the appearance of white jeans. For a garment that can be ruined by one unguarded sit-down, they have proved virtually indestructible as a trend. Every summer without fail, they climb back on to style’s radar.

If you are still sniggering loftily at white-jean wearers, then I’m afraid it is you who are out of touch. White jeans are worn by a new generation of fashion’s cool set – see muse-turned-designer Alexa Chung, and Leandra Medine, new-era fashion mogul founder of the Man Repeller website. Both Chung and Medine are completely uncheesy, with a blue-chip set of style coordinates that reference Patti Smith and Jane Birkin, not off-duty supermodel mums on the west London school run. White jeans in their original guise – sausage-skin-stretchy, bikini-line-low denim as worn by Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears, possibly with a Stetson – have evolved into something a lot more chic. Thick, sturdy denim, a looser cut on the leg and a wide, high waistband into which you can tuck a crisp shirt have shifted white jeans into an elegant, grown-up place.

Frayed white denim on the Eckhaus Latta catwalk, SS2019, NewYork fashion week.



Frayed white denim on the Eckhaus Latta catwalk, SS2019, NewYork fashion week. Photograph: Ovidiu Hrubaru/WWD/REX/Shutterstock

So if you came here hoping for a takedown of the white jean, you are in the wrong place, my friend. I love them. The first day of the Easter heatwave, I dragged the garden furniture out of storage and washed it down, then got a stepladder out to pull my high-waisted Acne white jeans down from the top of the wardrobe. (The wiping of garden furniture and the emergence of white jeans are, of course, directly related.) I am a devotee of Acne jeans, which always manage to balance modish shape with a flattering cut. I’m not sure the ones I have are available any more, but the Acne Mece straight-fit jeans, £240 – which are among the most wanted white jeans on the global fashion search site Lyst, which has reported a 30% increase in white-jean searches since last month – are similar.

Slim Leg Jeans,£69, Cos



Slim Leg Jeans,£69, Cos.

Cos has a pair of slim-leg jeans for £69 in a rich, creamy shade. The cropped Levi 501s are a perfect summer shape, in quality thick denim, at £85. The shade called “in the clouds” is white to the naked eye. And Topshop’s just-mom-shaped-enough Editor jeans, this year’s insider 2019 hit denim piece, come in white and are just £49.

The wisdom I have accrued over two decades of buying and wearing white jeans amounts to this. One, you need heavier denim than on dark jeans, because white denim goes semi-transparent easily, and you will need to wash your white jeans every time you wear them. Two, tight on the bum is fine but a skinny leg shape is hard to pull off in white. Three, instead of espadrilles, which are just a bit too much of a cliche, go for flat sandals or simple white tennis shoes (pleasingly south of France) or loafers (hipsterishly Princess Di).

Off White Editor Jeans, £49, Topshop.



Off White Editor Jeans, £49, Topshop.

As a rule, I’m sceptical of whatever the denim-label-of-the-moment is, having lost count of the number of times I have ordered a pair of jeans that looked really cool on the fit model but turn out to be an unwearably weird shape on anyone else. I mean, I don’t expect any pair of jeans to make me look like Bella Hadid but I would appreciate them not actually visually trolling me. However, I make an exception for this year’s in-vogue Swedish Hasbeens. The Short Boot Cut Denim in a creamy off-white have a high, extra wide waistband and are ankle-length, not cropped, on an average-height wearer. They are £129, which is not as ridiculously expensive as most designer denim, and they are more, rather than less, flattering than the online images suggest. Frayed white denim is also having a moment this summer. The hip Brooklyn label Eckhaus Latta showed ankle-cropped white denim with a frayed outside seam along the length of each leg at New York fashion week; and at Mother Denim, whose co-founder and president Lela Becker is seeing a steeper spike in sales of white denim than in previous spring seasons, the Insider Crop Step Fray (£217 at net-a-porter.com) is the top-selling style in the UK.

Of course, we can’t talk about white jeans without mentioning the patron saint of white denim, Elizabeth Hurley. White jeans have long been the everyday yin to the red-carpet yang of a Versace safety-pin dress. They are a dramatic device allowing Hurley to dress down without losing glamour. And so, like sunglasses pushed back into long hair, they are a reminder that Instagram did not invent summer as a performative style event. Dazzling the world with your sunshiney glamour has a heritage that predates social media.

But Hurley is far from alone in her love of white denim. The fashion writer Emma Elwick-Bates, Tatler’s editor at large, is so devoted to them that when she gave birth to her son, Hector, she arrived and left hospital in white jeans, “much to the amusement of medical staff. But it’s just what I always wear. They are high-risk (especially to a black-coffee drinker like me) but also high-reward. They make me feel crisp, and they anchor a Breton [top] perfectly.”

New York fashionista Tonne Goodman.



New York fashionista Tonne Goodman. Photograph: Jimi Celeste/Penske Media/REX/Shutterstock

When Elwick-Bates moved from British to American Vogue for a stint at the heart of the US fashion industry with a suitcase stuffed full of white jeans, she found a “spirit animal” in Tonne Goodman, the New York fashionista who is about to publish a memoir of 20 years at Vogue. Goodman made white jeans – from J Brand, Levis or J Crew – a uniform that lasted decades, always styled with poker-straight hair, simple shirting or poloneck knitwear. Goodman has paid tribute to how a pair of white jeans can be worn “with a black velvet shirt and it becomes one thing, you can put it with a T-shirt and it will be another thing … it can go from a shoot to a show to being in the office.” Such is Goodman’s love of white denim that she has slipcovers for her sofas made in the fabric, which she launders in her home washing machine with her jeans. A life lived in white denim is as chic as it gets, this and every summer. Just keep a steady hand on that Aperol Spritz.

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Source Article from https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2019/apr/24/all-white-now-the-great-white-jeans-revival
All white now: the great white jeans revival – The Guardian
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