Introduction

With spring just around the corner and summer not being too far behind, it’s closing in on the period where we get to pack away the heavy winter gear and prepare our wardrobe for a warmer climate.

On the list of essentials that make your yearly spring/summer rotation should be a pair of crisp, slim white trousers.

They may well bring to mind thoughts of the French Riviera rather than the sunny streets of Manchester, but white trousers are a great versatile piece for spring and summer; besides, what’s wrong with bringing a bit of the Côte d’Azur to Salford?

White Trousers

White trousers not only look great against the backdrop of a clear, bright day but also represent a practical option for those days when the mercury hits the heights. I know – practicality and white – not two words you often hear in the same sentence. However, for those that missed GCSE science, the white will be much cooler in the sun, as the light colour will reflect heat and not retain it like a darker hue would.

White trousers within the realm of men’s fashion and style are nothing new, you could even go as far as labelling them timeless. JFK certainly gave them the Presidential stamp, as did the Prince of Wales when he put his royal seal of approval on white legwear.

Men’s White Trousers Lookbook

Men's White Trousers Lookbook

How to Wear: Example Looks
Look One

Bring some continental flair to your hometown by utilising white trousers alongside a navy double-breasted blazer. The navy/white, dark/light contrast will create a really sharp look, whilst simultaneously producing an underlying nautical influence – a major trend each and every spring/summer.

A grey t-shirt is the perfect nuetral that will work alongside both colours, not against them. Black penny loafers add another touch of timelessness to the whole ensemble and again create a light/dark contrast between the trousers and shoes. Accessorise with an on-trend neckerchief and classic pocket square.

  • Asos T Shirt With Rolled SleevesAsos T Shirt With Rolled Sleeves
  • Beams Plus Double-breasted Cotton-twill BlazerBeams Plus Double-breasted Cotton-twill Blazer
  • Hilfiger Denim Fallon Slim Fit ChinoHilfiger Denim Fallon Slim Fit Chino
  • Drakes Spotted Cotton-blend Pocket SquareDrakes Spotted Cotton-blend Pocket Square
  • Topman Cream Paisley NeckerTopman Cream Paisley Necker
  • Bass Weejuns Black Leather Larson LoafersBass Weejuns Black Leather Larson Loafers
Look Two

Work your trousers in a more casual sense with another spring essential; the chambray shirt.

A light blue chambray shirt pulls in the clean aesthetic of the trousers with a tactile worker-wear effect. Roll the sleeves and trouser hems to add to the off-duty look and finish off with some dark suede desert boots.

  • Levis Chambray ShirtLevis Chambray Shirt
  • Ralph Lauren Black Label James Straight-leg Cotton-blend ChinosRalph Lauren Black Label James Straight-leg Cotton-blend Chinos
  • Allsaints Ridge BootAllsaints Ridge Boot
Look Three

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article on the big print trend currently sweeping men’s fashion. If you have read it, you will know that anchoring with neutrals is the key to pulling off prints – and there are few better neutrals than white.

A print shirt in the mould of the Prada spring/summer 2012 advertising campaign is a great way to adopt the print trend, and using white trousers is the ticket to pulling it off.

Stay stylish with one of Matt Allinson’s top footwear picks, the buck shoe. Opt for a coloured number in a complimentary tone to the shirt in order to give the outfit coherrence and really show off your sartorial skills.

  • Topman Blue Tennis Printed ShirtTopman Blue Tennis Printed Shirt
  • Maison Kitsune White New Chino TrousersMaison Kitsune White New Chino Trousers
  • Sanders Navy Suede Crepe Archie Gibson ShoesSanders Navy Suede Crepe Archie Gibson Shoes
Look Four

Our fourth and final look is a simple, easy smart-casual outfit that will work just as well for a lunch date as it would a day out in the city.

A shirt and waistcoat shouldn’t be confined to the office; take them with you on the day off. However, this time pair alongside your white trousers for a revitalised effect.

Fold up the sleeves of your shirt, leave the tie at home, and leave a button or two undone for a relaxed but put-together appearance.

Suede loafers bring a textured element and leave your ensemble looking nothing like office-wear.

  • Polo Ralph Lauren Pink Stripe Poplin Slim ShirtPolo Ralph Lauren Pink Stripe Poplin Slim Shirt
  • Topman Black 5 Button WaistcoatTopman Black 5 Button Waistcoat
  • Dr.denim Donk ChinoDr.denim Donk Chino
  • Paul Smith Shoes Chocolate Burnished Suede Mancini LoafersPaul Smith Shoes Chocolate Burnished Suede Mancini Loafers

Top tip: The reoccurring pattern of a dark contrast against the white trousers is no coincidence. By creating the contrast you can guarantee your white trousers look will err on the right side of style. While pastels and lighter colours also work well alongside white, it’s always important to consider your skin tone to avoid the ‘washed out’ look.

Essential reading: Our article on how to wear the right colours for your skin tone.

Men’s White Trouser Picks
  • New Look Slim ChinosNew Look Slim Chinos
  • French Connection Machine Gun Stretch TrousersFrench Connection Machine Gun Stretch Trousers
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Plain Custom Fit ChinosPolo Ralph Lauren Plain Custom Fit Chinos
  • American Apparel Cotton Edam Canvas Travel PantAmerican Apparel Cotton Edam Canvas Travel Pant
  • Hentsch Man Joe Slim-fit Cotton ChinosHentsch Man Joe Slim-fit Cotton Chinos
  • Apc Chino TrousersApc Chino Trousers
  • Reiss Senator Slim Casual Trousers PuttyReiss Senator Slim Casual Trousers Putty
  • Incotex Slim-fit Washed-cotton TrousersIncotex Slim-fit Washed-cotton Trousers
  • Alexander Mcqueen Gabardine Cotton TrousersAlexander Mcqueen Gabardine Cotton Trousers
  • Cotton Trousers ´shire6-w By Boss OrangeCotton Trousers ´shire6-w By Boss Orange
  • Apc New Army Chino Gris Clair TrousersApc New Army Chino Gris Clair Trousers
  • Oochin – Slim Fit ChinoOochin - Slim Fit Chino
  • Diesel Percy 00bnq White TrousersDiesel Percy 00bnq White Trousers
  • Topman Tmd Off White Skinny Chino Topman Tmd Off White Skinny Chino
  • American Apparel Oxford Welt Pocket PantAmerican Apparel Oxford Welt Pocket Pant
Conclusion

While white trousers may conjure thoughts of painters, sailors and yacht clubs, that should not discredit their style credentials. A good pair of white trousers are a vital spring/summer buy, especially if shorts are not really to your taste.

I will leave you with one caveat in that if you are going to rock white trousers, be mindful of your underwear. Black could well show through the trousers, so opt for a white or nude pair. We’ll leave discussions of VPLs to your significant other.

  • Are you a big fan of white trousers?
  • How do you style yours?
  • Or have I simply not persuaded you of the essential nature of white legwear?

As usual let us know in the comments below…