When it comes to style, sometimes less really is more. As much as bright colours and vivid prints have their place in every man’s warm-weather wardrobe, the power of taking a minimal approach should not be underestimated.
Much of the popularity of the white-on-white look is down to its clean, fresh and contemporary feel. Sometimes – while everyone else is busy making statements with eye-catching hues and clashing patterns – all it takes is a neutral ensemble to set a man apart from his peers.
But what’s the best way to approach all-white dressing? We turn to the runway and high street for inspiration on how to go white-on-white this season.
On The Runway
Although the all-white look was a key trend back in 2014, its popularity last summer obviously played a big part in the pared-back style’s return for spring/summer 2015.
Lou Dalton set the tone at London Collections: Men – the British designer’s first outfit saw a sporty white bomber jacket teamed with a white top, tapered trousers and slip-on shoes.
She then followed this up with a crisp white shorts suit combined with a plain white T-shirt and bright white lace-ups:
Elsewhere, Louis Vuitton took a typically lavish approach by styling a luxurious double-breasted blazer in an off-white hue with a white roll neck, trousers and shoes. Pops of colour were added to the look through a pocket square and briefcase.
Many respected tailoring brands took a similar approach, with the likes of Burberry Prorsum, Dior Homme, Gieves & Hawkes, Etro, Gucci and Richard James all sending white or off-white suiting in a variety of cuts and shapes down the runway:
At the other end of the spectrum, Christopher Shannon and Neil Barrett channelled the minimalist all-white trend via their signature sports-inspired apparel, while Todd Snyder, Y-3 and Jil Sander were just some of the other brands who opted for a similarly relaxed take on the trend:
Caring For White Clothing
As the runway proves, when pulled off well, all-white outfits can look clean, modern and refreshing. However, to achieve a similar effect you’ll need to keep your white attire stain-free and looking its best.
With this in mind, here are some no-nonsense ways to care for your white clothing and accessories:
- It sounds obvious, but it’s best to avoid certain foods and drinks when sporting white-on-white. Of course, no-one wants to have to stop drinking red wine or skip putting ketchup on their burger in the name of fashion, but a little bit of common sense and general awareness goes a long way here.
- If you do have a chianti-related catastrophe or a mishap with marinara, the worst thing you can do is let the stain dry. Wet the affected area and, as soon as you can, plunge the stained garment into four litres of warm water with a scoop of stain removing agent such as Vanish. Leave it to soak for six hours, cross your fingers, and then wash the garment as you normally would (with an extra scoop of stain removing agent for luck) and the stain should hopefully disappear.
- Wash whites separately. Don’t even think about throwing those pale grey chinos in with your white clothing – even light garments will lose some of their dye in the wash and can make your whites appear duller.
- Don’t overload your washing machine; if the barrel is full to the brim, there won’t be enough room for the detergent to interact with soiled garments.
- If your whites have started to fade to grey, use a specialist detergent that’s designed to restore their lustre (lemon juice and white, distilled vinegar are more affordable alternatives) and dry your garments outside – ultraviolet sun rays will help to brighten your white clothes.
For more detailed care tips, check out this WikiHow article.
General Tips On Wearing All-White
Now that you’ve been suitably briefed on looking after your white attire, we’re going to show you how to nail the white-on-white trend.
But before we start, let’s go over our tonal outfit basics:
- The key to crafting a stylish single colour look is to create clear separation between each piece. The easiest way to do this is by mixing up your shades. There is no rule that states you must stick to pure white here – hues such as off-white, cream, ivory, eggshell and light beige complement white perfectly and will help create that subtle definition we desire.
- Similarly, you can differentiate through texture – e.g. mix white pieces in leather, cotton, nylon and linen to keep your look visually rich.
- A neutral, all-white base gives you free reign to add pops of colour to your look. Utilise accents such as watches, belts and even shoes to inject life and vibrancy where required.
Ways To Wear: Smart-Casual
The perfect way to stay looking sharp while keeping your cool in the heat: a smart-casual approach to white-on-white works extremely well for high summer events, as well as evenings out while on holiday.
Key pieces you should be looking to invest in include a quality lightweight blazer and a pair of slim-cut white trousers, chinos or tailored shorts. Timeless and versatile, each of these items can be combined with everything you have in your wardrobe, making them a solid addition to your separates collection.
Team with other white smart-casual staples you own, such as Oxford/linen shirts, knitted/pique polos, crew neck T-shirts and long-sleeved tops to craft sharp, warm-weather-appropriate looks for any occasion.
- He By Mango Cable-knit Cotton Sweater
- Asos Slim Fit Smart Shorts In 100% Linen
- Suitsupply Havana White Plain
- He By Mango Cotton Chinos
- John Smedley Noah Knitted Polo Jumper
- Reiss Redmayne Short Sleeve Shirt
- J.crew Button-down Collar Cotton Oxford Shirt
- Burberry Prorsum White Cotton-twill Blazer
- Ps By Paul Smith Slim-fit Cotton-blend Trousers
- Reiss Blackbird Slim-fit Jeans
- Reiss Parry Patch Pocket Polo Shirt
- Kg Kurt Geiger Oxton Casual Derby Shoes
Ways To Wear: Casual Sportswear
White has been an integral element of sportswear since the first short-sleeved tennis shirts emerged at the beginning of the 20th century.
With sports luxe still very much making its presence felt this season, a sportier white-on-white angle is ideal for those of us looking for something more relaxed and resolutely contemporary.
Start out by sourcing some classic sports-inspired separates like a white crew neck sweatshirt, cotton/nylon bomber jacket and a pair of form-flattering joggers or jersey shorts. Use these easy pieces to form the core of your look, and flesh out with other street- and sportswear staples such as vests, T-shirts, hoodies and minimal leather trainers.
A white longline tee would also make a great investment this summer given the anti-fit trend’s current influence. Just don’t go spending too much on this piece; chances are this trend will wane over time.
- J. Crew Lightweight Sweatshirt
- Asos Bomber Jacket
- Billionaire Boys Club X Majestic Baseball Jersey
- Nike Jordan Trillionaire Shorts
- Asos Super Longline T-shirt With Scooped Hem
- Nike Knows Franchise Airtex Mesh Jersey Tee In White
- Fila Saturn 2 Track Top
- River Island White Bonded Cuffed Joggers
- Jersey Front Panel Knit Tee
- Nike Mens White Classic Lunar Deluxe Sneakers
- Herschel Supply Co. Sutton Studio Tarpaulin Holdall In White
- Stussy Ss Link Tour Snapback Cap
Ways To Wear: The Full Suit
While never really practical, there are occasions where a white suit is appropriate. If you’ve got a formal summer event or two pencilled in for the coming months, then this could be just the thing to turn heads.
It’s imperative you nail the basics here – i.e. make sure your suit is tailored to perfection (even if you do opt for linen) and fleshed out with accents that lend depth. While a white suit teamed with accessories in exactly the same shade might work on a (retouched) model in a magazine editorial, in the real world you’ll want to consider lighter neutral colours (beige, stone, tan, eggshell) or pastel shades for your pocket square, tie, belt and shoes.
As well as giving you a smart summertime ensemble with a soft edge, remember that your suit can be split up and worn as separates – providing you with the two core pieces we previously recommended in the smart-casual section and ensuring you get much more value for money than you might have originally thought.
- Noose & Monkey Tuxedo Suit Jacket Inskinny Fit
- Suitsupply Havana White Stripe
- Suitsupply Madison Off White Plain
- Reiss Jake B Shawl Collar Blazer
- Calvin Klein Collection Stone Thompson Slim-fit Linen Suit Jacket
- Richard James Off-white Slim-fit Linen Suit Jacket
From sports-inspired minimalism to sharp sartorial style, white-on-white pieces will ensure you make an effortless but powerful statement through your wardrobe this season.
But now you’ve heard from us, it’s your turn to have your say. Will you be rocking the white-on-white look this spring/summer or does the fear of spilling sauce on your getup scare you away?
Let us know in the comments below.