White Out

For the past couple of seasons, men’s fashion has been obsessed with pattern and colour. With the modern male becoming more adventurous with their styling choices and the way they dress on a daily basis, the industry has responded by producing collections full of vibrant hues, bold prints and statement garments that are designed to draw attention.

Although these themes are again making their presence felt within SS14 collections, it seems both designers and the general public are pining for simpler times. Minimalism is set to be a key focus throughout 2014, while AW13’s tonal outfitting trend has given rise to the ‘All Navy Everything Look’ that is currently sweeping through the menswear community.

This season, white is being thrust into the spotlight. An extremely common colour choice for the majority of men, the classic white t-shirt and Oxford cloth button-down have long cemented themselves as wardrobe essentials that men continue to reach for, day in, day out.

However, all-white outfits are a much less common occurrence, and this is why the new white-on-white trend is set to make such a visual impact…

On The Runways

Somewhat surprisingly, several designers included white suiting within their SS14 collections.

Jil Sander, in particular, fully embraced all-white tailoring. The very first outfit sent down the runway combined a white overcoat, shirt and tailored trousers with white lace-up shoes for a strikingly crisp aesthetic that set the tone for the rest of the show.

Sander went on to showcase a wide selection of white blazers, which were matched with white cropped trousers or shorts for a more summery feel.

Bold coral pink waistcoats were incorporated within a couple of the white-on-white looks, which really popped due to the stark, neutral backdrop:

Similarly, design duo Dolce & Gabbana made white tailoring the focus of their SS14 showcase. The entire D&G collection was influenced by Ancient Greece and Greek mythology – which immediately conjures images of white, toga-like fabrics – and the runway show did not disappoint.

A range of slim-fit, double- and single-breasted jackets were paired with white trousers and shoes, which contrasted excellently against the tanned olive skin and dark features of the Sicilian models.

Dolce & Gabbana also tweaked the white-on-white trend slightly by including pieces in shades of cream and ecru. Although not as visually striking as all-white, these tonal ensembles still retained an elegant, crisp air:

Opting for a smart-casual take on the trend, Berluti’s superb collection showcased a range of classically styled looks.

With a clear nod to 1920s silhouettes and cuts, one standout ensemble saw a double-breasted white linen blazer paired with white trousers and a classic white shirt, complete with grey bow tie. Finished with white lace-ups and a quirky white boater hat, the outfit had a real Gatsby-esque feel to it.

Another model was sent down the runway in a white unstructured double-breasted blazer, which was paired with matching wide-leg trousers and an open white shirt for a more casual feel. The use of black and white two-tone patent shoes offered a striking monochrome colour contrast and helped anchor the look:

Key Show: Emporio Armani

Our favourite designer collection to feature all-white ensembles came from Emporio Armani.

Although the suiting sent down the runway was smart, sharp and crisp, the fabrics chosen and addition of grey/white trainers/loafers added a younger, more relaxed feel to the overall aesthetic.

This dressed down approach was epitomised by a white biker jacket and trousers combination, which was perfectly accessorised with a white leather tote. The brand also paired crisp white blazers with off-white trousers, creating an interesting two-tone take on the trend.

There was a clear sportswear influence running throughout the collection. One outfit even saw white basketball-style shorts paired with a white t-shirt, zip-up track jacket and barrel bag for that ‘just off to the gym’ look:

The Fashion Press

The reaction to the all-white trend has been pretty positive, with GQ writing that: “Head-to-toe white was the most noticeable trend to come off the catwalks this season. Trust us, a bright white suit is going to be essential to your summer wardrobe this time next year.”

This was supported by Details, which highlighted the prevalence of white tailoring at the global SS14 fashion weeks. In the UK, broadsheet newspaper The Independent singled out the Jil Sander runway show for praise and described the shade used as almost “neon white”.

Similarly, The Telegraph featured a piece on the spring trends that should be on every man’s radar, identifying white as SS14’s key colour: “Fashion houses as diverse as Lanvin, Louis Vuitton, Jil Sander and Berluti are in agreement that white is the must-have colour of the season… To get it right, team white with white into one great, glaring outfit, ready for spills and stains.”

How To Wear: Key Considerations

Clearly, the white-on-white trend is a bold statement. But there’s no denying that it’s a perfect choice for summer and offers a refreshing change to the bright colours and patterns that have inundated menswear in recent seasons.

All-white tailoring can be particularly difficult to pull off, and it is important to ensure that you consider the occasion. For example, an all-white suit is much more appropriate for a smart-casual summer event – such as a garden party or beach wedding – than it is the office.

Also be aware that tones of white and cream naturally add bulk/size to your frame. Great if you’re a skinny male and want to create the illusion of broader shoulders, but not so great if you’re a larger gentleman and want to create the appearance of a slimmer, more streamlined silhouette.

Finally, there’s no getting away from the practicality aspect. White is much more susceptible to stains and dirt than other hues, and the colour often loses its lustre after just a few washes. Walking the runway in a perfectly tailored, crisp white suit is always going to look more impressive than walking your local high street with coffee stains on your jacket lapels and dirt on your trouser hems.

Having said all that, the white-on-white trend can work successfully, for those confident enough to try it.

You don’t have to go all in with a pristine white suit. Start off small by adding a versatile pair of white jeans to your wardrobe and matching them with a white tee, polo or button-down shirt on a hot summer’s day. Bring in accent colours via your accessories or footwear to help break up your look slightly and build from there.

Lookbook Inspiration

h&m summer 2013 el burgues ss13 m&s best of british ss14 reiss ss14 Gieves & Hawkes ss13 tommy hilfiger tailored ss14 zara man april 2011 el burgues ss14 paul & joe ss13

Key Pieces
  • Topman White Zips Skater T-shirt
  • Etro Beaded Embroidered Cotton Shirt
  • Topman Off White Zip Through Bomber
  • Asos Skinny Fit Blazer With Leather Look Collar
  • Topman White Grey Contrast Short Sleeve Smart Shirt
  • Topman Ecru Denim Western Jacket
  • Reiss 1971 St Tropez Twill Denim Jeans White
  • Hartford Linen Shorts
  • Topman White Open Mesh Jumper
  • He By Mango Slim-fit 5 Pocket Cotton Trousers
  • Allsaints Bramford Polo
  • River Island White Chino Shorts
  • Ann Demeulemeester Unstructured Regular-fit Woven-cotton Suit
  • Massimo Alba Slub Linen-jersey Henley T-shirt
  • Richard Nicoll Skinny Leather Belt 188288
  • Gianvito Rossi Full-grain Leather High-top Sneakers
  • Asos Derby Shoes In Leather
  • Topman Dr Martens White Leather Original Shoes
Final Word

Although this is a trend that raises real practicality concerns, especially for those who don’t live in hot climates, the white-on-white trend is undeniably striking and cannot fail to get you noticed this season.

Perhaps best suited to a high summer daytime event or holidaying abroad, an all-white outfit oozes Mediterranean/Riviera appeal and looks effortlessly chic when you get it right.

But now it’s time for your view:

  • What do you make of the white-on-white trend?
  • Is is something you would consider experimenting with this season?
  • Or do you consider it completely impractical?
  • Will you be adding white tailoring to your wardrobe?

As always, we welcome your thoughts and musings below…