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Summertime Essentials: How to Wear White Pants

  • Writer: Joe Jarvis
  • Photographer: Claire Curran Corbett

Forget all that “Memorial Day to Labor Day” nonsense. We wear white pants year-round at Trunk Club HQ, and encourage you to do the same. Still, we’re always happy to see more white pants popping up around Memorial Day, and although they make a strong option for colder months, white pants are essential for spring and summer.  Below you’ll find our suggestions for incorporating them into your warm-weather wardrobe.

If you’re familiar with our Six Essentials, you know that versatility is a key factor when we choose clothes for our inventory. That’s part of the reason why we’re big fans of white pants, which you can dress up with blazers, or dress down with casual shirts and sweaters (as we’ll see later in this post). Also, white works with almost every other color, provided that it’s strong. A safe bet for looking good in white pants: Make sure there’s contrast, as with the following outfit. 

Generally speaking, pairing lighter blazers with white pants will give an outfit more of an vacation look. Of course, it’s not a vacation if you already live in Nantucket, where pink blazers and boat shoes are standard. It’s also possible to wear softer, more monochromatic blazers with white pants, but things start to get tricky with neutrals like tan and beige. 

If you’re looking for a blazer for summer, we recommend going with something unstructured. As we mentioned to the folks at Valet magazine, it’s very difficult—but not quite impossible—to strip the lining and padding out of a blazer and still have it drape perfectly. Lucky for those of us who like to wear blazers throughout the warmer months, some brands have mastered the technique.

Our selection of white pants includes both jeans and trousers. Dark denim is a magnet for sunlight, so white jeans offer a solid alternative for summer afternoons spent outdoors. Also, denim is resilient and relatively heavier, so if you plan to wear white pants year round—as you should—jeans will make a good investment. On the other hand, nothing embodies classic summertime style like white trousers.

There’s no doubt that white pants make a statement, but the attention-grabbing factor involves more than just loud color. White pants also carry an enduring association with wealth and prestige. While reporting on the origins of the “no white after Labor Day” nonsense, TIME magazine had this to say about the early 20th century: “…white was the uniform of choice for Americans well-to-do enough to decamp from their city digs to warmer climes for months at a time…”

Able to work with nearly any color, capable of deflecting hot summer rays, and subconsciously associated with prosperity, white pants are the perfect addition to your summer wardrobe. Just don’t be afraid to keep wearing them later this year when the temperatures dip.

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