May 25, 2019
As I continue to minimize my wardrobe (it’s going to take forever!), I try to make a point of keeping individual garments that are most versatile. That’s not to say that every piece of clothing you own should be wearable 10 ways, but for core pieces it’s worth considering.
I bought these a few weeks ago, to replace my old white jeans, which looked as if I’d worn them to clean… something disgusting…
(I don’t consider replacing worn-out garments to be shopping, so by my rules, I haven’t violated my “no shopping in 2019” plan! If you make your own rules, you NEVER break them, right?)
I have some thoughts about the “best” jeans to get – uncomplicated and easy to wear often without them being too memorable, or conflicting with too many of your other clothes:
It’s such fun to put together outfits with something as versatile as white jeans – there’s probably no color that won’t go!
Pastels of all ilk are obvious with white:
Nothing is more timeless than navy and white:
On a really bitter cold day, when there’s no “slush danger,” I think white jeans would be a startling but workable change of pace:
For the patriotic holidays in any number of countries, this would be perfect!
Maybe you have a pair of sandals that will give you an idea…
Maybe your tote bag will suggest something…
You don’t have to actually wear a scarf in warmer weather – you can tie it to your bag, or use it as a belt…
Do you want to wear that dazzling blouse, but want something neutral to tone it down a bit?
Maybe your blazer and blouse need to be made a bit more… approachable?
No, light-colored jeans aren’t an “investment” purchase (remember, garments almost NEVER are investments, in the true sense of the word), but you can easily wear them twice a week for the 3 months of the summer, and that’s not bad!
p.s. What’s the story with clear plastic handbags? Back in the dark ages of my retail career, they were the only thing that we could carry onto the sales floor; for someone not constrained by “loss prevention” policies, I don’t see why they would want the general public to see all of their gear…
p.p.s. What do you think of a “Once a Week” plan in which I took a total of 52 basic garments, and built a core, neutral wardrobe?
Here’s my vote for a ‘once a week’ plan. I read all your ‘starting from scratch’ articles obsessively for a few years until I was able to put my own wardrobe together, so any help you have now is welcome, and much appreciated.
Agreed!! I’d love to see the Once a Week series! I’m a big fan of the Starting from Scratch series, too!
Me three! I’d love to see the “Once a Week” series – a great idea!
A vote from Australia for the Once a Week. This is a great idea not just for what clothes go with what but I have found it fine tuned my summer accessories. I used it to help go through my husband’s and my mum’s wardrobe as well when they asked for some help.
This post was worth waiting for. I hope that you are feeling better. All the outfits are lovely. White jeans are so versatile. A “once a week plan” would be fantastic. I really like seeing how your wardrobes build and coordinate. Mine is still a work in progress.
I have been thinking about going with a core neutral wardrobe and storing my other items and just bringing a few in at a time based on season, mood, colors…I think this will help me keep my wardrobe fresh and fun. But I’m having a hard time deciding on my core neutrals, how many and what they should be. I think some sample wardrobes would be great and very helpful.
You’re in my head, Linda! We recently downsized our home and I have the smallest wardrobe space of my life! Many capsule specialists recommend dark and light neutrals such as black or navy and white, none of which work for me (too dark, too contrasting and too white). Naturally, gray tones work into the above color family but not for me either.
Medium autumn tones are my best neutrals, khakis, tan, camel, olive, then rotate accent colors every 3 or 4 months. Just a thought?I would love to hear more about your wardrobe plan, Linda, and how it’s working for you.
Thanks for brainstorming,
I think we must share the same personal coloring and wardrobe color choices ! I also rotate the seasonal accent colors. I have added light blue as one of my Summer basic colors in addition to those that you mentioned ! As far as dark and light are concerned I do that, but with relatively darker and relatively lighter, not extreme ends of the spectrum.
Your colors are exactly what work best for me, I’m leaning towards browns, creams and camels and I’ve always had olive in my wardrobe, although I still have some black that I won’t part with but I’ll wear black with all my warm neutrals, and then of course denim. I would even rotate neutrals that are more for extreme weather. I’m trying to think about what I could just leave in my closet all year. There are jeans, pants, cardigans, tees etc that I can and do wear anytime of year (I live in new york so I do experience the seasons) but I don’t want to think about my whole wardrobe or closet each season, I want a base that is in there all the time and bring in and out just a few pieces when I feel the need or want a little change, whether they be accent colors, or just pieces that are definitely for one season, like really heavy sweaters, but how much of that do I really need? And how much do I need as my base? I think once I get that set up, coming in and out of a season would be a breeze, and shopping would be at a minimum, plus I think it would be more intentional. I guess that is my ultimate goal.
Sania from Zagreb says
The same with me! I have a pod of each neutrals you listed and rotate them, too. I pick 2-3 neutrals and 2-3 accents and rotate some of them. If that were 6 pods 5 garments each, like in one article that I loved bery much, that would be 30 pcs. Alas I end with larger no of things since obviously my neutral pods are larger. I noticed that I don’t really need more than 30-40 pcs per season but I can’t help it! I find rotating part of colors so exciting! It feels like having a new wardrobe each 3 months!
Yes this! Recently I’ve been thinking about ways to tie my three-season neutrals together. I have a lot of black and decent amount of navy. Building a charcoal grey base, which would work with both, seems a good strategy.
Denim and white are my summer neutrals. I wear dresses to work in warm weather so there’s not much mixing and matching there.
I think the clear bag thing is called a Stadium Bag. Large events; concerts, games, etc. don’t allow regular purses anymore for security reasons. The Stadium bag makes the inspection go quickly.
Ooooohhhh, that makes so much sense – thanks!
There are many high schools that also do not allow anything but clear purses and backpacks out of concern for security. A sad commentary on the state of our nation.
OH my… that is so sad…
I will take any frequency of posting that allows you to take care of your own health and still share your lovely ideas with us.
Yes, that’s true here.The university basketball arena allows only a TINY handbag (think wallet size) plus a 12″ by 12″ clear bag that has to be inspected. Plus we walk through metal detectors. Janice, I love the idea of a weekly post for 52 weeks, but whatever works for you and your health is best.
What a coincidence! My casual Friday office outfit yesterday was my white jeans, a black and white J.Crew shirt, and tribal beaded sandals. I had a black blazer handy.
I love white jeans. Also enjoy mixing mine with olive, khaki, and cream.
Absolutely love the versatility of white bottoms and found through experience that for me, denim is much easier to wear and keep clean than other fabrics. As your post shows, you could wear white jeans every day for two weeks and enjoy a completely different look!
And yes, please do the Once a Week Plan! It sounds fabulous!
Love the idea of your once a week plan so bring it on! Today’s post was worth the wait. Hope you’re feeling better. I’ve never tried jeans from Lands End so I’m curious as to how you like your white jeans from them. Are they opaque enough and fit well without bagging as you wear them?
Hope you are feeling better! I too am in the market t replace my white jeans. I’m frustrated by the quality of the denim. Some are too thick and stiff, others with more stretch are too clingy! I want a lightweight denim that skims rather than hugs. Do you like these Land Ends? Also, I think the Once a Week idea is great. Go for it!
The once a week plan is a winner. The white jeans post is a winner. Checking every one of your fantastic posts is in my Outlook reminder system (like I would need to be reminded to check – HA!). YOU are a winner, Janice. There is no better capsule wardrobe advice available on the planet.
I really enjoy the posts like today’s where you take one item and style it different ways. Also would like to see the core, neutral wardrobe idea. I’ve been doing this for the last two years and love the ease of just buying a couple of new pieces each season to have some color and add a new trend or two. Everything for the season I’m in, fits on a clothes rack in my bathroom so getting dressed is so easy. And I have different color hangers for each season so it’s really easy to switch clothes on my clothes rack when it’s that time.
Nancy Brandeis says
Yes to a once a week core wardrobe plan. I love the idea.
Vancouver Barbara says
I really had not considered the idea of white jeans until you posted today. Now I am thinking… I love what you produced here, it seems so versatile. However when I checked on the jeans no white ones are shown. Perhaps there’s been a run on them since your post. The idea for the core wardrobe plan is a great one. I look forward to seeing it.
There are still some there, and the nice thing about Lands’ End is that they carry petites, talls, and plus sizes! Also, they have a couple of different “cuts”; I wear the mid-rise straight leg, but they also have curvy…
Amy Sheridan says
I love my Lands End jeans. I have a pair in the light beige color, stone?, which I wear all year long. They are really versatile. I prefer that color to white since most of my tops go better with the light beige. Yes to the Once a Week wardrobe! I have used so many of your plans to help me coordinate my simple, casual wardrobe. Thanks and glad you are feeling better.
Today’s post with white jeans got the mind going. Thanks! Your “Once A Week” plan is for sure a Yes.
Erin Roy says
Yay! Worth the wait! I’m so glad you are feeling better today.
I also would like the once a week idea posts. I like the posts that break bigger things down in manageable parts. Especially when it comes to building my wardrobe.
As a born and bred Southern girl the idea of “no white after Labor Day” was part of my genetic make up. But the last couple of years I finally rebelled from that adage. This last winter I was finally confident when I wore white. I received several compliments at church with the addition of “I should try wearing some white, too.” Once fall hits I would love to see some winter white ideas for fall and winter.
So glad you are feeling better! This post was definitely worth the wait. :) For those of you with questions about the Lands End jeans, my experience has been wonderful and I highly recommend them! I had almost given up finding the perfect pair when I decided to give them a try based on a Vivienne post. I am sooo glad I did and have purchased a second pair for spring in a lovely lilac color. The jeans fit and wash well too. I love your idea Janice of a Once a Week Plan! Thank you so much for all of your great work. I can’t tell you how much your work had made a positive impact on my life!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Wishing you a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!!
Love the 52 weeks idea! I think I would find it very helpful. :)
Kim Treadaway says
I have not worn white jeans since the 70’s….remember painters jeans were all the rage???? Worn with tab sleeve cotton blouse. Good times. I would also chime in with a big YES to 52 week wardrobe such fun. I am also glad you are feeling better.
Yes, definitely !
lacrimae rerum says
Ditto on the “hope you are well rested”. And a vote for the “once a week” idea.
This was a lovely post, and the idea works just as well for my favorite jeans color(s) – pale grey(s). I’m a bit embarrassed to admit how many pairs I’ve collected over the years – pale green-grey, pale taupe-grey, pale grey-grey, pale blue-grey. In my defense I keep clothes forever and wear the hell out of them, I love every pair, and the variations of pale grey go beautifully with my best dark colors (dark forest greens and dark cherry/raspberry reds) as well as their lighter warm-weather substitutes. I can pretty much get dressed in the dark if it’s a grey jeans kinda day.
Janice Collins Coyle says
Yes please on the once-a-week plan. Also, I have the Lands End stone color jeans and love them for 3 seasons. They are better for me than the white also and go nicely with virtually everything I own. Wonderful that you are feeling better. Love this post – wow, just plugged in my stone jeans for more ideas on wearing them. Janice Collins Coyle, Washington DC
I gave my white jeans to Goodwill. I just never where colored denim. Slightly off topic, but I found the perfect white tee. It’s the Eddie Bauer favorite tee. Nicely made, sensible vee neck, not baggy or clingy and long enough. Oh, and it’s on sale for $12.50!
Wear. I never wear. Good grief!
I wear white jeans year round. With darker colors in winter and lighter color in spring/summer. You can use bleach pens to keep the fresh. I also have an ecru pair of jeans that work year round. Nice post!
I love your once a week idea! Hope you feel better.
I LOVE white jeans and I’ve worn them when I weighed a lot more-22W to be exact, down at a 14 regular & I have 3 pair in my closet at size 16 that I love.
There is absolutely no reason not to. I’m not about to let other’s limit me by deciding that I am too heavy for enjoyment of white jeans.
I wear them crisp and spotless. I launder them with Oxi Clean.
They make pastels, brights, neons as well a sober neutral shades just shine.
I particularly like them in winter with a creamy Irish wool pullover. And an icy greyed aqua top for my winter icicle iteration. Also a pale grey scoop neck thin merino superwash wool too.
Right now coming into summer I’m pairing mine with my summer navies, a lime green top, an aqua top, some blush pinks, a coral and a pale lemon.
Loved this post showing off the joy of white jeans Janice. Thank you!
I’m 48 and have never owned a pair of white jeans, thanks for the inspiration! Love the idea of a once a week plan.
The 52 item once a week plan sounds good!
The “once a week” sounds great! Hope you are much better. Love and enjoy your every post, such a huge source of inspiration!
I hope you didn’t overstretch yourself to post this. I’m very glad you did post though. Without trying I got 18 outfits following these ideas (red white and blue I have covered multiple ways). There are almost certainly more. And most of them will work just as well with my natural/cream jeans as with my white. Why do I think I have nothing to wear? Thank you.
Janice Utley says
I love that you use Landsend so much in your post. I’ve been a customer since the 80’s and can’t think of anything negative to say about their products or customer service. This is a company that took back monogrammed luggage ?. I can truly say I have nearly ALL of the items in one color or another you use in your post. If someone hasn’t tried them they should. Thanks for supporting a great American company. Look forward to your ideas each week. PS love my white jeans, got the stain resistant one a couple of years ago.
@ Janice Utley: I like LE for basics, and their service is great. They made a mistake on an order (I was on vacation and the clothes were supposed to be what I would wear!) and fast-shipped replacements for free. Though they are an American company, nearly all of the clothes are imported, though.
I buy almost exclusively from lands end. I love everything but could not find winter jackets that kept me dry on the oregon coast. they are well made but apparently they and i have a different understanding of what waterproof means…
Deborah Singh-Boos says
Hope you are feeling better. I would love the once a week post. I don’t wear white pants as my pre-menopausal years of heavy flows and staining cured me of that. I do have a white midi skirt which I imagine would work just as well. Thanks for the lovely ideas. The posts I enjoy the most are the ones where you take one garment and style it many ways be it a dress, skirt or in this instance pants. I look forward to more posts like this one. Thanks again.
I have just bought a new pair of white jeans and am finding them incredibly versatile they go with nearly every colour and most of the tops that I own. We don’t need a vast wardrobe to look chic.
Ditto everyone else re Once a Week and cheers for feeling better. Thanks for pointing out white jeans do not make women look bigger. It is the cut of any jean that makes the difference.
I live in Montréal; it’s dark and cold 5 months of the year, so when I can wear white jeans, such a lighthearted change. Usually with a mariniére. BTW I’m shocked at price of some jeans; why spend more than the LE pair you show? (I posted recently on Tonne Goodman and her white jeans.)
Cathy Wood says
Most stadiums, arenas, etc., only allow clear handbags of specific dimensions anymore. It’s smart to keep a sturdy & clear cross body on hand for ballgames & concerts & such. Football fans buy them with the bag’s borders in team colors.
I love the once a week idea too.
I love the look of white jeans but I’ve always struggled with two questions: 1. Am I the only one who finds jeans too hot to wear in the summer? 2. Do white jeans really work in the winter? I live in a northern climate and I think they would just look too summery in February? (Not to mention the potential for slush/dirt all over them.) How do people resolve these issues
I only wear my jeans on coolish summer days – today, where the temperature is in the low 60’s, they would be perfect. And in the winter, I only wear them when it’s bitterly cold, as in too cold for there to be much slush. Or on one of those days when there’s absolutely no snow anywhere…
I’ve never tried men’s tee shirts as in the pale blue Banana Republic shirt, but the idea of having access to so many more colors is appealing.
Between Memorial Day and Labor Day I absolutely live in white jeans (and white jean capris). They go with every single thing – as you have shown in this fun post. And they look crisp, and I feel cooler even when the temps are high. Here in Georgia I wear ankle length, or longer, if I’m going to be indoors (because of ubiquitous cold AC) or in the evening once the sun has lost its heat. – nancyo
Lisa Laree says
I just purchased a pair of those white jeans from LE about a month ago. LOVE THEM.