There’s something cool and refreshing about white clothing
that makes it chic on even the hottest days. Since it
reflects light and absorbs perspiration, making it less
noticeable than other colors, the wearer looks cool and
collected, even when the temperature soars. Small wonder
then that white has been a long-time favorite of residents
of hot, tropical climates.
Now that the Memorial Day holiday has come and gone in the
United States and temperatures are beginning to rise all
over the Northern Hemisphere, it’s time to take a quick
look at some basic guidelines for wearing white. While
some of the old “rules” have begun to relax in recent
years, there are still a couple of things to remember when
1. Always Wear Flesh-Colored Undergarments
Years ago, the rule was to wear white under white. Not
anymore. Since white bra, panty, and camisole lines tend
to show through, your undergarments will be less obtrusive
in flesh tones. Look for pieces that closely match your
natural skin tone to create a clean, seamless look.
2. Be Careful Where You Put Your White
Since white reflects light and makes anything it’s put on
look bigger, don’t put it all by itself on your largest
body part, like your chest, hips, or thighs, because it
will only make it look bigger. Instead, opt for white
monochromatic (all one color) ensembles, which elongate,
put white on a small body part, or use white to accentuate
a figure asset.
3. Steer Clear of White Hosiery
Unless you’re a nurse, a bride, or under age 5, white
hosiery has no place in your wardrobe. Yes, it was popular
20 years ago thanks to Diana, the late Princess of Wales,
because it did for her what it does for everyone: it
“chopped her up” visually and made her look shorter. Which
is fine if you’re a tall princess trying to look shorter
than your prince – but not so great if you’re short,
medium, or plus size, trying to look taller and slimmer.
4. Think Twice About Wearing White Shoes
White shoes scream “summer!” and are a popular choice for
warm weather months. But since white shoes make your feet
look bigger and can also visually “chop up” your leg and
make you look shorter, they may not be the best choice for
your image goals. Look for shoe styles that elongate, or
steer clear of white shoes entirely and opt for
flesh-colored shoes instead.
5. Don’t Wear White to a Wedding
Unless you’re the bride or in the bridal party, don’t wear
all-white to a wedding. While a white blouse worn under a
different-colored garment is okay (like a pastel suit, for
example) the tradition still holds firm: white is reserved
for the bridal party. Don’t try to compete with the bride
on her big day.
Finally, if you don’t like the way white looks on you or
if white just “isn’t your color,” try an off-white shade
instead like ivory, eggshell, or oyster. Pure white looks
good on only a fraction of the population, so don’t
despair; try another shade instead.
Wearing white is a great way to look chic, stay cool, and
enjoy the warm weather months. If you employ these tips
when you dress, you can look calm, cool, and collected –
even on the hottest days.
Diana Pemberton-Sikes is a wardrobe and image consultant and author of “Wardrobe Magic,” an ebook that shows women how to transform their unruly closets into workable, wearable wardrobes.