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ways to wear: white jeans

You’re reading the title of this post and thinking that I don’t know that it’s December. I do. A NYC friend (thanks Kim!) recently mentioned that she loves her white jeans. Then I started thinking about my white jeans, and how I might wear them in the winter. So here you are: one pair of white jeans (Citizens of Humanity, Ava, $164, hemmed to 26.5 inches)–four doable winter looks. Doable, that is, provided the weather is cold and dry. I’d advise you not to try any of these outfits in the rain.

A word on white jeans. In terms of fit, white jeans rank right up there with swimwear in difficulty. If you haven’t sobbed or screamed in horror in a dressing room while trying a pair of white jeans, you are made of tougher stuff than me.

You should accept from the outset that your thighs and butt will look bigger in white jeans. What you should NOT accept are white jeans that are transparent or make your legs look dimpled from the outside. If you have jeans that are doing this, let me suggest that it’s not you, it’s the jeans. With white jeans, I think too much stretch works against you. I don’t know why, but that’s been my experience. Try a stiffer denim (one with a higher cotton percentage vs. the stretchy stuff). Also, you may look better in white jeans that are a size or two bigger than your normal size. I think the Citizens of Humanity pair shown here, in the color Santorini, are probably the most forgiving that I’ve tried in a while. They are still available online, at Nordstrom and elsewhere.

White on White

I love white on white during the summer, but it looks even cooler in the winter because it is unexpected. You can’t just walk out in a cotton shirt and cropped jeans though, so throw on a blazer or cardigan. Nothing too dark. Stay with neutrals and your outfit will look soft and cozy–the fashion equivalent of a mug of eggnog.


I bought this shirt at the Gap about three years ago for $48. It is a lovely, delicate thing that promptly fell apart upon first wash. That’s not the Gap’s fault, that’s my fault, for throwing it in with a load of towels. The embroidery is torn and the hems are frayed, and still I cannot let it go. I actually searched eBay to see if anyone might be selling the same shirt, but try searching “white shirt from the Gap” on eBay and see where that gets you. If, by chance, you own this shirt in a size large, I will buy it from you. Just name your price.

Work Whites

We live in an age of political correctness and workplace harassment suits, where management is understandably hesitant to get into matters of workplace dress with female employees. So take advantage. In my book, if you wear non-blue jeans with a top long enough to cover the jean detailing at the waist and pockets, they aren’t really jeans. To really throw your boss off the scent, though, I’d pair the pants with a buttoned-up top and work flats. I like this outfit because of the shrunken proportions and the graphic punch of the black, white, and orange-red.

Bundle Up

The sweater below is one of my favorites, although I can’t eat anything in it because of the sleeves. Who needs food when you have a sweater this awesome? That’s a joke. I do. I need food even with a sweater this awesome.

If you have a bunch of neutrals laying around, trying punching them up with some neon. American Apparel sold these highlighter tanks over the summer and I can’t wait for May so I can buy some more.

Ahoy Matey

I’ve had at least four people ask me why I look down in the photos on this blog. I look down because I want you to look at the clothes, not my face, which generally reflects the exhaustion I feel. In any event, white jeans always look good with navy, and stripes. Always. Since it’s winter, pile it all on, as I’ve done below. Going warm on top will distract you from your numb ankles.

Note: I wear cropped jeans year-round, and if there’s one thing that will kill a pair of cropped jeans, it’s socks. So I don’t wear socks most of the year, no matter how cold it gets. Sometimes style has to give way to comfort, and sometimes comfort has to give way to style. I refuse to wear thongs no matter how visible my panty line. Pick your battle, right? Anyway, if you don’t mind your ankles getting a little cold, a cropped length is great for white jeans because they won’t gather as much dust at the hem. If you choose to go cropped and insist on wearing the jeans with socks, go with God, and don’t say yoonanimous sent you.

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14 Comments Post a comment
  1. Kate #

    Hi Yoona, I just happened across your site. I have some white Hudson maternity jeans and am wondering how I can pull them off in the winter. They’re bootcut and, being pregnant I find I can’t really wear heels and have been opting for comfort…I was wondering if fitflop clogs would work? In a brown/mushroom color? If not, could you give me some pointers? Thank you so much…I shall be adding this to reader šŸ™‚

    September 6, 2012
    • hey kate…i find white jeans kind of tricky when they are full length. and even tougher in the winter. i’d probably wear a pair of retro sneakers with them (like white jeans with a pair of white jack purcells, think lauren hutton), but otherwise, maybe try like a flat chukka boot? in light suede maybe? clogs might work fine too. i would just make sure the brown is not too dark, because i think having too severe a contrast between the shoe and the white jeans looks off. you could also just do a ballet flat in a more wintry texture, like maybe a light gray flannel flat. i hope that helps a bit, but to be honest, you’ve kind of stumped me. congratulations on being pregnant!

      September 9, 2012
  2. amandafiona #

    sweeet. I got some white jeans after christmas and it honestly JUST occurred to me that I could be wearing them now, haha. It’s going to be slightly trickier given that I am in Ottawa (i.e. several feet of snow, below freezing temps for at least 2 more months), but I’m going try šŸ™‚

    February 8, 2012
  3. Nice post:) you inspire me to get a pair of white jeans asap:)

    January 8, 2012
  4. You are absoutely adorable and if we were friends you’d be the one I’d come to for fashion advice all the time. This is my favorite section of your blog.
    I just have on quick question: I’m short, curvy and teeny tiny (105lbs, 5’3″) would the styles you suggested above look good on me? I’m desperate to break out my white jeans, but I’m never happy with any of the tops that I have.

    January 5, 2012
    • thanks flutterbrush. lucky you for being curvy and teeny! i’d definitely try the second outfit with the smaller proportions, and the fourth with the blazer. try the white jeans with a wedge boot to lengthen your line.

      January 5, 2012
  5. Dear Yoona, Hope you’re enjoying your trip and if not, know you’ll back to zumba out your frustration very soon. Anyway, you’ll be pleased to know I broke out my magenta and red yesterday (red patent driving moc with magenta top), and while I shopped a few of the sales I found an amazing deal – BR black patent penny loafer ($85 sale price, less 40% sale, less my 15% coupon plus my $50 earned Banana bucks and they ended up free!). I know I can do them with skinny jeans but not sure what else. Please advise.

    December 24, 2011
    • Dear Whitney,

      Here’s one thing I wouldn’t wear those shoes with–white jeans. For some reason, every black shoe I tried with the white jeans looked wrong. But so many other fun ideas for those loafers–how about a slouchy wool pant in a fun color, or a short kilt-type skirt? Or a pencil skirt in leopard? I’ll keep thinking…

      Yoonanimously Yours

      December 30, 2011
  6. Kim Chapman #

    I am so honored to be mentioned in your blog! You look amazing in those jeans. I love all the outfits – you are definitely doing white jeans in the winter better than I am. Please post next about how to obtain that figure after having two kids. I await your instructions.

    December 20, 2011
    • ha. how about “chasing the kids around” and “no time to eat?” i’m kidding, i hate it when people say that. i started eating veggie/fruit smoothies for breakfast and that’s helped because i don’t eat pastries in the AM. how’s that for a hot tip? šŸ™‚

      December 21, 2011
  7. Elizabeth #

    Yoona: Long time reader, first time poster. I want a sweater exactly that awesome. Is it still at Nordstrom?

    December 19, 2011
    • Hey Elizabeth! Last I saw it was last winter on the sale rack. I’ll keep an eye out for a similar style…

      December 20, 2011
  8. Veronica #

    You are right Yoona….the Citizens “Ava” are THE best pair of white jeans I’ve ever tried on. I actually had a pair ordered for me at the beginning of summer before I found out I was pregnant. I sadly returned them before I ever got to strut my stuff in them so I could spend the hard earned cash on a pair of dark denim stretchy maternity jeans….yay. I love the winter white! And HOT DAMN those jeans look fabulous on you.

    December 19, 2011
    • Make sure to tell Audrey about the very first sacrifice you made for her: your white jeans. You’ll be in them again in no time…

      December 19, 2011

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