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Great Whites: How to Wear the Current Trend

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Just because it’s cold and dark outside doesn’t mean you have to wear dark, drab colors. It’s time to take a tip from the snow and go white. At the recent Screen Actors Guild Awards Lea Michele, Natalie Portman and Amy Adams, amongst others took to the red carpet in elegant white gowns and looked fabulously on trend.

According to  Calvin Klein and Derek Lam’s Spring collections this is going to be a massive look for spring. However, there’s no time like the present and the no-white-after-labor-day rule is old news. White is so now.


Head-to-Toe White
One of the crucial things to remember about pulling off white during the colder months is to remember that it is cold out. It seems obvious but it’s important to dress for the season. Too much skin in the winter, especially skin that hasn’t seen the light of day in several months, will make you look like you just kept wearing your summer wardrobe all through winter. Of course, in current economic times the clever dressers can get away with this with the correct styling.

It’s perfectly fine to wear your white dress with opaque tights, leggings or dark heels. Ginnifer Goodwin, for example, wore black tights and shoes with her white Camilla and Marc dress while Kim Kardashian wore the same dress sans tights. Goodwin looked far edgier and gave the dress the full attention it deserved. Derek Lam’s white dresses were all paired with black stilettos as they strutted down the runway last September. Just remember that tank tops and sundresses are not cold weather appropriate!

Pair White with Off-Whites
If you want to go the whole hog with a head-to-toe white look it’s best to stay away from pure white. Without the tan it just won’t work. For those of us not attending a red carpet event any time soon the best way to wear white is to mix it up with different shades to take the look from sunny summer to crisp winter.A full white outfit in the current weather looks best in a variety of whites, off-whites, taupes, creams and tans.

This combination is a clever way to slim the figure, using the starker whites to emphasize your best assets and the darker shades on the areas you want to conceal.

Layering the different tones adds depth and is an easy way to pull this off. Blake Lively worked this look, wearing a stone colored sheepskin cape over her cream knit dress, brown tights and boots. Copying Lively and teaming the look with a pair of tan or dark boots and throwing on a pair of shades for the sun’s frosty glare, will give the look a touch of coziness and cool.

Mix Textures
Mixing different textures adds a bit of interest to a color that can look a bit boring otherwise. This does not mean floaty fabrics like chiffon or linen. You need to think comfort, warmth and luxury. There is nothing more suitable than a cuddly white piece of knitwear in cashmere, angora or wool. French Connection, Ted Baker and Zara always offer interesting knitwear at reasonable prices, with a variety of cable, aran and crochet knits.

Fur, faux or otherwise, is pure luxury in the warmer whites, while tweed and corduroy are also worth considering. They’re fabrics that are warm, practical, and stylish, and are as suitable for lighter colors as they are the darks. The key to this look is mixing soft with fluffy with bumpy with smooth and wearing it all together.

Sparkling White
Take note of Lea Michele’s Oscar de la Renta dress from the SAG Awards with all its sparkle and glamour. Scarlet Johansson and Sandra Bullock wore similar pale and nude shades to the Golden Globes, also bejeweled and glittering as they made their way down the red carpet, demonstrating that white doesn’t have to be plain but makes a fine partner for all that glitters.
Metal, sequins, beading and rhinestones add shine, depth and interest, while gold accents warm the shade. Accessories are also an easy way to glam up a white outfit. Stacks of gold bangles, a metallic belt, handbag, or a sequined hair band are all easy ways to take a simple white outfit from day to night. H&M does sparkling dresses, tops and accessories to make you dazzle.

The Classic White Shirt
Just like the Chanel 2.55 bag, a good white shirt never goes out of fashion, come rain or shine. The great thing about the white shirt is that it comes in an endless variety of styles so there’s something to suit every body type. The best way to wear a white shirt is with your favorite pair of jeans - simple elegance at its best.

This season in particular, the white shirt has taken on a life of its own. Calvin Klein Collection, Ralph Lauren Collection and Akris are offering up the shirtdress in all different styles.  Jason Wu was all about adding big dramatic bows in delicate materials. Dolce and Gabbana even did a jumpsuit version of the classic white shirt.

However, sometimes sticking with what you know can pay off. Keeping it fresh and crisp, while adding your own stamp to the look with jewelry and accessories is usually the best way to go.  Ann Taylor, GAP and Banana Republic are your best bet for shirts on the high street, while Topshop have a few more interesting styles from the granddad shirt to a 70’s inspired shirtdress for $76.00.

If all else fails your boyfriend’s shirt with a chunky leather belt á la Carrie Bradshaw circa 1998 remains a fun, casual and chic way to rock the look.

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