The Rules for Wearing White Pants

Fashion contributor Najwa Moses looks at a popular summer fashion — and possible summer faux pas: white pants. She shares tips for what to shop for, depending on your body type.

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I'm Alex Chadwick, back again with DAY TO DAY, which boasts NPR's most stylish staff. This season, that means light, bright and white. DAY TO DAY fashion contributor Najwa Moses has been stalking the showrooms of New York from Flatbush to Manhattan on a personal quest.


My mission? White jeans with a comfy Lycra waistband and under 40 bucks. After trying on pairs that were too small, too big, too thin, too thick, too white, not white enough, too many pockets, too few, the capri, the cargo, the slim-fit, boot-cut and the cigarette pants, I decided I needed a break because no one should spend five hours looking for a pair of white jeans.

But I was possessed and, though I never did I find my great white pair, I did get a few white wear tips from perky hipster salespeople. White jeans are in, but you must be aware of your body type. If your treadmill serves as a clothing rack, go with a heavier fabric with stretch, since white jeans tend to show every flaw on your butt. Ladies on the petite side, go with a fitted pair instead of a baggy fit, or opt for a white mini or shorts so you don't get lost in a sea of white. White jeans that have smaller pockets and detailed stitching are great for those who are J. Lo curvy. This style will give you a more proportionate look. And if you need to add curves, try a tuxedo pants style with a cropped blazer in a bright color.

While wearing white, always wear flesh-colored underwear, not white, which tends to show through. White makes anything look bigger because it reflects light, so don't wear it on the bigger parts of your body unless you want everyone's eyes there.

And not to leave the boys out, other than the all-too-popular white T-shirt, you can now pair your jeans or slacks out with a white blazer or go with an all-white ensemble complete with loafers in browns or dark blues, in soft leathers or muted suedes.

Whatever white piece you decide to purchase, have fun, feel free to wear it after Labor Day, and bring yourself a few energy bars during your search. It could take a while.

CHADWICK: Najwa Moses, fashion writer living in Brooklyn, New York.

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