We’ve all heard one of fashion’s oldest and most outdated myths: “Do not, under any circumstances, wear white pants after Labor Day.”
According to Harper’s Bazaar, though it is unclear who invented this fashion rule, it is believed to have originated among the wealthy in 19th century America as a way for the upper class to distinguish themselves from the “burgeoning nouveau riche.” Only those who could afford to wear white would, and as upper-class Americans escaped the heat of the city to the clean, airy seaside or countryside for the summer, white clothes became a sign of separation from industrialized urban areas.
Celebrities have historically made a show of wearing white pants in a radiant way, from Meredith Blake waking up on a blowup mattress in the middle of a lake in “Parent Trap” to Diane Keaton giggling on the beach with Jack Nicolson in “Something’s Gotta Give.” White pants are effortlessly brilliant, and these women are just two beloved figures to prove it. With white shoes and “winter whites” now entering the market in droves, whites are becoming a cherished and desirable cold-temperature staple. Kendall Jenner in her wooden-heel white booties, Selena Gomez in her classic block-heeled cream boots and Gigi Hadid in her white sock boots during the chilliest months are paving the way for a new age in fashion. But the question of where pants fit into the picture remains hazy and uncertain for the world of fashion.
If shoes are welcomed, why are pants banished for months, only to return when this baseless rule deems acceptable? It is time to stop asking if it is okay to wear white pants after Labor Day, and it is time to start celebrating this wondrous year-round staple. You may find that they are just as important as any other staple in your closet, and you may just discover they work even better in cold temperatures than they do by the ocean. So here is my ode to you, white pants.
You are delicate and fragile, and you stain with the ease of a touch. But oh, white pants, how I love you so. You go with everything, and I can wear you a million times. You create something different each time I put you on, and you pair easily with the rest of my cold-winter wardrobe. You are effortlessly chic when paired with a black top, presenting a perfect Jackie Kennedy moment. You serve fall vibes with brown boots and a neutral jacket, and then strike again for holiday cheer and winter days with chunky knits and sleek coats. In the summer months, you are airy and light with a strappy tank and sandy flip flops. You are striking and daring, but a staple, nonetheless. Though I love my favorite blue jeans and sweatpants, they simply cannot do what you do. You are a luxury life hack, there for me day or night. You are a clean slate for any winter wardrobe. And for that, an ode to you, white pants.
“No matter the season, I think white jeans should always be a closet staple. Who said there should be rules when it comes to fashion?” said Caroline Summers, a Madewell Influencer and business student at Villanova.
If you are looking to add to your white pant wardrobe this season, here are some places to start:
For Eco-friendly options, check out Baldwin, Reformation, ABLE or Genetic Los Angeles. Anthropologie: Pilcro The Cigarette Slim Straight Jeans $128.00
Madewell: The Perfect Vintage Jean in Tile White $79.99
Zara: ZW The High Waist Culottes Jeans $49.90
Zara: Z1975 Flared Jeans $45.90
ASOS: Noisy May Mom Jeans in white $60.00