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How To Avoid A White Denim Disaster

When I think of white jeans, images of Elizabeth Hurley and Heidi Pratt immediately spring to mind. The former in her too-tight boot cuts and cashmere sweaters, the latter in her drag queen shoes, white skinnies and cleavage-revealing tops.

White jeans can be a sartorial saviour, especially in Ireland when early May feels more like October. Right now, the days are long and bright, so black jeans and those indigo denims you’ve been wearing all winter begin to feel a little stale, but the breeze will cut through you so the sturdiness of denim is still preferable to high summer’s lightweight linens. White denim, therefore, seems like the easy answer.

But there are pitfalls. Anything white shouldn’t be too tight. The cut you choose in a pair of white denims will often differ from those you wear in a blue, indigo or black wash. White skinnies smartened up with heels just feels a little too noughties now. For a more modern vibe, go for a slim leg rather than a skinny, and wear with trainers and a deconstructed shirt or a slogan sweatshirt. The trick is to inject a laid-back insouciance to this look and avoid the kind of uptight, Barbie-ish style that Pratt pioneered.

Distressed slim-leg jeans, J Brand, €260 at net-a-porter.com

There are a lot of wide-leg cropped white jeans in the mix right now, culottes effectively. They feel modern and fresh and are an easier way to work heels into your outfit if you’re not a flat shoe devotee. You can afford to vamp up your look a little when wearing denim culottes because the fluidity of the wide-leg will balance out a fitted top, or a cropped top if you’re brave enough. Great style is so much about balance and clever use of contrasts. Nothing about this outfit, below, looks trashy because the loose-fitting pants bring a cool nonchalance to the whole look that eliminates any downmarket associations you might make with a cropped bra top were it worn with a mini skirt or hip-skimming skinnies.

Cropped high-waisted jeans with belt, €29.95 at Zara

According to what the stars of the fashion front row are wearing right now, denim skirts are back in a big way, from button-front Seventies style to distressed minis. French label Maje recently introduced its denim capsule collection, which includes this white mini skirt with multicoloured trim, below. The trim really adds newness to what could be a pretty nondescript item. The way to wear this is, again, by injecting a low-key vibe to your look. Try the skirt with a pair of loafer-style mules – Gucci are the ones to own if you can afford them, but River Island and Zara have some terrific options. A simple, but good-quality T-shirt will finish the look. Try Vince or Finery London.

Short multicoloured denim skirt, €135 at Maje

For more savvy styling ideas and essential advice on how to buy and wear denim, check out the May issue of IMAGE Magazine, on sale now.

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