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Image / Editorial

How to wear in your 20s and 40s: White denim


by Marie Kelly
22nd Jun 2018
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White denim scares a lot of women because it can so easily look cheap. We often see otherwise well-dressed celebrities muck up when wearing white jeans (sorry, Reese Witherspoon). The colours you pair with it need to be considered, and the fit can’t be too tight. I found these white high-waisted denim culottes on sale in River Island yesterday and thought they were worthy of a piece on how to wear white denim in summer. Myself and my colleague Niamh show here how they can work for both women in their 20s, and women of 40 plus.

 How I style white jeans: Marie Kelly, IMAGE fashion director

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Batwing sleeved shirt, Cos (past season); cropped jeans, €33 (were €55) at River Island; white ankle-strap shoes, Senso, €132 (were €219) at Seagreen

White jeans have always been a style saviour for me in summer. I like to be covered. Firstly because I’m pale, but more than that, it’s my style to wear sleeves and choose long, fluid shapes. Wearing white jeans means that I’m fully covered, but they offer that same casual, utilitarian feel provided by blue jeans. This cropped version is a much more chic option than white skinnies, which can sometimes look like you turned blue in the face to get into them.

The high-waisted cut is comfortable and much more grown-up looking than a hipster (does anyone still wear those?), while the cropped cut reveals a hint of ankle, which is always a bit sexy. After a certain age, it’s better to pair white denim with soft neutrals like this grey-blue shirt. It dilutes down any frothiness the colour white might suggest (at 43. I’m not so keen on looking frothy…), and anchors the outfit as chic and sophisticated. Although it makes sense to pair a wide culotte with a fitted top, I’ve chosen a fluid shirt instead. I think it works here because the shirt sits just above my hips so doesn’t drown my silhouette.

How Niamh styled white jeans: IMAGE.ie digital leader

Red cropped denim jacket, €60 at topshop.com, Nike SportswearAir Max 98 in rose, €200 at nakedcph.com, woven shopper bag, €26 at topshop.com

Red cropped denim jacket, €60 at topshop.com, Nike SportswearAir Max 98 in rose, €200 at nakedcph.com, woven shopper bag, €26 at topshop.com

First off, it’s worth noting that white jeans would normally cause me to run a mile. I have always associated white denim with either older women or young girls with the dark brown fake tan. But I was drawn to this pair for a number of reasons. Firstly, they didn’t look like a standard pair of basic, white jeans. The ‘mom’ style, with its high waist and wide, cropped leg encapsulates everything I love in a pair of jeans, and the comfort of them alone makes them worth the spend. For this relaxed fit, I chose to go full double-denim and wear it with a cropped red denim jacket from Topshop (worn here as a tucked-in shirt) and a pair of (equally comfortable) Airmax 98s in rose. The subtle hint of pink is a nice middle-ground between the striking red and white jeans.

Photograph of Marie by Niamh O’Donoghue. Photograph of Niamh by Eoin Higgins.