Don’t worry. This isn’t a story about why you should continue to wear white jeans post-Labor Day. I feel like that’s a no-brainer at this point (but if you disagree, meet me in the comments with your sharpest dueling toothpick).
This isn’t a story about why; it’s a story about what. What white jeans you should you invest in to take you through all 365 days of the year? Because it might just be me, but I’m done wearing white jeans that are skinny and boring.
I’m tired of white jeans that make my legs look…how do I put it? Apathetic, I guess. I don’t want them to be mere blank canvases anymore, a plain background upon which to splash accessories and going out tops in compensating, colorful hues. I want my white jeans to be the main! freaking! event!, but in order to qualify, they need to pack a lot more punch — perhaps an interesting silhouette, or offer contrasting stitching. Maybe they need a sneaky striped cuff or have a drop crotch. I don’t know! Maybe they don’t even have to be straight-up white. Call me Martha Stewart, but I’m not opposed to dabbling in a little eggshell or ecru now and then.
Finding the perfect pair of non-skinny, non-boring jeans is easier said than done, as you might expect. It’s consistently challenging to find a pair that makes you feel like your best self, much less a pair that actually makes a statement worth shouting from the rooftops of your personal style proclivities.
To solve for this equation, I decided to spread my net WIDE. I called in a whopping 20 pairs of white jeans to try on at Man Repeller HQ under the assumption that at least half of them wouldn’t work for me (jeans sizing in general is such a tricky thing to navigate, and I’ve always found white jeans to be the hardest). After weeding out 13 pairs based on fit issues, I fell in love with the remaining seven. Below, find my fully-vetted round-up of white jeans so cool you’ll want to wear them all year long.
I saved the best for first because this is my precise favorite denim silhouette of late. I bought these Sonia Rykiel denim trousers on sale last winter and am so obsessed with them that I’ve been hunting for the perfect white pair ever since. These Raey ones hit the nail right on the head, not to mention the exact area of my waist between belly button and diaphragm where I like pants to hit. If you’re in-between sizes, I would recommend sizing down.
Madewell has somehow landed on the precise formula for making jeans feel like actual BUTTER. These were so, so soft and comfortable, and if you know me, you know I have draconian standards when it comes to high-waist comfort. If you’re in between sizes, I would recommend sizing down.
If you’re going for the perfect ankle length, you can’t do better than these. Despite being very high-waisted, they were pretty comfortable, and I really liked how the pockets on the back were situated extra high. It was basically a free butt lift. If you’re in-between sizes, I would recommend sizing up.
These definitely were not “true” white jeans — I would call them off-white, bordering on pale khaki, even. I really liked the contrast stitching and the slightly bootcut fit. If you’re between sizes, I would recommend sizing up.
The fit of these reminded me of my mom’s vintage Levi’s from the 80s, which I’ll admit made me swoon as soon as I slipped them on. They’re trendy in a very unassuming way, or as Edith put it, “they’re not trying to hard to be anything.” I think they look a little awkward on me, but in a cool way, if that makes sense? I did object (slightly) to their waistline, which was lower than I usually prefer, but I think I could live with it because everything else was perfect. If you’re in-between sizes, I would recommend sizing down.
I’ve had this Marc by Marc pair bookmarked on The Outnet for centuries, so it was really fun to finally try them on. I love how different they are silhouette-wise (they made me feel like a cool ceramicist who lives in the East Village), and the slightly dropped crotch and relaxed fit made them a dream to sit in. They were very spacious though, so I would recommend sizing down at least one size, maybe even two.
These babies were STIFF. I’m not sure I would love sitting in them for long, but I sure did love standing in them. The metal grommet details and contrast stitching on the back pockets gave me a great deal of pleasure. I feel like those kinds of touches make all the difference in taking a pair of white jeans from zero to oooOoooooOo. The flared legs get a big endorsement, too. If you’re in-between sizes, I would recommend sizing up.
Now tell me: do you have a pair of non-skinny, non-boring white jeans that makes your heart soar and your butt sing? Tell me about them in the comments. I’m thirsty for more.
Photos by Edith Young.