When the sun’s out, we’re all naturally drawn to white, no? A staple of the summer wardrobe, white evokes images of sun-drenched Greek islands, blue skies and golden skin. This season, the fashion world has gone head over heels for this palest of trends, so why are we still so wary of white?
Just this week, I made my monthly trip to Zara, that delicious middle of the road brand via which we can all look like we’re dressed in Celine for a mere fraction of the price. I was there to buy white; presumably that flash of sun we had last week sent me into some kind of over-exposed frenzy. I selected these beauties for upcoming weddings/days I want to be Carrie Bradshaw – and I would have been satisfied had my accompanying friend not said:
‘It’s funny, how things that would’ve seemed horrible a few years ago are okay now. Like white shoes.’
I still bought the shoes. But the thought remained; is white always right?
Well, no, it isn’t. It’s a veritable minefield, but this is not news to anyone. So to assist us all in the hazardous embracing of white this season as the gods at Vogue and Elle decree, here are a few danger zones to beware.
1. Stain street. The first one is obvious. Christ, who hasn’t this happened to? Just one errant swirl from your pasta salad and that dress is a goner (this happened to me featuring a forkful of lasagne, a white trench coat and subsequently an embarrassing visit to a bemused Hermes store in Paris). A misjudged seat on a bus or garden chair and sniggers will ensue for the rest of the evening. Even the gentle tugging of your head through a white blouse and suddenly half your foundation is on the collar. White, you cruel mistress.
2. To tan or not to tan? Secondly, the irrational need for a tan that white seems to inspire. It may have escaped your notice, but we don’t get much in the way of sunshine here, so options are limited. Fake the sunkissed glow, and run the gauntlet of tan transfer – see above. Or, go natural and work the slight browning you’ve achieved thus far. I face this dichotomy in a few months’ time – I anticipate I’ll fake it, lest I resemble a haddock fillet in a shift dress.
3. The price is white. Lastly, is the fact that you’ll probably need to flash a bit of cash to pull off white, or else embrace visible underwear and cheap material forever. Depressingly, I can’t afford Christian Dior; Zara is pushing it, realistically. White on a budget is a risky affair – I have yet to succeed, although I’ve found H&M and Topshop to be regular safe havens.
So, if you’ve got especially delicate eating habits (or a stick of Vanish, just in case) go white. Hey, if it’s good enough for Anna Wintour…