Time to switch to white wine and lighten up your look.
At InStyle, we've been saying for years that there are no rules anymore when it comes to wearing color — think: no wearing white after Labor Day and mixing metals. But we'll be honest, wearing white once Memorial Day hits continues to be a summertime favorite. A head-to-toe-white outfit is a no-fuss formula that comes off effortlessly elevated, even if it’s a simple button down and shorts. Whether due to party dress codes (hello, Hamptons) to simply needing breezy, light linen for the ultra hot temps ahead, you can’t go wrong with this classic monochrome look.
If you’re in need of some fresh ideas on how to style yourself this summer, you’ve come to the right place. Ahead, we share 12 fashion-forward ways to wear an all-white outfit. Whether you’re a minimalist that likes to keep it simple with a matching set or summer suit, or you aim to jazz up any outfit with details and pearly accessories, there’s a fun new way for everyone and anyone to pull off this vibe. Spanning the casual to cocktail spectrum, you’ll get tons of outfit ideas for all of your summer events. Side note: If you’re prone to coffee spills like I am, be sure to carry a trusty Tide to Go pen in your bag. It’ll come in handy.
The Three-Piece Suit
A three-piece suit in a lightweight material is the perfect chic and sophisticated summer outfit. It’s fashion and function at its finest, because you have the freedom to layer down on lunch outings in the sun, and up when you head inside chilly air-conditioned rooms.
Shop similar: Reformation Devin Twill Vest, $128, Reformation The Classic Relaxed Blazer, $278, Reformation Mason Pants, $178, Ancient Greek Anastasia Leather Sandals, $210
If you’re looking for the fastest way to get ready in the morning (while still looking polished, of course), the jumpsuit is there for you. It's a one-and-done fail-proof formula. White denim is cool, fresh and gives off that lived-in je ne sais quoi vibe. Cuff the bottoms and pair with fun heels and chunky jewelry to juxtapose the boyish fit.
Shop Similar: Rag & Bone Anna Feather Lightweight Jumpsuit, $355, Schutz Nylla Ankle Strap Sandal, $138, Sterling Forever Coco Hoops, $52
You never have to think too hard about what you're wearing with easy, breezy matching separates. You can tuck the top in for a jumpsuit-esque look, or leave the hem undone for an even more laid-back energy.
Shop Similar: Sl'eau Silk Bias Trousers, $550
A Midi and Vest
Voluminous midi skirts have taken center stage. Not only are they elegant, but they are made cooler when you mix 'em up with a daring top and accessories.
Shop Similar: Banana Republic Laurel Poplin Skirt, $130, Joah Brown Lace Up Crop Tank, $86.
This classic combo will never go out of style. It’s the perfect formula of items that belong in any closet. Break up the white jeans and tucked white tee with a black belt and gold chain. Top the tee with a relaxed button down, and don’t forget to add cool shades and architectural sandals to transform it from soccer mom to soccer-mom chic. It gives Elizabeth James in The Parent Trap, no?!
Shop Similar: Madewell The Perfect Vintage Straight Jean, $128, COS The Clean Cut T-Shirt, $38, AYR The Deep End Button-Down, $125, Jeffrey Campbell Flexx Sandals, $130, J.Crew Classic Belt, $50, Le Specs Unreal Rectangular Sunglasses, $79, Child of Wild Sand Dunes Herringbone Necklace, $78
The Wide-Leg Pant
You can’t hide from wide leg pants if you try. They are everywhere. And in a lightweight linen, they are a summer staple. A relaxed, comfortable, and breezy fit is all you could ever want for warm temp dressing. The key to tonal styling when it comes to wide-leg pants is to find a nicely tailored, trouser-like pair (otherwise they will give beach-cover-up vibes). Balance the wider proportion on bottom with a fitted or fun crop top.
Shop Similar: Abercrombie & Fitch Linen Blend Tailored Wide Leg Pants, $80, ASTR The Label Nuria Top, $88
The Maxi Tube Skirt
Long skirts are back baby! But proceed with caution on the length. A floor-dusting hem in a tube silhouette works best with a tucked tee or tank with a texture difference. Dress it up with heeled boots, or down with a pair of flat sandals. Think of your creamy white separates as cousins, not twins. Take notes on the sweater shoulder tie, too!
Shop Similar: DISSH Charlie White Satin Maxi Skirt, $130, AGOLDE Bailey Ribbed Tank, $80, Jenni Kayne Everyday Sweater, $155
Look for Lace
Airy lace is essential for summer, and we love the proportion of long sleeves and a short hemline. We call this: business on top and party on the bottom. And yes, flip flops are totally acceptable as footwear.
Shop Similar: Reformation Nora Open Knit Dress, $248
Say goodbye to short shorts, because this summer it’s all about the Bermuda. Refreshing news to those that loathe a high-waisted fit *raises hand*. This not-so-new style gives all the breeze of a summer staple, but added sophistication. Style it with a bra top and blazer or a tucked tank for the easiest high-fashion outfit upgrade guaranteed to attract compliments. Pro tip: Style it with pumps or heels sans ankle strap to elongate the leg.
Shop Similar: Banana Republic Lido Italian Wool Bermuda Shorts, $95, Banana Republic Lido Sculpted Italian Wool Blazer, $230, Fleur du Mal Luxe Triangle Bra, $98, L’Agence Nica Bodysuit, $170, Sam Edelman Hazel Pointed Toe Heel, $113
Related: 12 Cute Ways to Wear White Boots
Matching Dress and Boots
If you thought it was time to pack away your tall white boots for storage, think again. A perfectly coordinating long dress over slouchy boots is the summertime set you never knew you needed. It’s a great way to get multiple wears in different ways out of any white dress. Bonus points if you score a high-low hemline, because these boots were made to be seen.
Shop Similar: A.L.C. Satin Pleated Dress, $695, Jeffrey Campbell Guillo Boots, $170
A Cotton Classic
You can’t go through summer without a classic cotton poplin dress. From a puff sleeve to tie straps or cutout details, the possibilities are endless. It’s the equivalent of a classic white button down, but make it summer. Plus, you can dress it up for cocktails or down for weekend wear, depending on how you accessorize.
Shop Similar: Moon River Poplin Puff Sleeve Dress, $120, Reformation Catarina Dress, $120, Favorite Daughter Halting Traffic Dress, $288
One way to add interest to an all-white outfit is to seek texture and accessories. This works best for all the non-minimalists out there who still love an all-white dress code. Lace, crochet, and eyelet are all fun details to consider, but don’t stop there. Bold accessories like mother of pearl complement any tonal texture without feeling tacky.
Shop Similar: For Love & Lemons Leighton Maxi Dress, $365, Farm Rio Murada Boa Guipure Dress, $295, LoveShackFancy Kindler Dress, $395, Chan Luu Four Tiered Keshi Pearl Earrings, $125, Lele Saloughdi Mother of Pearl Downtown Cat Eye Sunglasses, $195
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