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Forget all the “rules” you’ve heard about wearing white jeans — the best white jeans are no longer reserved for post-Memorial Day (and pre-Labor Day) wear. In fact, with brands making a number of versatile cuts and styles, a good pair of white jeans can now be worn year-round.
The best white jeans accomplish the difficult sartorial feat of making a statement while looking good with a range of outfits. Throw them on with an old tee and sandals while running errands in the heat, pair them with crisp sneakers and a Hawaiian shirt on date night, or dress them up with a blazer, loafers and a button-up for that wedding. And yes, white jeans can even be worn in the winter with boots and a big coat. In any case, white jeans just make things a bit cooler (in both senses of the word).
White jeans used to be very avant-garde (see David Hemmings’ outfit in the 1966 movie, Blow-Up), but now they’re much more relaxed and, better yet, much easier to find. Below are some of our favorites to wear right now, plus some tips for finding the best pair.
How to Find the Best White Jeans
Shopping for the best white jeans presents a few unique challenges as compared to shopping for other denim. Here are a few things to look for.
Color: If you’ve ever painted your walls white, you know the dizzying plethora of white colors. Same goes for denim. Some white jeans are bright, others are more muted, and some are more of a cream. It can be difficult to tell the true color online, so we suggest buying a few pairs and taking advantage of e-store’s return options.
Thickness: Most importantly, white jeans need to be dense – you probably don’t want everyone to see your underwear. If white jeans use thin denim or too much non-denim fabric (i.e. spandex), they may become see-through when worn in the sun.
Fit: Because you’ll likely pull out your white jeans on hot summer days, we think slim to slim-straight fit is best in most cases. If they’re too baggy, white jeans can make your legs look overly puffy (although plenty of guys are going for that oversized look right now). Too skinny, and intense summer heat will get more uncomfortable.
Brand: We think reputable brands really do make the best white jeans. Budget-friendly blue jeans, for example, can be great for your rough-and-tumble wardrobe, but cheap white jeans are often see-through and ill-fitting. Plus, white jeans are a great way to spice up your business-casual attire, and should therefore be nice enough to pair with blazer and dress shoes.
The Best White Jeans for Men
1. Acne Studios River Tapered Jeans
Acne Studios knows a thing or two about denim (their first products were raw denim jeans). The Swedish brand also knows how versatile white jeans can be right now, and they prove it with these River jeans. With a slim leg and a gentle taper, the Rivers can be worn casually or dressy. They’re made of premium Italian denim with a dense weave and just a hint of spandex and elastane for comfort. Best of all, the color is crisp yet not blindly white.
2. APC Petit New Standard
Another great pair of go-to white jeans are these Petit New Standards from APC. The fit is flattering, slim cut and mid-rise – exactly as you’d expect from a Parisian brand known for staples. Constructed using Japanese denim with a bit of stretch, the jeans are thick enough to hide your boxers and stretchy enough to stay comfortable all day. They’re also a good medium white that’s clean and subtle enough to wear with a black tee.
3. Rag & Bone Fit 2 Jeans
We’re big fans of off-white jeans such as these Rag & Bone Fit 2 jeans. They’re more casual than super crisp white denim, making a great choice for travel and weekends (not to mention you don’t need to worry as much about dust and stains). With a slim-fit and a stretch cotton material, this pair from the denim masters at Rag & Bone lend that casual feel. They’re comfortable for busy days and easy to pair with most pieces – even winter clothing thanks to the muted hue.
4. Levi’s Vintage Clothing 1984 501 Jean
These 1984 501s from Levi’s Vintage Clothing – an arm of Levi’s specializing in premium throwback pieces – bring some old-school charm to any summer wardrobe. Inspired by the cut of eighties denim, the jeans are straight-fit and mid-rise. They’re on the darker side of clean white, keeping with the vintage vibe, although crisp enough to wear dressy. Other details include brass rivets, a classic five-pocket setup and a button fly.
5. Mason Margiela 5 Pocket Pants
As the current workwear trend shows no sign of slowing down, we’re trying to get our hands on summery pieces that nail the trend. These Mason Margiela denim pants (in an off-white “ecru” colorway) do just that. They feature a carpenter’s pants setup with hammer loops and plenty of pockets. Even the fabric – a heavyweight, non-stretch denim – is reminiscent of real workwear. Where they differ from actual carpenter’s pants is the flattering fit, a handsome ecru color (the color of unbleached linen) and designer-level quality.
6. Levi’s 511 Slim Fit Jeans
If you’re looking for no-frills white jeans to tackle any summer activity, Levi’s 511s are (unsurprisingly) a great pick. The jeans are slim-fit and use Levi’s Advanced Stretch denim which elevates comfort for busy activities like traveling or walking. Color-wise, the jeans are on the bright, clean side, which makes them good for pairing with more dressy pieces such as polos and button-ups (say, at the office or the resort bar).
7. Amendi Ake Slim Straight Leg Jeans
It’s true: jeans are getting wider. Thanks to a tasteful slim straight cut, these Amendi Ake jeans do a good job of adding some room in the leg without looking too baggy. An off-white hue, called “natural white,” gives the jeans a more casual look and makes them easy to pair. We suggest wearing them with athletic kicks and a dark tee or linen shirt on the weekends. They’re also made of 100% organic cotton and manufactured with eco-friendly processes, which is always a plus.
8. RRL Slim-Fit Selvedge Denim Jeans
This pair from RRL prove that white jeans can be rugged. They’re made of a tough 100% cotton selvedge denim that was selected by Mr. Lauren himself. Like everything from RRL, the jeans are meant to hold up on the designer’s Colorado ranch. Following suit with the rugged material, the jeans’ color is a slightly faded white that pairs nicely with ranch getups (i.e. denim shirts and boots) as well as urban attire like black tees and crisp white sneakers.
9. Brunello Cucinelli Five-Pocket Straight-Leg Jeans
White jeans make a great alternative to blue or black jeans in business casual settings. If you plan on dressing up your white denim, go for this pair from Brunello Cucinelli. They’re made in Italy using premium, 100% cotton denim that will challenge any designer slacks in chic-ness. Add a luxurious snow-white color and you’ve got a pair of jeans that can go straight from a corner office to a yacht party. Wear them with loafers and a dark button-up shirt for best effect.