12 Days of Holiday Style, Day Three: Winter White

Banana RepublicIt is a truth universally acknowledged that white clothes are off limits after Labor Day, right? Wrong. While some white pieces are always a don’t — white pumps and white tights and white bras, for example — winter whites are a nice way to lighten up the darker months of the year, and balance out the jewel tones and black that tend to dominate our holiday wardrobes.

White feels dressy and unexpected in the winter, no matter what the shape or fabric of the garment; white jeans look more dressed up than blue jeans, and a white sweater is always elegant and chic.  Here’s how to pick the right winter white for your shape and style.

The winter white sweater is an easy way to brighten up your everyday look during the holidays. A creamy white will warm up a pale complexion, while a stark white is striking on darker skinned women. While the winter white cable knit turtleneck is a classic (and one that can be styled in dozens of ways, from Prep to punk to princess), think about options like a cowl neck (which moves the white away from your face a bit) or crew or V-neck (which can be layered over a button down or tee for a pop of color). Crew necks and turtlenecks work best on flatter chested women, while curvy mamas can rock a V-neck or cowl.

Avoid white cotton sweaters for winter — the fabric is too light for the season. And be wary of over sized, chunky white pieces; the lighter color can add bulk, particularly on girls with larger chests. Stick with thin knits in weather-appropriate yarns like cashmere and merino wool.

White jeans are a nice alternative for casual holiday parties. Choose a heavier denim (no thin cotton pants, please) and pair with a mid-weight sweater — nothing too bulky, but nothing summery. A thin cashmere turtleneck over a pair of slim white jeans has a retro Jackie Onassis cool to it that’s perfect for running errands or lunching with friends.

Not sure you can bring yourself to wear white denim in the winter? Opt for white or off-white corduroy instead; lighter than traditional blue denim, it’s still winter weather-appropriate. A boot cut flatters all shapes and sizes — look for a leg that fall straight to the floor from the widest part of your hip.

Skip cropped white jeans during the winter; like cotton pants, they’re too summery. Opt instead for a trouser or boot cut. If a skinny, slightly shorter line is your look of choice, go with a slim cropped corduroy; the fabric gives this look a cold weather feel.

Don’t tuck white jeans into boots — this highlights your hips and thighs and makes even the skinniest of us look wider than normal. Instead, pair your white jeans with pretty ballet flats or funky embroidered loafers. Or for outdoor activities, wear your jeans over your boots, to create a long leg line and keep your feet warm at the same time. Make sure the hem falls to within a quarter inch of the floor, though, for the right proportion.

Tomorrow: A festive daytime lip.

Photo via Banana Republic

Get Dressed with Susan Wagner

Find more pragmatic style advice at The Working Closet.
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12 Days of Holiday Style, Day Two: Bling it On
12 Days of Holiday Style, Day One: Silk Shirt
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