Yes, You Can Wear White Denim and Here Are 3 Outfits That Prove It.

Yes, You Can Wear White Denim and Here Are 3 Outfits That Prove It.
White can be scary – we make it easy.
white denim outfit inspiration

As it gets warmer, white denim is a great choice, though these pictures also show how it works for various seasons. Since it's a clean color, you want a clean overall look. That means solid colors or small patterns only. You can wear it casually with a solid v-neck tee and vans, or dress it up with a microdot collared shirt and a solid blazer. It's a blank palette, really.  Just don't spill anything on it.

But we get it – it can feel a little daunting. Aren't there seasonal rules like you can only wear white when Mercury is in retrograde? (No one listens to those anymore). Won't they get dirty? (They will, being white also means they're the easiest to use the nuclear option on – OxyClean or bleach). Won't other guys make fun of me because I can't pull it off? (Wait, is that really how you pick out your clothing? Those same dudes are still wearing American Eagle cargo shorts, so I wouldn't hold too much stock in their opinions. Besides, who actually comments on things like that anymore? We're not 12. [Unless you are, then maybe don't wear white jeans.])

The funny thing is, wearing white jeans is actually incredibly simple. A simple thought exercise for introducing white denim is to just think of outfits you'd wear with tan chinos. Then swap in your new white denim. And blam-o… a whole new outfit that's crisp, modern, and perfect for some sun.

But won't it get dirty???

4 Steps to Anxiety-free White Jeans

1. Don’t Stress Over It.

They’re going to get dirty. You’re going to clean them.

2. If You're Not At Home…

Blot first, don’t rub the stain into the denim. If necessary pre-treat with warm water and soap. A Tide Pen works on spots until you can launder them.

3. Separate Your Laundry

Guys hate needlessly complicated processes like separating laundry by color and textile, but to keep all your whites like denim, socks, and t-shirts that blinding white we’re after, they must be washed with only other white items. No, not gray ones too. White only.

4. Power Up

Luckily speciality cleaners and detergents like OxyClean or bleach blast dirt, stains, and discolorations from white clothing. Include some in the load according to directions and you’ll be amazed at how white they come out. If using bleach, make sure you check the clothing tags, some textiles shouldn’t be bleached.

Look 1: Simple, Modern, Clean

The white jeans are the star of the show, but the microdot shirt makes the outfit. It roots the whole thing in modern style. The casual wingtips mean this outfit is ready for anything from a backyard bar-be-que to a spring date and everything in between.

Tommy Hilfiger Belt

Aston Grey WingtipJ.Crew microdot shirtSOCO New York Nato watchTommy Hilfiger Belt

Look 2: Casual & Ready for Sun

White isn't just a fashion choice – it has obvious benefits for staying cool when getting some rays. Slim, patterned short-sleeve shirts are huge this year and we're grateful for having another sleeveless choice besides polos. To make it work, the sleeves have to be fitted to the arm, no 45 degree angle bagginess like you'll get with old man shirts.

Men's White Jeans Inspiration

Levi's 511 white jeansBass Parker Saddle ShoesAEO No show socksSO&CO New York WatchRay Ban Clubmaster sunglasses

Look 3: Evening Smart Casual

A shawl neck sweater throws this thing into smart casual, perfect for a wedding rehearsal dinner, whiskey tasting, or a rooftop dinner with someone special.

Aston Grey Casual WintipLevi's 511 White Denim Jeans

Andrew is the founder and editor of Primer. He's a graduate of American University and currently lives in Los Angeles. Read more about Primer on our About page. On Instagram: @andrewsnavely and @primermagazine.

  • John

    Fit of shirt in Image 2 is too small. Dude needs to go one size up; clothes shouldn’t be casts 😉

    • Vinny

      A noble spirit enbiggens the smallest man.

    • Andrew

      It hits all the fit points. There is room for it to be longer if that’s your preference, but it isn’t too small, especially for this type of shirt:

      • Chris Moore

        It may be the extreme shortness of the sleeves that is throwing him off. I know most of mine are somewhere between the two photos.

      • John

        Sleeves appear to have no ease in them at all (if he flexes to pick up a pen from a desk the sleeve will crawl all the way into his arm pit or split from the strain), and placket at the collar REQUIRES 3 buttons to be open; he probably couldn’t close the neck at all…not that he would, it’s a casual shirt and look, but IMO he should be able to for it to “fit.” If he moved I bet the placket would strain more.
        Truth in advertising and style is what I’m interested in drawing attention to here. That’s why I prefer it when Andrew models; he moves in his stuff, ’cause he’s a real dude. Let’s not fall into the body-image trap that the ladies have fallen into and are beginning to climb out of.


        • Andrew

          I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree! 🙂 There are several spots where you can see the shirt isn’t too tight based on rolling fabric, including in the body and in the arms. But all of these are just to inspire and give everyone ideas, so if you know you need a shirt that is bigger, then that’s what’s best for your body and style.

          Thanks for the compliment on my shots, Steve’s a real dude too! I’ve got a couple coming up. 🙂

          • John

            Sure, man! And I know Steve is a real guy, LOL. And really, I have an issue with a shirt that I would probably want to be looser were it mine. There is a happy medium between one size too small and big and billowy. That’s where I live (from the images on Primer, you do too). I thought maybe it was a “professional” shoot where they do the stuff with clips to achieve the “right” fit.

          • Andrew

            Nope! All of our shoots are real people with real clothing.

    • Alex Bear

      I know if I was built like Steve I would be wearing tighter shirts

    • Steve

      Hey John, I’m the Steve pictured – I actually prefer J Crew’s short sleeve shirts in this size, particularly for the short cut in the front. Gap does the same with their oxfords and I think it’s great for wearing them untucked. Fun fact: I tapered the sleeves myself *just a bit* because they flared out awkwardly when I first bought it. I see how they look small, but they do fit just right!

      I do base my fits on how they feel in the chest and shoulders, and in this case the shoulder seams are where they belong and the shirt doesn’t pull too much when I lift my arms, so it works for me.

      You’re right on that last point, though – you can always tailor something down to your size, never up!

  • Ivan

    How would swapping out the brown shoes and belt for black affect the look of the outfits? Or maybe grey? I’m not too much of fan of brown leather.

    • Andrew

      Hey Ivan, black would work, depending on the style. But brown or gray are definitely better choices. I’d love to hear your thoughts on why you don’t like brown leather. For me personally, I prefer it, I find it has more depth and adds more to an outfit than black.

      • Ivan

        Oh it’s nothing more than I’m simply not a fan of the color as far as my wardrobe goes. My clothing is mostly blacks, grays, whites, and blues of varying shades and textures. I don’t think there is anything wrong with others wearing. Just a personal preference. I do agree that it adds more depth, but I like cleaner lines which I find I am able to get with black more so than with brown.

        • Ivan

          Also, I have a capsule/minimalistic wardrobe and brown would (in my opinion, and as far as my preferences go) throw things off. Currently as it is, I can grab any top and any bottom and they will pair well. I find this much easier to do with blacks (and greys) than brown.

          • Andrew

            Awesome! Sounds like you have a great system worked out.

    • Steve

      Hey Ivan, I’m the Steve pictured – I would totally wear all of these outfits with black shoes and belt. The shoes in the third picture actually come in black and I think they’d be perfect. I might swap out the blue Weekender watch for the black SO&CO in those cases, but that’s just me being picky!

  • Adam D

    Any idea on the quality of the brown wingtip? That’s on my short-list, but I’d prefer not to spend the $$ on something that’s only going to last a year or two.

    • Steve

      Hey Adam, I’m the Steve pictured. They’re very good quality for the price. They have a comfortable insole and thick leather and I feel like they wear well. They’re obviously not on the highest end of shoes, but I found them to be a great value and I expect to get many years out of them. Keep in mind that I do only wear them to work once or twice a week, as it’s best to swap out your shoes daily to prevent odor.

  • RLM

    With white bucks?

    • Andrew

      I suspect it could be done, but it might be hard. The pants would need to be slim and you’d need a shirt like the microdot above to root it in modern.

  • RLM

    Thanks Andrew. Is there a way to ‘Mad Men’ them up?

    • Andrew

      Penny loafers would also look great!

      • RLM

        Absolutely!! Plaid shirt, or No!?

        • Andrew

          Yeah, that should look great!

  • RLM

    Absolutely!! Plaid shirt, or No!?

  • rogun

    Soda water is a great 1st response. Bleach is fine, but it actually yellows whites and damages fabric.

  • Josh D

    Awesome post Andrew!
    I’ve noticed that the white pairs best with strong navy. Would white pants pair well with another color?

    • Steve

      Hey Josh – you could wear a dark gray polo shirt on top, or if you’re looking for something more casual, any pastel colored t-shirt would go great with white pants. Navy is always a good choice because white/navy are traditional colors coming from a nautical aesthetic. If you’re not going for that combo, the pastels help maintain the casual/clean summer vibe that makes the white pants work.

  • Matt

    The like to the jeans took me to amazon for slim fit jeans. How should I size slim fit jeans accordingly? I’m about a 33w/32l and I workout often so my past experience with slim fit jeans have been extremely tight in the upper thigh and groin area.