How to Wear White and Not Be a Complete Mess

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woman in white linen shirt tucked into white high rise wide leg denim trousers with a navy and magenta chiffon scarf tied around her waist as a belt. She is standing on a balcony overlooking Dupont Circle in DC and smiling.

Okay, that title is totally misleading because I have no way to wear white and not be a complete mess.  Yet somehow I did it.  My friend Sylvia and I scheduled a lunch together to catch up and talk blogging; she was invited to an influencer event afterward and invited me to be her date.  Lunch, an influencer event with my fashionable friend, it's 100 degrees out with humidity up the wazoo, and there's a good chance I'll be walking several blocks.  What the HECK do I wear? 

woman in white linen shirt and white wide leg jeans with a magenta and navy scarf as a belt. Her hands are on her hips and she's looking off into the distance.

shirt | jeans | scarf | earrings | shoes

Woman in white linen shirt and white wide leg jeans standing in front of a forest looking down at her shoes.

Shirt: Chico's No-Iron Linen Shirt c/o Chico's (size 2) | Jeans: Denim High Waist Trousers c/o Talbots (12R) | Scarf: Diane von Furstenberg (bought on Poshmark a couple of years ago; similar, more DvF chiffon scarves on eBay) | Shoes: Vince Camuto (old; similar) | Earrings: Cober Hoops c/o Jenny Bird

Woman in white linen shirt and white jeans with a colorful scarf tied as a belt smiling with hand on hip

I decided to keep it cool with all white.  Talbots had sent me these denim trousers the day prior and I really was itching to wear them.  I wasn't sure how dressy the event would be and decided to wear the equivalent of what a man would wear to such an event – a white shirt and some sort of cheery or summery accessory.  The shirt is linen, always a good choice when hot and humid, especially when it's wrinkle-resistant.  Shoes with a heel (the trousers are a bit long) that would be comfortable for long spans of time; these pink suede babies I've worn so many times before were a good choice.  And this long chiffon oblong scarf from DvF has almost exactly the same shade of pink in it; it made for a fun detail to break up the all-white.

two brunette women with their arms around one another's shoulders. They are both dressed in summery white clothing and smiling.

My friend Sylvia arrived, also in white.  The event was at the Perry Belmont House.  It was French themed and our outfits fit the decor quite nicely.  I couldn't resist getting my photo with this pink poodle made with balloons! I drank champagne, ate salad with dressing, sipped coffee, and didn't think too much about my outfit during the festivities.

woman smiling and holding onto a chain made of balloons that is attached to a 12 foot tall pink poodle also made of balloons

On my Uber ride home I looked down and was SHOCKED to find not a single drip, dribble, or smear was on my outfit!  I mean, that was a good reason I wore the scarf, to be able to use it to hide any mess.  But no mess was to be found!  An FYI about these jeans, I washed them on hot and put them in the dryer and they didn't shrink a bit.  I went with regular thinking I'd want them with heels but it's a bit too long in the leg and in the rise.  I wish I went with petite.  Also, I find if between sizes I can go down in Talbots and get a better fit.  I may be a 14 in their pants but in their jeans, I am a 12. These aren't the only Talbots jeans I love; visit this post for an unsponsored white jeans review with Talbots as the top pick!

woman in all white leaning against a balcony railing in washington DC, holding a glass of champagne and smiling.

And this shirt… I first tried out Chico's no-iron linen last spring because members of the WO2 Community desired a review.  The brand was cool enough to send two shirts to review – striped and pink. A few weeks later, I was invited to be part of a paid Instagram campaign with Chico's featuring a style of pants they were featuring.  I was invited to pick what I wanted to style the look; this was the result including this white linen shirt.  The pants ended up being donated (great pants but not the kind I'd wear on a regular basis), the hat was always a hair too small for my giant noggin so it was passed down to Emerson, the necklace is in the jewelry armoire waiting for the right outfit, but the shirt has been worn a LOT. It's been thrown in the machine with bed linens and through the dryer many times and now just looks like cool, “oh this thing?” linen, which I love.  I sometimes knot it and wear it with jeans, wear it untucked with shorts, and know it will be packed for my summer road trip because it's so effortless and cool in the “oh this thing?” way but also in the “it's darn patootin' hot out!” way!

Shop the Look:

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. Today is the last day for Amazon Prime Day and you can get this wonderful shirt for less! I am a size 4, according to Chico’s sizing (between a 3.5 and a 4, actually) and the shirt is $44.99 today. Thank you, Alison, my wardrobe is getting a much needed makeover thanks to you!

  2. My mother was always against not only white, but any light colored clothing because she was afraid of it getting stained. I read a statement by…someone…somewhere…that their goal was to always keep dribbles, smears, and stains off of their outfit, regardless of its color. Its made me far more comfortable wearing white. Ketchup may be more noticeable on white than black, but a black stained shirt still ruins an outfit.

  3. I’ve got a pair of Talbots girlfriend jeans in white that I really like! It’s very impressive that you pulled off an all white outfit with no spills; not sure I could manage that—ha. I want to add another pair of white jeans to my wardrobe to replace a pair from Gap; they are cute but tend to sag & get bigger in the waist as the day goes on. J Crew has a sale going on today with 40% off lots of items (code is PRIME) & lots of items already marked down. So I’m ordering a pair of their white jeans, plus some Tippi sweaters—they are $24.95 today—that’s SO good!

  4. White is my go to color for jeans, and both Chicos and Talbots fit. Ive had a pair of the Talbots high waist for years and you are right…they never shrink. Chicos finally brought back white denim this year after a few seasons off. My old pair was getting unfashionable holes and was so glad to see them back. Love your scarf as belt…really makes the outfit!

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