If you're desiring a white pantsuit after this week's State of the Union you're not the only one. I've received several emails and DMs requesting where to find a white pantsuit and have seen several people find Wardrobe Oxygen with search terms that include white pantsuit for women. Well my fellow women, I have you covered with a variety of white and almost white pantsuits in all sizes and price points.
Why White Pantsuits for Women?
Hillary Clinton wore a white pantsuit when she accepted the democratic presidential nomination in 2016. Prior to Clinton, in 1984, Geraldine Ferraro donned a white suit to accept her nomination for democratic vice president. And prior to Ferraro, in 1968, Shirley Chisholm wore white when she became the first African American woman elected to Congress. Just this past month, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wore a white suit for her swearing into Congress. Sure, wearing white looks polished and has you stand out in a crowd of dark suits, but white has an historical significance.
Suffragettes were known for wearing white. They stated they chose it because, “White, the emblem of purity, symbolizes the quality of our purpose; and gold, the color of light and life, is as the torch that guides our purpose, pure and unswerving.” They knew it would make an impact in photographs and they felt the color would help them not be criticized as aggressive, masculine, or threatening. In 1978 women again wore white as they marched on Washington in support of the Equal Rights Amendment. Initiated by Representative Lois Frankel of Florida, the chair of the Democratic Women’s Working Group, dozens of woman donned white for Tuesday's State of the Union. Frankel stated, “Wearing suffragette white is a respectful message of solidarity with women across the country, and a declaration that we will not go back on our hard-earned rights.” You may recall many women also wore white for the 2017 SOTU.
During the 2016 presidental election, many who supported Hillary Clinton joined a Facebook group called Pantsuit Nation; the organization continues today focusing on immigration reform, racial justice, religious freedom, and women's reproductive rights. Clinton became famous for her many pantsuits. While not all women at Tuesday's SOTU who wore white were in pantsuits, white pantsuits have become a symbol of strong women standing up for what they believe in.
Where to Find White Pantsuits for Women
White, ivory, eggshell, winter white… with spring right around the corner it's becoming easier to find white pantsuits. I've searched the internet and found the best white or almost-white suits for you:
- J. Crew continues to be one of my favorite places for suiting. They go up to a size 18 and most suiting comes in petite, regular, and tall lengths. Their Parke Blazer is a classic; the Cameron Slim Crop Pant when paired with this blazer gives a sleek, modern effect that would work in the office and also dressed up with a cami and heels.
- But of course White House Black Market has white suiting! Their Luxe Suiting Jacket comes in regular and petite sizes up to 16 and you can choose to pair it with regular bootcut pants, curvy bootcut pants, or slim ankle pants.
- Not only does Banana Republic have white suiting, it's washable! Check out their Long and Lean-Fit Washable Blazer and matching straight fit pants. They offer sizes up to 20 and lengths.
- I have an ivory pantsuit from Talbots and it is great for so many situations. This is the blazer I have which looks great as a full suit, paired with black pants, or even styled with jeans. The coordinating Slim Ankle Pants will look chic with flats or heels. Talbots has most of their suiting in petite, regular, and plus sizes.
- If there's a current trend happening in fashion, it's likely you can find it and find it done well at Zara. No surprised they've embraced the pantsuit trend and have a chic option. Pair this drapey crepe blazer with these high-waisted crop pants for a white pantsuit that is both chic and comfy.
- Some outlets have identified Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's cape blazer as this one from Zara; you could pair it with these trousers.
- CeCe by Cynthia Steffe is sold at many department stores; I found this Open-Front Tie-Sleeve Blazer at Macy's and the coordinating Straight Leg Trouser Pants at Dillard's.
- Theory has this gorgeous Fluid Shawl Blazer with Satin Lapels that could work with jeans or worn to a cocktail party with either their full-legged Rosina Cropped Pants or their more classically cut Terena Cropped Pants.
- Calvin Klein is a workwear favorite and it's no surprise they offer chic and reasonably priced white suiting pieces. This Two Button Suit Jacket is classic and the curved hem highights and creates curves. Pair with Slim Leg Ankle Pants for a suit that is sophsiticated yet on trend. Here is the link for the same blazer in plus sizes.
- This white pantsuit from Tahari ASL elongates the body and provides a very modern sleek effect that would fit in at the office or a cocktail party.
- From T Tahari I found this classic One Button Blazer and Straight Leg Pants at Bloomingdale's and they're both on sale!
- Also from Tahari I found this Asymmetric Ruffle Pebble Crepe Pantsuit that looks an awful lot like the one Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's guest Ana Maria Archila wore to the SOTU. It is available up to size 18.
- Lafayette 148 carries some of the most elegant suiting. Their Finesse Crepe Luther Jacket is so chic; pair with their Barrow Crepe Pant or their Bleecker Finesse Crepe Pant for a chic pantsuit. Lafayette 148 comes in regular, petite, and plus sizes.
- I like the effect of a shorter jacket and fuller pants with this Kiss-Front Jacket and Straight-Leg Crepe Pants from Kasper (available up to size 18 and both are on sale!).
- Look modern and sleek in this long jacket and cropped pant white pantsuit from plus-size retailer Jessica London.
- Another white pantsuit from Jessica London: pair this Tie-Sleeve Bi-Stretch Blazer with the matching Bi-Stretch Ankle Pants.
- JC Penney brand Chelsea Rose offers a textured collarless jacket and matching suit pants for an elegant look.
- I'm not surprised to find a chic pantsuit from Alice & Olivia. At Bloomingdale's you can find their Jerri tailored Blazer and matching Stacey Cropped Slim Pants.
- For a lower-priced option from Bloomingdale's, 1.State offers their Textured Crepe Blazer and matching Mini Kick Flare Pants. At Nordstrom they have the same blazer and pants and also offer the blazer in plus sizes.
- For a badass pantsuit with edge, there's nowhere better than Veronica Beard. Check out the Alair Trouser and Fergus Dickey Jacket.
- For a modern, slouchy version of the white pantsuit, IRO offers the Caring Oversized Crepe Blazer and Desiring Crepe Tapered Pants.
Tips for Shopping for White Pantsuits for Women
When I went to vote in 2016 I wore what looked like a white pantsuit, but it was actually off-white separates from two different retailers. As long as the colors are the same and the fabrics aren't drastically different (don't try to pair silk with twill and think it will look like a matched set) it will look cohesive. White and near-white colors work like black in that minute details sort of disappear. When searching white pantsuits for this post, I found several retailers who offered only jackets in plus sizes but not the matching pants. However, all retailers offer fabric composition on their sites. Use that to search for coordinating bottoms from a different brand or retailer. They don't have to be exact, but if one piece is primarily polyester and viscose, there's a good chance another poly/viscose blend piece will have a similar sheen and drape.
White can be transparent, even when lined. I recommend unless it fits perfectly off the hanger to size up and visit a tailor to alter to fit you. A suit that isn't tight will be more opaque. There is a difference between a slim fit and tight, and a tailor can assist you with that. A tailor can also make the pants the perfect length for your body and your favorite height of shoe. If you don't have a tailor, check out your local dry cleaner who may be able to do the alterations. If she is unable, she may be able to recommend someone. Also check out local bridal salons, community theaters, and pageant organizers who may know of a tailor or seamstress in the area. Visit your neighborhood's Facebook or NextDoor group for reviews that are usually more balanced than what you may find on Yelp.
Even after tailoring, underpinnings can assist with opacity. A brief or boyshort free of lace or adornments in a color matching your skin is a smart choice; look for terms like vanishing edge, invisible, or seamless to prevent VPL (visible panty lines). I'm a big fan of Soma's Vanishing Edge; their microfiber high-leg brief comes in five skin colors as well as many neutrals and patterns. For a bit of control, Bali's Seamless Firm Control Brief is virtually invisible under clothing and comes in sizes up to 3XL.
As spring collections continue to hit stores, the selection will increase. I also wouldn't be surprised to see many brands jump on the white pantsuit trend especially after all the excitement after the SOTU. If you've found a great white pantsuit and it's not listed here, do share it in the comments!