White jeans have evolved from a ’60s-inspired summer classic into a fashion favorite that looks great year-round — if you know how to wear them. Want some pointers? Start by googling images of Emmanuelle Alt, the 47-year-old editor of French Vogue. She’s a grand master of contemporary white jeans chic.
Alt has her jeans tailored to the perfect length, but you can achieve a similar look simply by rolling them to just above the ankle. Wear your white jeans with a loose top (either a menswear-style shirt or an oversized sweater); a carefully selected belt (adorned with interesting hardware and thick enough to fill the belt loops); and dressy footwear (to offset the casualness of the top). The ensemble as a whole should emanate a feeling of nonchalance; it should be sophisticated without appearing overly polished. To that end, Alt favors “the semi-tuck” — tucking in her top in the front but letting it hang out in the back — for a look that’s artfully off the cuff.
Granted, most women around the age of 50 aren’t built like Alt. No worries — here are three styles of white jeans that don’t require her rangy six-foot frame. Boden’s Straightleg Jeans are billed as “an alternative to skinnies.” The latest white boyfriend jeans from Current/Elliot are also body-conscious yet somewhat roomy. One caveat: If the cut of your jeans is a bit fuller, it’s best not to go with a billowy top. As always, it’s important to adapt the look so that it works for you. —Lola Ehrlich