If black is a safety color for women, then white is the epitome of a fashion "risk," because well-fitting white pants can be as hard to find as a bathing suit that makes you feel confident on the beach. But, like swimsuits, there is a white-pant style, cut and fabric that works best for your body type. The experts have plenty of tips for buying and wearing the summer staple.
Size up: Because white pants/jeans can sometimes be a little unforgiving, don't be afraid to go up a size.
Pay attention to fabric: Thicker is better. A great way to test: When you try on the pants/jeans, if you can see the pockets through the fabric, you know they may be a bit too sheer.
Lean legs: A slim, straight leg is the most flattering.
The stitching: Look for pants/jeans with white stitching for a more polished look.
What lurks beneath: Wear nude-colored underpinnings.
You know, white-white: Make sure your white is more of a pure white. White jeans/pants can look dingy fast if the white has a yellow tone to it.
Doing it in denim: If you prefer jeans to pants, make sure they have back pockets. It will make the jeans more flattering.
Body shape: White is not always easy to wear on the bottom, but it can be if you buy the right style for your figure. Fuller figure/rounded hips look best in a higher rise with a slit back pocket, rather than a patch pocket. Narrower hips look best in a slightly lower rise and can choose a back patch pocket or slit pocket.
Skip the pleats: A flat front, as opposed to pleats, is most flattering for most body types.
The length: Crop/capri or full length? If it's a casual pant you seek, and you like your ankles, go for the capri. Wear them with a ballet flat or kitten heel to complete the summer look.
Go linen: A casual, loose linen drawstring pant with patch pockets may be perfect for the beach or supermarket on a hot day. Or it may be a lined silk crepe de chine you want for a dressier evening look. Know your needs before you start to shop.
Laundry list: Are they washable? If you intend on wearing them a lot, look for a pair that is washable without a lining.
Color on top: The thing about white on the bottom is anything goes with it on top. White on white is gorgeous in the summer, but color works, too. Try a narrow white bottom with a colorful, full top that covers your rear end. It can work for almost all figures and balance proportion.
Times Union (Albany, N.Y.)
Sources: Aggie Mullaney, owner of Aggie Mullaney, a women's clothing boutique in Saratoga Springs; Lynette Pone McIntyre, Lucky magazine's senior market editor; Times Union research