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Wardrobe Oxygen: Summer Fashion and Wearing White

By (view all posts by AlisonGary)
at 7:55AM Monday August 1, 2011
under Shop Smarter

I love wearing white in summer--it gives such a crisp look, and it complements every color in your wardrobe. White is also a great color to wear in the sun--it reflects the light keeping you cooler than if you wore the same item in a darker hue. While white is a perfect summer color to wear, it takes some care to ensure it looks great on you.

Here are some tips:
Don't wear white undergarments. It seems obvious to wear bras and underwear that are the same color as your clothing – this hold true with black and colors, but is not true with white. A white bra or pair of underwear will practically glow under white garments. Instead choose underpinnings that match your skintone and choose pieces that are low on lace and decoration.  This will ensure a polished look and no one will notice your skivvies.

If you wear linen, make sure it's lined. Linen is a fantastic fabric for hot weather--it's breezy, it doesn't stick to sweaty skin, and looks great rumpled. Linen is a relatively sheer fabric, however, and even more so when it's white. Even if you wear skin colored underpinnings, you can still end up having too much exposed in white linen clothing.

Purchasing lined linen pieces can defeat the point of wearing such a fabric to keep cool; if you're wearing white linen to stay cool consider a DIY approach to lining. Wear a thin cotton slip under a white shift, a thin cami under a linen shirt, a half slip or pettipants under a linen skirt. This way, you maintain modesty and style without sacrificing comfort.

As with any undergarments, choose a color close to your skintone to have the lining virtually disappear, choose white if you want it visible.

Keep your whites white
. Antiperspirants and deodorants can leave yellow stains under the arms of white shirts. To get them out, crush two aspirins in half a cup of very hot water. Pour over the stain, let set for a couple hours and launder as usual.

You may think a couple capfuls of Clorox are needed to keep your whites gleaming, but chlorine bleach can actually yellow your clothes over time (and break down elastic and various types of fabric). Instead consider an oxygen-based bleach like OxiClean. Even better, use the sun! Drying your clothes outside not only keeps your utility bills down, but the ultraviolet rays of the sun help keep whites bright.

If you accidentally wash your whites with denim or a garment that bleeds its color, you can use a laundry bluing product (Mrs. Stewart's is a brand that can be found in most groceries and on Amazon) to restore your whites to their original brilliance.

Don't pair white clothes with white shoes. Rarely do white shoes look good with an all-white outfit; it can give a very sterile look. Consider a pair of light tan or nude shoes if you wish for the white ensemble to take center stage. A metallic sandal is an unexpected neutral that looks fresh with white as well as most other colors in your wardrobe. Shoes are also a great way to incorporate a pop of color to a white outfit--continue the color concept with another accessory (bracelet, belt, necklace) so the entire look is cohesive.

How do you wear white in the summer?

Alison Gary has over ten years experience as a personal shopper, stylist, and visual merchandiser. Her blog Wardrobe Oxygen provides fashion advice to all women, regardless of age, size, budget, or lifestyle. She is a full-time working mother, blogger, wife, and frugal fashionista located in the Washington D.C. area.