Decadent Threads: An Off-White Selection

“White is not surrender, but a blank sheet waiting to be written, the title page of a new story that is about to begin,”

Emanuele Farneti (Vogue Italia, 2020)

Is there anything that evokes the eternal warm spirit of summer, quite like an all-white ensemble?

The popularity of the all-white ensemble has had persistent fame.

It has ingrained itself in this centuries most ostentatious fashion fads, as well as solidified its space as a stalwart of sophisticated separates styling.

From the now-iconic white T-shirt to silvery white Westwood corsets; tailored ivory silk gowns to pearly white cut-off jeans and, even the resurgence of cottagecore’s popularity accompanied by billowing, creamy cotton peasant dresses, the colour is clearly here to stay in one trend or another.

It’s been the hues of white that have ebbed and flowed though.

Though always feeling fresh and timeless, often each shade of white being chosen for garments either leans into, or steers entirely clear of, the symbolism of rebirth, respect, and purity.

For my sometimes wacky but oftentimes sophisticated wardrobe choices, ivory or off-white is the colour that brings with it coolness for a warm setting, and cosy warmth when surrounded by the chill.

Besides off-white and ivory though, I am partial to eggshell too.

A case study could be made on the lifestyle & cultural influence of the singular eggshell colour alone, for example:

  • From eggshell’s popularity in interior designs saturating the bridal market, which then bleeds into street style of the last 4 seasons (think: The Row, Cotton On, Leowe, and H&M)
  • To perhaps even taking off-white (in name and brand) introducing people to trendier ways to toe the line between clean luxury and fast street style, using iterations of the color.

The shades of the colour white, are a blank canvas, as well as paint that can genuinely be added, and textured into incredible wearable creations – some weathered, feathered, knitted, strictly tailored, or even ruffled and crochet.

I tend to favour only loose, off-white linen pants as well as oversized dress shirts – particularly because I sweat through so much, so frequently. It leaves me leery to wear anything that showcases sweat stains all day.

However, there’s something to be said for a difference in quality playing its part in creating comfort for a wearer.

During lockdown, I made two pieces, and one was an elegant cream satin creation made from quality material. It didn’t need sheer white to feel pure and decadent, and I enjoyed the forgiving nature of the cream colour, for my skin complexion and stain marks.

Another thing I favour about white, is that it allows subtle outfit detailing to really be showcased without being too starkly emboldened. This could include: leopard print belts or pumps, an adorable handbag, the boldness of a well-cut trench coat, or unique accessories like gold chains or hair clips.

My look today features a textured white v-neck midi dress, made in Turkey, with elastic-trim puff sleeves at elbow length. It’s a ZARA dress I treated myself to last year, that could pass for bespoke boho-chic thanks to the combination of colour and design.

Its exaggerated puffered sleeve design (and its puckered textile design) is one way to provide more ventilation, create a beautiful silhouette, present strong statuesque dimensions, and the colour is deeply flattering to brighten up the wearer’s form.

White is a neutral and can be worn at any time. It gives most skin tones a natural glow…”

Kimmie Smith (Insider, 2020)

It’s a relaxed vacation style dress to some.

For me, it’s an opportunity to not be body conscious, and rather enjoy the parts of my body I like most.

Matched with the summer dress, is an all-white sneaker from my favourites: PUMA.

The PUMA all-white Cali Star Metallic Wedge is a particularly versatile pair of kicks. In this instance, the white sneaker bears the noblest tradition of the colour, creating balance in my all-white ensemble, rather than perhaps just cleaning up an overly busy outfit, as the showgoer of a shoe tends to do for some folk.

All in all: my outfit of the day has an easy irreverent spirit, but it’s also chock-full of quality and cut – being a combination of polished and downright useful pieces in an excellent shade of white.

Would you rock the look?

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