My first jaw-dropping winter white fashion moment occurred approximately 14 years ago in a Club Monaco on the Upper East Side. Because I grew up in the kind of house that had plastic on the couches—and I had spent the last decade looking like the love child of Robert Smith and Siouxie Sioux—the words “white” and “clothing” belonged in two different lexicons as far as I was concerned. Then I watched my fearlessly fashionable friend try on the most beautiful winter white overcoat I’d ever seen. What can I say? A goth girl’s gotta grow up sometime.
Winter white as stunning outerwear is pretty straightforward—workin’ it as an ensemble is considerably harder. Those antiquated “before Labor Day” rules aside, head-to-toe white isn’t always the most flattering to even the fittest of bodies, and if you’re on the fair side, good luck not looking totally washed out.
Unless you’re headed to a White Party—and unless you’re friends with the Real Housewives or Diddy, that’s doubtful—here are four ways to rock winter white this year.
Winter White + Metallic
INSPIRATION: Ziggy Stardust, Neil Armstrong
Shiny gold and silver accents give winter white a futuristic, out-of-this-world vibe. For gilty pleasure, I’d pair white skinny jeans with these golden Luna boots. For a more NASA-inspired style, try white pants and a tee plus a silver metallic biker jacket.
Winter White + Plaid
INSPIRATION: Paul Bunyan, the cast of Outlander
Different plaids evoke different moods—Buffalo plaid is cozy-woodsy chic while traditional tartan evokes a range from preppy schoolgirl to Scottish Highlands. Because the plaid itself is so busy, limit to just one piece with your strictly white ensemble. Wear a checked flannel shirt beneath a white quilted vest for a lazy day with your SO.
Winter White + Black
INSPIRATION: Marilyn Manson, Wednesday Addams
My personal motto has always been when in doubt, go Goth. This has become increasingly harder since, you know, I don’t want to scare the children, but I’ve found heavy on the eyeliner and light on the fishnets to be a pretty good rule of thumb. My heart belongs to a romantic Goth look featuring a flowy white tank dress with a long-sleeve black shirt underneath, plus Doc Martens, of course.
Winter White + Rose
INSPIRATION: Mindy Lahiri, Olivia Pope
In my mind the lead characters of The Mindy Project and Scandal represent two opposite ends of the “modern glam” spectrum. If Mindy were putting her cheeky spin on winter white, she’d do it loud and proud with a textured white leather skirt, pink fur vest, and oversized status tote. Ms. Pope would be more classic about it in white trouser pants, a ruffled rose tank, snakeskin pumps, and a rose gold watch.
What’s your favorite winter white combo? Share your ice-is-nice looks in the comments below.