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I Tried on 20 Pairs of White Jeans to Find the Coolest Ones
09.05.17

Don’t worry. This isn’t a story about why you should continue to wear white jeans post-Labor Day. I feel like that’s a no-brainer at this point (but if you disagree, meet me in the comments with your sharpest dueling toothpick).

This isn’t a story about why; it’s a story about what. What white jeans you should you invest in to take you through all 365 days of the year? Because it might just be me, but I’m done wearing white jeans that are skinny and boring.

I’m tired of white jeans that make my legs look…how do I put it? Apathetic, I guess. I don’t want them to be mere blank canvases anymore, a plain background upon which to splash accessories and going out tops in compensating, colorful hues. I want my white jeans to be the main! freaking! event!, but in order to qualify, they need to pack a lot more punch — perhaps an interesting silhouette, or offer contrasting stitching. Maybe they need a sneaky striped cuff  or have a drop crotch. I don’t know! Maybe they don’t even have to be straight-up white. Call me Martha Stewart, but I’m not opposed to dabbling in a little eggshell or ecru now and then.

Finding the perfect pair of non-skinny, non-boring jeans is easier said than done, as you might expect. It’s consistently challenging to find a pair that makes you feel like your best self, much less a pair that actually makes a statement worth shouting from the rooftops of your personal style proclivities.

To solve for this equation, I decided to spread my net WIDE. I called in a whopping 20 pairs of white jeans to try on at Man Repeller HQ under the assumption that at least half of them wouldn’t work for me (jeans sizing in general is such a tricky thing to navigate, and I’ve always found white jeans to be the hardest). After weeding out 13 pairs based on fit issues, I fell in love with the remaining seven. Below, find my fully-vetted round-up of white jeans so cool you’ll want to wear them all year long.


Raey

I saved the best for first because this is my precise favorite denim silhouette of late. I bought these Sonia Rykiel denim trousers on sale last winter and am so obsessed with them that I’ve been hunting for the perfect white pair ever since. These Raey ones hit the nail right on the head, not to mention the exact area of my waist between belly button and diaphragm where I like pants to hit. If you’re in-between sizes, I would recommend sizing down.

Madewell

Madewell has somehow landed on the precise formula for making jeans feel like actual BUTTER. These were so, so soft and comfortable, and if you know me, you know I have draconian standards when it comes to high-waist comfort. If you’re in between sizes, I would recommend sizing down.

Rachel Comey

If you’re going for the perfect ankle length, you can’t do better than these. Despite being very high-waisted, they were pretty comfortable, and I really liked how the pockets on the back were situated extra high. It was basically a free butt lift. If you’re in-between sizes, I would recommend sizing up.

Creatures of Comfort

These definitely were not “true” white jeans — I would call them off-white, bordering on pale khaki, even. I really liked the contrast stitching and the slightly bootcut fit. If you’re between sizes, I would recommend sizing up.

Acne Studios

The fit of these reminded me of my mom’s vintage Levi’s from the 80s, which I’ll admit made me swoon as soon as I slipped them on. They’re trendy in a very unassuming way, or as Edith put it, “they’re not trying to hard to be anything.” I think they look a little awkward on me, but in a cool way, if that makes sense? I did object (slightly) to their waistline, which was lower than I usually prefer, but I think I could live with it because everything else was perfect. If you’re in-between sizes, I would recommend sizing down.

Marc by Marc Jacobs

I’ve had this Marc by Marc pair bookmarked on The Outnet for centuries, so it was really fun to finally try them on. I love how different they are silhouette-wise (they made me feel like a cool ceramicist who lives in the East Village), and the slightly dropped crotch and relaxed fit made them a dream to sit in. They were very spacious though, so I would recommend sizing down at least one size, maybe even two.

Sonia Rykiel

These babies were STIFF. I’m not sure I would love sitting in them for long, but I sure did love standing in them. The metal grommet details and contrast stitching on the back pockets gave me a great deal of pleasure. I feel like those kinds of touches make all the difference in taking a pair of white jeans from zero to oooOoooooOo. The flared legs get a big endorsement, too. If you’re in-between sizes, I would recommend sizing up.

Now tell me: do you have a pair of non-skinny, non-boring white jeans that makes your heart soar and your butt sing? Tell me about them in the comments. I’m thirsty for more.

Photos by Edith Young.

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  • m33sh1

    DR. DENIM haze white jeans in 100% cotton !!!

    • Harling Ross

      oooooooooO

    • muireann

      Dr Denim is the best!!

  • Jac

    3×1 straight-leg, cropped, fringe jeans *prayer hands emoji* i impulse bought these on poshmark for TEN DOLLARS

    • Harling Ross

      this is my favorite kind of story

  • MiH Caron jeans in white FTW.

  • Leah

    My absolute favorite white jeans (I’ll be honest, they’re slightly off-white.) are a vintage (possibly 80s) pair from L.L.Bean that my sister found at a thrift shop in Seattle. The waist is reminiscent of the Raey jeans, but with a leg cut more similar to that of the Ance pair. They fit all my requirements to make a jean a favorite: roomy, beautiful and mom-like.

    • Harling Ross

      i’m mad i don’t own those

      • Leah

        To address the ‘why’ as well as the ‘what’, I’m so glad you’re on the year-round white jeans train *toot toot*.

  • Basil

    I’m really starting to think that there’s some kind of Harling / Hayley mission to make us stare at their butts. First Hayley’s VPL story and now this …

    • Grace

      Here for it

    • Haley Nahman

      U CAUGHT US

    • Harling Ross

      subconsciously at the very least

  • Haley Nahman

    Want the marc ones bad, ditto rachel comey

  • Rose Leger

    my go-to this entire summer has been a pair of vintage Ralph Lauren white pants I bought on thredup for some ridiculously low price but let me tell you those pants are pleated as hell and so unflattering and the legs are so wide they make me feel like an eternal vacation… which is the plan, right?

  • nicole

    I tried these butter babies by GRLFRND on this past weekend and had to put them back on the rack cause I’m broke. They’re beautiful, it was torture! https://www.kickpleat.com/collections/denim/products/grlfrnd-denim-crop-helena-sweet-city-woman#.Wa7TPtOGORt

  • Imaiya Ravichandran

    J CREW WHITE DENIM CULOTTES!! my first of many mr-inspired purchases. so good. life-affirming, but for ur booty.

    • Amelia Diamond

      Rayners!

      • Andrea Raymer

        I started buying them mostly because of the name. Then I fell in love with the fit.

        Whenever I see their name on the tag it makes me feel like they were custom made for me, but just with a typo.

  • Hajni

    I have a skinny pair and I’m not ashamed of it!!!!!

  • Kat

    I came here just to say – HOW do you wear white jeans without spilling?!?! Or sitting on something dirty? Or splashing in a puddle?
    (Clearly I love the toddler lifestyle…)

    • I spill all over them and embrace the patina.

    • Oxy-clean in bulk. It will get anything out of white clothes.

    • i gave this horrible habit of always wiping my hands into my jeans (usually black)… i think the problem speaks for itself lol

  • Amelia Diamond

    I need those Rachel Comey jeans.

  • Caroline Christianson

    Creatures of Comfort Crescent pants!!!! <3

  • Eva Skewes

    I bought a pair of white Jesse Kamm pants in the spring and after a trip to the tailor (for the waist cause you have to buy them for the butt) they’ve been a joy to wear. I was aching for some lighter-colored pants all winter so I’m psyched to make them four-season pants.

  • katherine

    No Jesse Kamm pants in Salt? Por Que?

  • victoria

    korean streetwear and carhartt cargos all the way

  • Also, Madewell’s Cruiser Straight jeans in white or their Retro Bootcut. Both are pretty cute and not boring skinny jeans

  • Sophie

    I was browsing through urban outfitters and found a vintage pair of levis that were the perfect off white as well as not too high waisted. Now i breathe them when the weather is in-between. Comfortable and stylish!

  • jiggahava

    AMO wide leg crop jeans. The fit is to die for, and they’re super soft. Easy on the eyes, easier on the crotch.

  • Bo

    You realise you’ll need to update this article in several days time after Everlane have released their denim line?

  • i am done with the skinny and need to get this style soon!
    http://www.thestyletune.com

  • molly_maureen

    These jeans changed my life. I love my skinny jeans, and swore off anything wide leg due to my v. short height. BUT, when I tried these on, it was like, an epiphany. Suddenly all I want to wear are wide leg pants.

    https://www.anntaylor.com/raw-hem-wide-leg-crop-jeans/419484?skuId=22642417&defaultColor=9000&colorExplode=false&catid=cat2490002

  • Aydan

    madewell jeans seriously are a god send! The only reason why I still wear skinnies is because their high waisted skinnies are the MOST comfortable pants!!

  • Caro

    Rachel Comey or Acne. The rest: no!!!

  • OMG YES I AM AFTER WHITE JEANS. My fave ones on you are the Rachel Comey ones… I’m gonna lust after that pair for a while I think!

  • Emily M

    The Rachel Comey ones o m g . I’m trying to mentally photoshop my own legs into the picture here. I love.

  • Caro

    White high waisted sailor jeans from Uniqlo 👌🏼 They also come in dark blue denim and in black. I may have all three 😬.

  • sony priya

    3×1 straight-leg, cropped, fringe jeans *prayer hands emoji.i am done with the skinny and need to get this style soon