My hunt for the perfect pair of white pants felt akin to my recent search for a new job: equal parts exhausting and frustrating, but, after several long months of being convinced there’s no such thing as a Holy Grail anything, extremely fruitful.
Like a job search, finding the ideal pair of white shorts, jeans, or pants is a journey that is different for everybody. Do you want a stretch denim? A crop? A wide leg? A ruffle? Do you want all four of those things and also for said pants to be less than $99.99 and hand delivered to your door by your celebrity crush? (If this is you, best of luck!) Regardless of your criteria, finding the perfect achromatic pair of leg-sleeves is possible — as proven by team MR, who have listed their favorite white bottoms below to help you on your quest.
Isabel Marant Etoile wide-leg trousers
Picked by: Leandra, Founder
They’re the best because: They’re a very lightweight white cotton that reads more formal trousers than beach pants, even though they’re still casual enough to wear at the beach should I so please — their crotch line is also dropped enough that even though they’re mid-rise, I can belt them higher waist and the ankles are nice and tapered. They’re a good length to wear uncuffed with flat shoes, but lately I’m wearing them cuffed clumsily, but deliberately to above my ankle bone with Jesus sandals or flip flops.
I’ll be wearing them with: Last summer, I wore them with cotton tank tops and braided belts, but this summer I’m going to wear them with boxy blouses that are neither cropped nor long, left hanging out of the pants. (See previous reply re: Jesus sandals and ankle cuffs.)
On my way to: You know, I inspired myself in my first answer — I’m going to slap a bandeau bikini top on like it’s one of those bracelets that were banned in the ‘90s and wear them to the beach next time I’m at it.
Worst thing to ever stain my pants: TMI opaque pink fluid as released following the routine application of an estrogen suppository I was taking daily right after I got IVF pregnant with Madelaur.
I got it out with: A washcloth and warm water. Unclear whether it’s actually out, but it’s an interior stain, so yolo. One time I did get soy sauce on them and let me tell you: Those Tide to Go pens work. Also redeeming: salt, seltzer and a napkin is not a mythical fixer. That shit works too! (But mostly for light stains like tomato sauce and coffee). JURY IS STILL OUT ON WHAT WORKS FOR OIL — do you know?
Carhartt Work In Progress Off-White Straight Pierce Trousers
Picked by: Mallory, Executive Editor
They’re the best because: I recently decided that, fit-wise, painter pants are the pants for me. And when it comes to white pants, they are even more so the pants for me, because *not* having at least a few random stains & splatters on them would actually be uncool.
I’ll be wearing them with: Slightly cropped graphic tees
On my way to: A bodega and then probably a random person’s rooftop
Most likely to be stained by: New York City at large (or whatever red-sauced thing I’m currently eating—pasta, cucumbers with chili oil, salsa, etc.)
Trave High Waist Ankle Straight Leg Jeans
Picked by: Harling, Fashion Director and Brand Strategist
They’re the best because: They are non-stretch but still very comfortable. The white whale (pun intended) of white jeans.
I’ll be wearing them with: An almost-sheer white top with a black bra and silver or gold ballet flats, which I don’t own but want to as soon as possible.
On my way to: Literally everything, including my grandmother’s 80th birthday party.
Most likely to be stained by: A melty rainbow sprinkle. Small but deadly.
Everlane ’90s Cheeky Straight Jean
Picked by: Gyan, Managing Editor
They’re the best because: They’re a high-waist, non-stretch, cropped-ankle dream that were super affordable compared to the many other pairs I tried on during my search.
I’ll be wearing them with: This tie-dye T-shirt, sandals, and many layers of SPF50.
On my way to: Work on Fridays when I need an outfit that can easily transition from mornings-in-the-office to afternoon-fun-in-le-sun.
Worst thing to ever stain my pants: New York City sidewalk sludge on a rainy day.
I got it out with: Sheer determination and Spray ‘n Wash.
Lorena Antoniazzi High-Waisted Trouser
Derek Lam 10 Crosby Utility Jogging Pant
Picked by: Haley, Deputy Editor
They’re the best because: I’m actually in the market for white pants — I have a couple I like (Trave jeans and Everlane carpenter pants) but neither feels perfect. I love the look of these Derek Lam joggers and these Lorena Antoniazzi trousers (hoping they would both be slightly longer on me since I’m not a model). It’s hard to find joggers that are actually high-waisted, and these are! I feel the same way about these white trousers actually.
I’ll be wearing them with: Cream T-shirts and black sandals — for both. I feel calmer just thinking about it.
On my way to: The joggers are coming with me to the beach and the trousers are accompanying me to the house I do not own in the Hamptons.
Most likely to be stained by: Iced coffee on the joggers, champagne on the trousers.
10 Crosby Derek Lam Eyelet Embroidery Crosby Cropped Flare Trouser
Picked by: Elizabeth, Market Strategist
They’re the best because: I just can’t stop thinking about the scalloped embroidery appliqué. (That’s literally what they call it on the website btw.)
I’ll be wearing them with: I imagine this with a knit tube top and lace-up flat sandals on my feets. I could also do a scarf as a halter and be super south of France-y.
On my way to: The south of France? But I guess, more realistically, to a nice outdoor dinner with people who love me and care about me, because that’s rly nice.
Worst thing to ever stain my pants: Various dog stains from paws and other places.
I got it out with: My boyfriend bought this spray at a Dominican dollar store (important because all of the words on it are in Spanish, which I cannot read) and I blindly use it on everything — colors and whites, bedding and clothes. Having a dog is really just promising a white-anything disaster.
Madewell Cali Demi-Boot Jeans
Picked by: Jasmin, Director of Partnerships
They’re the best because: They’re quite high-waisted, have a lil’ bit of stretch, and a lil’ bit of flare.
I’ll be wearing them with: This top and flats like these.
On my way to: Predominantly places that don’t require sitting, a.k.a. on a walk.
Worst thing to ever stain my pants: Candle wax!
I got it out with: Put them in the freezer until the wax hardened so I could pick it off, then washed as usual. It didn’t really work.
Rachel Comey Slim Legion Jeans
Picked by: Maggie, Customer Experience Coordinator
They’re the best because: They fit me SO WELL and that is veryyy hard to find for my body type (petite, but a little curvy on the bottom) because they are perfectly high-waisted with an oh-so-perfect crop. I also got them at a sample sale, so it’s like a double win every time I put them on.
I’ll be wearing them with: Is everything an acceptable answer here? I literally haven’t found an outfit that doesn’t look good with them. But my go-to is a simple white tee and flip flops.
On my way to: Every cliché thing people do in NYC in the summer: a Yankees game, lounging in Washington Square Park, and rooftop hangouts. (JK I will be sweating on the subway, but will look good ‘n’ feel good doin’ it.)
Most likely to be stained by: The list goes on but most likely ketchup because I’m a monster and anything white on my body is constantly in jeopardy of being ruined.
Reformation Liza High Straight Crop
Picked by: Starling, Office Coordinator (me again!)
They’re the best because: I’ve never come across a jean that looks so good with sandals.
I’ll be wearing them with: Sandals and a vintage kerchief.
On my way to: Eat burritos on the beach, because I’m a risk-taker.
Worst thing to ever stain my pants: Coffee. I’ve never had a cup of coffee in my life but fellow metro patrons have spilled iced coffee on me enough times for the both of us.
I got it out with: A sink full of baking soda, detergent, and warm water tends to do the trick.
Everlane Carpenter Pant
Picked by: Amalie, the unseen social sorceress
They’re the best because: They do everything you want a white pant to do. Candidly, I bought them after I saw resident utilitarian and friend of catkind Haley wearing them and they’ve become a staple in my closet. They’re lightweight, fitted in the waist, looser through the hip and thigh, with a few added elements to elevate them from basic white pants.
I’ll be wearing them with: This tee, these sandals, frizzy hair in a messy topknot and a bunch of fake-gold rings that will give me weird tan lines after they turn my fingers green.
On my way to: Prospect Park for dog-watching.
Most likely to be stained by: Misir wot and injera from Bunna Café. Speaking from ample experience.
Levi’s 501 Shorts
Picked by: Hillary, Product Manager
They’re the best because: They can easily be bleached and after three wears they hit that perfect worn-in look for the rest of the summer!
I’ll be wearing them with: Everything from a graphic tee to a silk tank.
On my way to: Everything! I think this summer is going to be miserably hot, so I plan to live in these.
Worst thing to ever stain my pants: In college, I wore a pair of white jean shorts to almost every football game because our student section was in the direct sun and I always ended up with weird stains. One time, somebody had confetti that they kept throwing, then it started to rain and I ended up with weird rain-soaked confetti streaks all over my shorts and legs.
I got it out with: Bleach helped it come out of my shorts, but it took about a week before my legs were back to normal.
Rachel Comey Clean Bishop Pant
Picked by: Edith, Senior Photo Editor
They’re the best because: These white pants are not too wide and not too straight: They nail the formula of the wide-leg pant that doesn’t veer into gaucho territory. I have the white corduroy version of this Rachel Comey style and perform a quarterly inventory of the Internet’s Bishop Pant supply in the interest of expanding my collection.
I’ll be wearing them with: A smirk. And this pair of tassel loafers and a baseball cap.
On my way to: The post office.
Most likely to be stained by: Gazpacho.
Warp + Weft Cropped Wide Leg Jeans
Picked by: Emily, Visual Manager
They’re the best because: I’d wanted a pair of wide leg white jeans since the moment I saw a Man Repeller post about them in 2016, but I very quickly realized that cool white jeans did not exist in my size. Only shortly after, Warp + Weft came to be and now I can participate! I wear these white jeans often now, and can’t wait to continue wearing them throughout the summer.
I’ll be wearing them with: Hawaiian shirts and tie dye T-shirts.
On my way to: Anywhere! To work or to a flea market in Connecticut.
Worst thing to ever stain my pants: I have never stained my white pants! (Now I’m really jinxing it). But for any stain – I swear by Tide pens. (Amelia Diamond used to always use mine!)