Ah, white pants. Donned the "look of leisure," or painter's pants, depending on who you ask, they've lived under the reign of seasonal sartorial rules since their inception.
Why Can't You Wear White After Labor Day?
Some say white clothing is only fit for summer and that wearing white after Labor Day signals you're of a "lesser status," at least that was the case in the early 20th century. City folks who could flee urban life for tropical oases — or even Upstate New York — did so in style, opting for a wardrobe that contrasted the drab dressers in cities they escaped from.
Why White Pants Are Worth It
Nowadays, white pieces are more practical — laundry products prove capable of keeping whites nearly new, summers are hotter than ever — and we feel they're a lesser utilized utilitarian style still capable of making a statement. There are a few tricks to the trade, though: avoid ultra-thin fabrics that'll inevitably end up see-through, favor machine washable fits for easy cleaning and avoid super-skinny silhouettes (they're less flattering than black pants cut the same way).
The Best White Pants for Men
Buck Mason's straight-fitting Ford Standard Jean comes undyded. They're a stark, sort of vintage white instead of blue, but these are still jeans. They'll wear like your favorite pair, making it easier to adjust to all-white pants.
Once you've adjusted to white pants with a straighter-fitting, simpler pair of jeans, upgrade to Todd Snyder's slim-fit Japanese selvedge jeans. Although these feature some stretch, they were made on a vintage loom with antique hardware. These weigh in at a 12.5 ounces, perfect weight for spring and summer, but also a smart option for early fall, too.
Are you relatively risk-averse? Feeling uncertain about seeing yourself in some white pants? What about dirtying them during your first wear? Dickies' affordable Relaxed-Fit Utility Pants boast plenty of the design features we adore in the others on this list, but they're about 25 percent the price. The affordability also eases the stress of a potential mess. Break these in; spill something on them; we totally encourage it.
The Holy Grail goes au naturel: Levi's 501 Original Fit Jeans done in a hue they've dubbed "Optic Daisy." Available, with a few noted tweaks along the way, since 1873, this silhouette set the standard for denim production. They're straight through the leg and comfortably wide without being baggy.
White pants have preppy undertones. That's probably why Mother Denim called its white pant The Shaker Prep. However, the color isn't quite white, but rather Cream of the Crop, a kind of off-white that's more ceramic than it is clinical. As for fit, these wear like regular chinos.
These Alex Crane Cham Pants are cut from sustainably produced French linen in a shape reminiscent of a pair of classic jeans. U-shaped pockets on the front are paired with bucket ones on the back, while the button is made from a Brazilian nut affectionately called "plant ivory."
Paints wear white all the time, because it's easy to clean. That makes Madewell's off-white workwear pants pretty authentic, even if they aren't explicitly painter pants. These are straight-fitting and have double knees.
Neither chinos nor sweatpants, Bonobos' Off Duty Pants something entirely different — and definitely between both. They have an elasticated waistband, stretchy legs and a comfortable seat.
One way to distract folks from realizing your pants are, well, very white is to pick a pair with other visual interests — like pleats and a strap front waist. Scotch & Soda's white chinos have both.
California-grown skate label Noon Goons' loose-fit Glasser Jeans are bleached until off-white. They're made in America in the traditional five-pocket style and feature the sort of contrast stitching typically found on your usual blue jeans.
British contemporary clothing company Olive offers a pair of white twill trousers inspired by workwear silhouettes of yesteryear. They're dense — fit for both warm days and cooler nights — and feature a pair of pleats across the front and are slightly cropped at the ankle, courtesy of a pre-done cuff.
Uniform implies you could wear these pants every day. And you could. They're a kind of chino-work pant hybrid with slant pockets, a wide fit, a YKK zipper and an embroidered logo on the butt.