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How to wear white according to a Liberty expert

How to Wear White with Ease and Elegance

Offering a fitting sense of calm and reset for spring, white is the official colour of the season. Here’s how to wear it and care for it
By: George Elliot

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How to Wear White with Ease and Elegance

How to Wear White with Ease and Elegance

Offering a fitting sense of calm and reset for spring, white is the official colour of the season. Here’s how to wear it and care for it

By: George Elliot

The latest fashion forecast is in and white is set to be widespread. But it doesn't just talk of a light dusting of lace and linen here and there; for all intents and purposes, white is the season’s colour of understated elegance. The rise of this achromatic trend couldn't be more timeley, either, with colour theorists linking white to feelings of freshness, serenity and optimism – all qualities we typically associate with the arrival of spring. What bears thought, though, is how to wear white properly and then how to care for clothes in this trickiest of colours, especially if you’re prone to spillages, splashing through puddles and have kids within arm's length. Thankfully, for these concerns, we have all the answers…

Wearing White

The Full Monochrome

To nail this trend, invest in an all-white capsule wardrobe as your first order of business. A condensed, carefully curated collection of around 10 to 20 pieces – including some jeans, a few trouser options, a selection of tops and outerwear – once secured, they can all be effortlessly mixed and matched for an almost limitless line-up of outfits. When making your selection, be sure to opt for striking silhouettes and textures for added interest. Secondly, rid yourself of the preconception that white’s various shades can’t be worn with one another because in fact they can (and should be). Ecru, ivory, pearl and brilliant: mix these tones together and your look will go from one dimensional to having depth.

Read more: learn how to build the ultimate capsule wardrobe

Clash of the Tones

The beauty of white clothing is that it’ll go with virtually anything, so why not adapt this minimalist trend (or ease yourself into it) by swapping-out one or two white outfit elements for alternatives in contrasting colours? By nature, earthy neutrals also pair effortlessly, so consider these first, perhaps coupling a white dress with a sandy beige teddy coat. Black is another natural suiter and being at the opposite end of the spectrum, will enhance the crispness of your whites. Be playful with pattern too, whether that’s by wearing a subtle pop of floral print underneath something sleeveless or uplifting a white workwear shirt with a graphic jumper.

Read more: master the art of minimalist style

Access(orise) All Areas

While you might be accustomed to layering vibrant patterns together for impact, when it comes to wearing white, the responsibility usually falls to your outfit’s accessories. These small but mighty extras are essential for adding intrigue, personality and can make seemingly simple outfits looking, well, far from simple. For bags, scarves and sunglasses, look to those that play with proportion but still sit within the white or neutral tonal spectrum. As for jewellery, err towards gold for a touch of richness; silver (when paired with white) can leave you looking a little washed out.

Read more: follow these golden rules and you'll soon have a forever jewellery collection

Caring for White

Try Before Wearing

Whites are unforgiving when it comes to stains, even when you’ve tried your hardest to steer clear of all the usual suspects (wine, spaghetti, soup), marks always seem to appear. Friction doesn’t help either. Whether tucked in or layered loosely, whites can pick up colours from dyed clothing, especially from dark wash denim, so do a wear test by rubbing a white handkerchief or scrap of material on any coloured items before wearing together. If the dye transfers, avoid!

Be Mindful of Products

Standard deodorants have a nasty habit of leaving whites discoloured, but there is a way of avoiding yellow patches: investing in an anti-stain alternative. As for perfumes, SPF, hair products, makeup and any other products that have the potential to mark, apply these first, ensuring they are dry before getting dressed.

Don't Delay

If you spill something on an item of white clothing, don’t be tempted to leave it in your laundry basket until later. Once a fresh splatter or smudge appears, move fast as with every second that passes, the more settled and embedded the offending stain becomes. First, dab the area with warm water to dilute the substance and then use an absorbent cloth or kitchen role to wick it away. Apply a stain treatment to the area to blast any remnants of the stain.

Get the Temperature Right

As a general rule of thumb, warm to hot water is best for washing whites as it makes most cleaning products more effective. However, always be mindful of what your clothes are made from. Delicate textiles like silk and sheer fabrics require specific methods of cleaning under exact conditions, so always consult the item’s label first.

Be Selective with Detergent

Only washing whites with other whites is essential, so too is not overloading your machine beyond the three-quarters-full mark as the empty space is vital for letting your clothes move freely and removing dirt effectively. But just as important is the detergent you use. Opt for one that’s specifically formulated to boost the brightness of your whites. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking more is better, either, as a buildup of detergent can actually lead to duller whites over time. If possible, put your wash on an extra spin cycle to remove all excess suds.

Dry in the Sunshine

If you have an outdoor washing line available, make use of it whenever possible as the sun’s UV rays have a brightening and bleaching effect – a natural and rather clever way of improving the appearance and ultimately extending the lifespan of your whites.

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