Male fashion: How to wear white pants without losing dignity

White symbolizes purity, but nobody would call it demure when it is the color of pants. Troy Patterson, Bloomberg’s men’s fashion expert, shares some tips for wearing this complicated garment.

It is unclear how the idea was born in the United States that no one should wear white clothes before Memorial Day, or Memorial Day. It could be a misinterpretation of what Miss Manners, in 1990, called “the White Shoes edict”, which stipulates that the only correct time to wear white shoes is summer.

The rule of the shoe might have made sense at that time, but in 2017 it crumbles under the weight of a billion pairs of sports shoes.

When it comes to certain basic products, such as shirts, shirts and teeth, white is never controversial at any time of the year, as Miss Manners, a journalist specializing in labeling, once again points out.

But nothing is totally forbidden: the rules have been weakened so much that the correction hardly appears as a concept. Even if there were a book of fashion rules that ordinary people could accept as authorized, we would have to amend the so-called rule of the Day of the Fallen, taking into account climate change.

White symbolizes purity, but nobody would call it demure when it is the color of pants. Instead, it evokes the extravagant boasting of the trousers that are worn by the sea, perhaps with a canotier. Or John F. Kennedy’s New England garb on a sailboat, perhaps with bold blue socks or a sailor-style summer sweater. Wearing a military-style jacket, white pants can give you the sub-tropical glamor of a Graham Greene character.

But white pants are often cause for anguish among those who like to wear them. Sometimes the anguish comes simply from witnessing them: these ripped white jeans of US $ 1,000 from the Fear of God brand show the general state of affairs: many, many dressmakers ask us to spend money on pants without worrying about a second if the pockets are visible – which are clearly in this product photo. This kind of truth in advertising complicates the meaning of “transparency”.

The dilemma of transparency All this brings us to the central problem of buying white pants: placing a pair that is reasonably opaque. This is not just about getting what you pay for. The problem can be manifested even with the trousers made with great care and expense by the most respected names in men’s clothing.

The only sure solution is that they are lined. I remembered this a few days ago, in Bergdorf Goodman’s dressing room, while rejecting three pairs of semi-transparent white jeans from well-known brands. The sales assistant felt sorry. “Three years ago, I found a good pair of white jeans from Seven [for all Mankind],” he said. “They were thin enough to be cool, but not thin enough to be transparent.”

I talked about all these issues with Edoardo Fassino, who is the creative director and top executive of PT Pantaloni Torino, who designs pants, and only pants, with rigorous attention to detail. Fassino said the company’s white pants are selling well, especially in Japan, where they are often combined with blue blazers.

The key, he said, to make good white pants is to know that “the choice of the fabric is related to the fit you want to achieve”, for example, a narrower cut requires a thicker fabric. In the case of PT, this could take it to the field of cotton pique.

Elsewhere, you might end up studying heavy blends of cotton and linen or conversing with your tailor about the versatility of white winter flannel. You may also decide that you are willing to settle for a slight transparency to look like you want when you borrow someone else’s vacation home. If the Canali guys do not lose sleep over this, should you lose it?