Can white jeans ever look cool?

They're light. They're bright. They're often tight. But can these tricky trousers ever look good?

No. They can’t. If you came here looking for a short answer, clicked through out of sheer curiosity, or took a brief internet detour before clicking ‘buy’ on a pair of white jeans yourself, then that’s the truth. Drag them out of your basket, rethink and instead purchase a pair of pale blue, washed-out jeans. You’ll get the same effect, but you’ll look less like a chef.

Of course, there will be those among you who are now staring at your screens aghast, unable to work out why we’re being so cruel about your trousers and looking down mournfully at the milk-white material swaddling your legs with a combination of embarrassment and anger.

But, before you overreact, click away, and flounce off in your ill-judged jeans, allow us to explain. There are several very convincing reasons that prove beyond doubt white jeans are not only uncool, but also highly impractical. So don’t be angry – you may have splashed out on a pair of white elephants, but we’re more than happy to talk you through your mistake – and ensure you don’t make a similar one ever again.

First off, nobody looks their best in white trousers. Protest this all you want, but it’s a fact. Naval officers, mid-Nineties boy bands or those ostentatious enough to attempt the full-ivory tux would all look far more fashionable and much more manly in the darker alternatives. And that’s before all the day-to-day downsides…

In wearing white, you dress yourself – quite literally – as a blank canvas. This means, any unsightly bulges or strange shapes that would otherwise be disguised are pushed firmly front and centre for anyone, and everyone to see. Fit suddenly takes on an unprecedented importance when you don a pair of white jeans, so why sacrifice a sure thing for the sake of a shot at style?

Not to mention all the little things that will start to terrorise your daily life. Wet paint, deep puddles and over-shook Coke cans – all usually easily dealt with in denim – are now your worst enemies. And don’t even get us started on the multitude of horrors hidden on public transport seating. There’s a reason the Underground’s seats aren’t white…

It seems to be accepted that the paler your pants, the more sophisticated you look. Not so. Perhaps for those of us lucky enough to live on the French Riveria, or a secluded Italian island, white trousers are a good idea. They’re more likely to reflect the sun and keep us cool, and there are fewer double-decker buses to send waves of murky water up onto the pavement to ruin both our jeans and our days.

But here in the real world, where all of us blue-jeaned joes regrettably live, white jeans simply aren’t practical for day-to-day wear. However, for all of our ranting, we’d encourage you not to wave the white flag just yet. They may be the pinnacle of uncool for the most part but, if you’ve already bought a pair, below we’ve pulled together three key tips and tricks to ensure you get it white.

Keep ‘em clean

This should go without saying. Every time you wear your white jeans, assess the damage at the end of the day. Spot a scuff, stain or the remnants of your lunch anywhere about them and it’s time to give them a good wash. If you’re committing to white, then keep them white – there’s nothing less attractive than greying clothes.

Know their place

There is a very, very small window during which white jeans are acceptable. If the month is between June and early September, and if the temperature is over 25 degrees celsius – with sunshine to match – then pull them on. If it’s a dreary, mid-winter mid-week British club night, don’t do it to yourself.

Be confident

Regardless of how cruelly we’ve condemned them throughout this article, if you’re going to take the plunge into the world of pale jeans, then do it with gusto. Men rarely look bad in outfits when they wear them with confidence, so grab those white trousers, flaunt them for all you’re worth and feel great!*

*But don’t actually. They’re really not cool.

Further Reading