Fashion stylist Cynthia Kelley writes the StyleBlueprint Style File, a new monthly column in which she answers all of your style questions. Here, she shares everything you need to know to be fresh, updated and age-appropriate. Got a question for an upcoming Style File? Email [email protected].

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“What white jeans do I buy this year and how do I style them?”

This is by far the most common question I am getting right now from both clients and friends. White jeans are a wardrobe essential and such a fresh look to wear with spring tops, blouses and sandals. But, they are also one of the most difficult clothing items to buy. Sometimes trying on white jeans feels like trying on a bathing suit, and it takes time and effort to find just the right pair for your body type.

White jeans work well for both day and night, casual and elevated casual occasions, but how you style them will determine whether the look “works.” Here are some details, tips and photos of four different styles of white jeans — skinny, straight, skinny flare and flare. And finally, check out the “rules” for white jeans to ensure you look your best!

Let’s start with the most obvious and probably the pair that’s already in your closet.

Skinny White Jeans

My take? I definitely think you should keep your skinny jeans and rock them this summer if you LOVE them. But, if you need new white jeans, try an updated silhouette for 2021. Skinny jeans, as well as straight, make you look longer. Both curvy and straighter body types wear them well, and they work for any height if the length hits correctly.

Skinny jeans work with a shorter, fuller top. Here’s where the high-waisted look comes in. It’s very flattering to show a waist with skinny jeans. A shorter top, cropped top, blouses and cotton tees are great. If you have on a longer blouse, half-tuck it to give you some shape. For the half-tuck, just tuck in part of the front and leave the back untucked.

Madewell white jeans

Pictured: Madewell’s Curvy skinny jeans. Sneakers are the perfect shoe to throw on for summer. These jeans also work well with longer blouses, cotton tops and jackets. Image: Madewell

ZARA white jeans

Pictured: ZARA’s Skinny white jeans. I love the white on white. It always has a clean feel, but you can add a denim jacket for a more edgy look. Image: ZARA

Cynthia Kelley white jeans and full top

In this photo, I’m wearing MOTHER Denim’s The Looker, paired with a Farm Rio top. The look showcases how a fuller top that hits above the waist gives shape to the look. And wedge shoes go great with the cropped style. Image: Cynthia Kelley

Straight Jeans

Straight jeans have taken the place of skinny as the new everyday denim. They are more comfortable and not as clingy. Some are straight all the way to the ankle, and others are wider down the calf. These are versatile and casual pants, and when it comes to shoes, you’ll see everything from sandals and sneakers to wedges and block heels. A narrow shirt complements the straight leg including a tank, tee, button-down or shorter top. A casual tee with puffed sleeves also works well with the relaxed straight jean. There are so many tops out right now with detailed sleeves at every price point — definitely a good addition to your wardrobe with your white jeans.

Citizens of Humanity jeans in white with a rust top

These Citizens of Humanity relaxed straight jeans look best with a fitted or a straight shirt. Image: Citizens of Humanity

FRAME white denim

Here is another great pair of straight jeans. These are by FRAME. Image: FRAME

Paper Bag tie-waist jeans

For the Paper Bag straight jeans by Hudson, wear a tucked shirt or a cropped shirt. Since they are wider, be sure to emphasize your waist. Image: Hudson

Skinny Flare

This is my favorite jean silhouette right now. It needs to be fitted through the thigh and then kick out a bit from the knee. This is a small, almost cropped boot cut look. They can be dressed for running errands or a nice dinner, and they work with every height. I love finding a jean that is so flattering on so many body types and heights.

mother denim white jeans

The MOTHER Denim Insider crop flare really works on all heights. Just cut the fray to hit about an inch above your ankle. It also works well with curves and a fuller figure. Image: MOTHER Denim

crop flare white jeans by 7

These 7 For All Mankind skinny flares are casual with a little more flare. These also work well with sneakers as well as wedges and block heels. Image: 7 For All Mankind

cynthia in white jeans and pink top

The skinny flare dressed up! A blousy or longer top, like the Alice & Olivia top I’m wearing, needs to be half-tucked, but a short or fitted top is also fine. If you leave your top untucked just be sure it is not longer than your hip bones in the front. Also, notice how a strappy sandal elevates the white jeans. Image: Cynthia Kelley

white jeans and a navy top on cynthia kelley

Here, I’m wearing a skinny flare dressed down with a navy front tucked blouse. These sandals, with their clear straps, are a big trend for spring/summer. Image: Cynthia Kelley

Flare

Finally, the flare. White flares are very popular this season, from a cropped flare to a bell flare and even wide-legged flares. This style is harder to wear for shorter women, and they usually look best with some sort of heel. Take a look.

flared white jeans

This is a skinny flare — MOTHER Denim’s Weekender. The fray hits at the ankle. Image: MOTHER Denim

flared white jeans

See how this pair hits at the top of the foot? This pair, the Rachel by DL1961, is a really good white jean that is thick, doesn’t wrinkle and keeps its shape. Image: Shopbop

button fly white jeans

The wide-legged Victoria Beard flare jean is a nice look on both curvy and fuller figured women. It pairs well with a fitted or more narrow top and a shoe with a heel. Image: Neiman Marcus

RELATED: 8 Reasons to Wear White After Labor Day

Final Thoughts: Rules for White Jeans

Yes, there are rules for white jeans. Keep these pointers in mind, and you will look amazing!

The Waist: Choose a high-rise or mid-rise jean. These keep everything in and help cropped cut or tucked longer blouses look much better.

The Length: White jeans do not slenderize and elongate your legs as well as regular denim, so the length is important. Have your jeans hit right above the ankle — an inch or so is great. This will show a little skin before your shoe. And if your jeans are frayed, just cut them to shorten them. For flared crop jeans, they should hit right above the ankle, and longer flared jeans should hit at the top of the foot.

The Hem: Frayed jeans are very on-trend. But, keep it simple — a straight fray. Regular hem white jeans are dressier and are also great to have for nicer occasions.

The Undergarments: Keep them skin toned, and be sure there are no lines!

Got questions? Email Cynthia your style questions at [email protected], and look for answers in an upcoming column!

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