The Manual’s Guide to Wearing White

Here at The Manual, we’re not much for following other people’s style rules. In fact, we much prefer to make our own set of guidelines for how to dress and look damn good doing so. Sure, there are some classic styling tips we stick to so we can look our most dapper selves, but rules are no fun if you can’t break a few. With spring in full swing and summer on the horizon, we got to thinking about the color white. Crisp and light, this warm-weather neutral is a great way to refresh your wardrobe for the new season. But don’t think we’re waiting until Memorial Day to wear this hue – that’s one style rule that’s meant to be broken. But just because we’re giving you permission to wear it earlier than historically acceptable doesn’t mean a head-to-toe getup is the way to go. Check out our guide to wearing white and you’ll be looking fresh way before summer’s kickoff holiday arrives.

Start from the ground up There is nothing better than a brand new pair of white sneakers. In fact, they almost have a glow about them we can’t quite explain. Sneakers are a great way to work white into your wardrobe without making any risky style moves. Whether you want to wear them with denim or shorts, they can make any outfit look new from the bottom up. We’re all about a throwback which is why these PONY TopStar Hi-Tops are at the top of our list. Standing for Product of New York, PONY has been on the scene since 1972, way before some of your favorite sneaker brands were even an idea.

When it comes to warm-weather footwear, we can’t think of anything better than the classic boat shoe. Comfortable and versatile, you can wear them with everything from shorts to linen and seersucker suits. And because they bring major nautical vibes to any look, we’re all about this classic pair from Sebago. A single piece of hand-sewn leather wraps the foot for a fit that feels custom-made.

Keep it tailored Sometimes the best way to introduce a new piece into your wardrobe is to do it with something tailored. Nothing says summer quite like a white blazer, especially one that is altered to fit you perfectly. It brings to mind ship captains and Old Hollywood’s leading men, two style icons we don’t at all mind emulating. Whether you want to go for the full white suit or just rock the jacket, we love this lightweight piece from Zara. But remember, a blazer purchased off the rack should always be taken to a tailor unless it truly fits you perfectly.

Do it with denim Here’s the thing about white denim – it’s dangerous if not styled correctly. The key to wearing white jeans is simplicity because they make a statement on their own. For example, pairing them with gold chains and an overly colorful graphic tee would take your look straight to the Jersey shore where people are beating up the beat. If that’s your thing, don’t let us stop you from doing you, but there is a better way to wear them. We like white denim with a simple tee, whether it’s plain black topped with a leather motorcycle jacket or a bright solid that offers a stark contrast. Pair them with those white PONY sneakers we were talking about and you’ll look effortlessly cool. Want to dress them up a bit? Grab a light blue oxford shirt and navy blazer, slip on a pair of boat shoes and you’ll be sending handsome nautical vibes that will draw the ladies forth like a lobster trap. We like the slim but not-too-tight fit of the AG Matchbox jeans, available at Scoop NYC.