10 Tips For How To Wear White
White clothing. The preserve of angels, brides, chefs and Madonna at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards earlier this year. Or is it of those pushing back the frontiers of menswear? The trendy Wendys, if you will. Well, Juun.J is making a strong case for the latter – though we’re having a hard time shaking the picture of Madge in that white tuxedo and matching cowboy hat from our heads.
Taking my journalistic practice very seriously, I decided to conduct some primary research. I wore all white for the day (a white T-shirt and pair of jeans) and gauged the responses of the people I encountered. “You look virginal,” was the first comment. In fact, angel, bride, chef, decorator, patient on a psychiatric ward and Vietnamese Cistercian monk were all comparisons I received throughout the day. It’s a mixed bag, to say the least, but on the whole a positive reaction. This depends, of course, on how you feel about being associated with: a) the state of virginity; b) the messengers or servants of God; c) the institution of marriage; d) blue-collar work; and e) mental illness. I’m sure you’re all open-minded folk and agree that these associations are, yes, on the whole positive. I enjoyed looking like a mentally ill angel who works in a kitchen, decorates houses and has never been laid. Even if was just for the day. Perhaps you would, too.
But if I’ve failed to convince you, then maybe a reference to high art will sway you instead. Robert Rauschenberg’s White Paintings are exactly what they suggest – white paintings. The all-white surfaces negate all gesture, narrative and external influence. It’s radical reductionism – painting in its most reduced form. Without the distraction of gesture et cetera, painting can be experienced for what it is: paint on canvas. Perhaps, then, all-white clothing is clothing in its most reduced form – void of all colour and print – which can be experienced for what it is: material worn on the body. And when the material is manipulated, masterfully so, into playful proportions, exaggerated, masculine shapes and American sportswear silhouettes, as it was in Juun.J’s spring/summer 2015 collection, then this is an experience you want.
And if you’re still not sold, then you should know that white material is flattering on all skin tones – even milk-bottle white, you pale Janets.
By Ted Stansfield