Fashion: Why this summer will be a total white out

Eva Longoria wears a white floral embellished gown by Georges Hobeika (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Eva Longoria wears a white floral embellished gown by Georges Hobeika (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

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Whether your style is minimalist or all frills and flouncy, white is in this summer. Stephanie Smith takes a look at the trend-spanning shade.

Practical it is not. Nonetheless, white is THE colour to wear to this summer’s outdoor events, from festivals to garden parties.

Seventies-inspired California look from Diane von Furstenberg, as seen for this spring in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Seventies-inspired California look from Diane von Furstenberg, as seen for this spring in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Earlier this month, white crochet and lace looks were all over Coachella (aka the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival which takes place in the Colorado Desert in California). It was all quite boho, summer of love meets Seventies heaven, with cotton and cutwork lace maxi dresses and mini dresses, white peasant dresses and Sixties crochet mini dresses. White fringed bra tops teamed with see-through white lace trousers were especially popular. Sia took a more utility-style approach to the white trend, dressed on stage all in white, in a high-neck white dress a little like an old-fashioned American nurse’s uniform, topped off with a huge white bow on top of her trademark face-shielding wig. I suspect you had to be there to get the full impact.

Of course, what works in the Californian sunshine might not be quite such a good idea tramping through the muddy fields and gardens of the UK, but fashion is fashion...

So, which way to go? There are a number of ways to wear white this season, as it’s a shade that spans quite a few trends, ensuring that there is a white option, whatever your particular style (I’m using “white” fairly loosely, as I also mean ivory, pale cream and all the hints of a tint of something – for example, this season, you can find white with the tiniest tinge of blush and caramel).

So, trend-wise, there’s sports luxe white (witness Balenciaga, which showed for SS16 white fringed shell crop tops with white satin slouchy combat trousers), which is perfect as along as you attempt no sport.

White and black panel hem dress, �95, from Bo Carter on www.bocarter.co.uk

White and black panel hem dress, �95, from Bo Carter on www.bocarter.co.uk

There are many, many white ruffled and Victoriana lace looks (Alexander McQueen, Burberry and the rest), which work well if you throw a waxed jacket or huge mac on top of them.

For a pared-back white look, try cropped wide-leg trousers with a sleeveless wrap-style white jacket or shell top (try Hobbs and Mint Velvet), or try a white all-in-one (La Redoute) or a simple pair of white trousers with a white shirt. For a weekend look, white jeans or crops with a white peasant shirt is perfect. A simple white A-line tunic dress teamed with white sandals will take you anywhere.

Obviously, whichever white trend you choose, you must take care to avoid pets, children, red wine, chocolate and all food, which can be inconvenient and not much fun, but keeping white pristine is a full-time job in itself.

There’s another danger with white too, and that is weddings. Unless you are the bride, all-white is best avoided, even the simplest tunic dress. White lace, even more so. It doesn’t matter if the bride herself is not wearing white, it’s just polite and considerate not to wear a dress that might make other guests wonder for one second who is getting married. Apart from that, go white ahead.

Shell top, ?69; cropped wide leg trouser, ?89; wedge espadrilles, ?99. All at Mint Velvet in York, Harrogate, John Lewis and online.

Shell top, ?69; cropped wide leg trouser, ?89; wedge espadrilles, ?99. All at Mint Velvet in York, Harrogate, John Lewis and online.

Lace playsuit, �55, from La redoute on www.laredoute.co.uk.

Lace playsuit, �55, from La redoute on www.laredoute.co.uk.

Crop top, �30; lace trousers, �65. Bith at Long Tall Sally in York and on www.longtallsallycom.

Crop top, �30; lace trousers, �65. Bith at Long Tall Sally in York and on www.longtallsallycom.

White jumpsuit, �99, in sizes 6-16 at La Redoute on www.laredoute.co.uk.

White jumpsuit, �99, in sizes 6-16 at La Redoute on www.laredoute.co.uk.

Knit dress with nude linen wide hem border, �159, at Jigsaw.

Knit dress with nude linen wide hem border, �159, at Jigsaw.

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Victoriana blouse, �35, at J D Williams.

S Victoriana blouse, �35, at J D Williams.