So much has been said about the little black dress (or LBD, of course), but less has been written about how to style a little white dress (or LWD, as we call it). We know a white look can be more intimidating than an all-black ensemble, but the style myths around white clothes are outdated and untrue, and we’re here to debunk them all:
White dresses are for everyone, not just for brides (unless you’re actually at a wedding; take a look at our wedding dress code guide for more wedding guest inspiration).
Wearing white can be flattering on any body type and with any coloring, as long as you feel comfortable in it.
But with warm weather right around the corner, we want to talk about our favorite sunny day uniform: the white summer dress. Here, we break down all the ways to wear white dresses and how to style your LWD.
Just like a little black dress, a fun white dress acts as a base layer that transitions seamlessly from day to night, regardless of the season. Depending on length, neckline and sleeves, white dresses can go from work to weekend or from crisp seasons to warm weather. When choosing a white summer dress, try to keep it simple. Find a classic silhouette for an effortless look and stick to styles that make you feel comfortable. For extra versatility, choose a fabric that transitions from day to night, like linen, rayon or lace. If you’re planning to wear your LWD to the office, find one that’s knee length or midi length. Luckily, a maxi-length white sundress is just as transitional as a white mini shift. It’s all about the accessories.
Nothing is more summery than a chic sandal, which makes them the perfect shoes to wear with a white dress. Of course, that doesn’t exactly narrow your options down, but there’s no hard-and-fast rule about the best sandals to wear with white dresses. Your choice of shoe is all about the look you’re going for. When it comes to accessorizing your white dress, consider the occasion:
Casual sandals, slip-on slides and mules are perfect for everyday wear (think errands, shopping or strolling the farmer’s market).
Strappy sandals, like gladiator sandals, make a bolder statement for brunch, day parties or outdoor gatherings.
Dress sandals and high-heeled sandals are ideal for evenings out, like cocktail parties, date nights, happy hours or special events. A sleek heel sandal might do the trick!
Though you can’t go wrong with neutrals, like nudes and metallics, don’t be afraid to play with colors and prints. Try a bold sandal in red, orange or pink, or mix things up with an eye-catching leopard or snakeskin print. It’s the little details that will elevate your white summer dress from simply classic to statement-making.
White summer dresses require the right jewelry, but the perfect picks depend mostly on context. Just consider the occasion and setting. A cocktail party will require different jewelry than a daytime luncheon or a beachside birthday.
Jewelry for Daytime Events
Daytime and casual occasions allow plenty of room to play with your personal jewelry style. Layered necklaces, dainty rings and mismatched studs will add character to your white dress look. Consider mixing metals and adding organic elements, like a pair of tortoise-print sunglasses or raffia hoop earrings.
Jewelry for Evening Events
For evening events, you’ll want to opt for statement pieces with extra sparkle. Dainty diamonds, crystals or jewel-toned gemstones are perfect. A bold necklace is a great start, but oversized earrings and rings also pack a powerful punch. If your style is more understated, try pearls to add an elegant finish.
From totes to clutches, handbags are another great way to accessorize your white summer dress. With a plethora of styles and textures to choose from, you’re sure to find the bag that suits your look and your mood:
Straw bags and elevated totes give off major summer vibes and are perfect for vacations, beach days and weekend wanderings.
Crossbodies or sling bags are an ideal option if you're running errands or just hanging with friends.
Choose a metallic tone, like champagne or gold, or stick with neutral leathers, like nude and camel. Organic hues, like mushroom or stone-washed gray, add a rustic, earthy feel.
For evening, try a clutch or a pochette for a ladylike look that’s perfect for dinner dates or nights out. Feel free to play with materials here too: metal mesh, feathers and sequins have a party vibe, whereas embossed leather and sleek satin are more classic.
Summer evenings can get chilly, so you’ll need some layers to wear with your white dress. In our opinion, one of the most impactful ways to style a white summer dress is to top it with a great jacket. Tie your look together with a tailored menswear-inspired jacket for a polished, chic look, or go for a slouchy, undone mood with an oversized printed blazer. On the other hand, a lightweight trench coat is perfect for crisp evenings or travel. And don’t forget your denim jacket for casual, everyday wear.
For a cozy, feminine mood, top your white dress with a soft sweater. Create a classic, put-together look for the office or a luncheon (think bridal or baby shower) with a cropped cardigan. For a late nineties’ vibe, grab a chunky-knit pullover.
Styling a white summer dress can seem like it’s easier said than done, but it all boils down to feeling confident and comfortable. Choose a silhouette that works for you and pair it with accessories that match the occasion and your mood. Trust us: by the end of the season, you’ll be reaching for your little white dress more than anything else in your closet. ExploreBCBGMAXAZRIA’s Classic White collection for inspiration this summer!