Is there anything as unintentionally ironic as the sartorial boldness of wearing all white? But wearing head-to-toe winter white is a strong statement, and this season, designers like Isabel Marant, Stella McCartney and Mugler made it a must-try one as well, should you be so brave. And since pairing various shades of white—from ivory to cream, and everything in between—in one outfit is anything but vanilla, we consulted an expert for the best ways to try this fashion trend (and what to avoid). Deborah Ferguson, a New York-based celebrity fashion stylist, shares her insider tips on how to wear winter white this season.
How to wear winter white rule #1: Stick with matte shades.
Yes, the fashion trend is head-to-toe winter white, but at no point should you be confused for a glittering snowflake. “Avoid garments and accessories with shine,” says Ferguson. Stick with varying matte shades instead. “Mix ivory and off white,” she suggests. “Go for coats in an off-white fur or cashmere, and accent with
ivory white layers.” Beautiful.
How to wear winter white rule #2. Pair off-white shades together.
While we’re on what to avoid when wearing the all-white fashion trend, stay away from pairing together pure, snow white garments—break up the look with contrasting hues. “Go for ivory or off-white fur coats in shearling or sculptural, matte wool fabrics that designers like Acne Studios, Marni and Costume National are known for,” says Ferguson. For a gold standard from the winter runways this season, there’s the ivory wool cloak seen at Valentino—the epitome of
cozy and chic outwear this season.
How to wear winter white rule #3: Play with different textures.
While pairing creams and ivories for an all-white outfit, incorporate a mix of fabrics to add a hint of texture. “Break up an all-white look by mixing tones of white in wool, silk, cashmere, fur, high-tech matte fabrics,” Ferguson explains. Think an off-white tweed bouclé coat over an ivory cocktail dress, as seen at
Proenza Schouler this season.
RUNWAY INSPIRATION: How to wear winter white
More ways to try the winter white fashion trend on the next page…
How to wear winter white rule #4: Dare to wear it head to toe (literally)
Leave no garment or accessory to colour—add all-white winter accessories, like mitts and knit scarves with your oversized coat and winter boots this season. Ferguson’s pick for the perfect head-to-toe ensemble? “A white fur hat with an oversized cashmere coat by Céline, layered over cashmere fine knitwear,” she says. Pair with Chanel slim cut pants and Pierre Hardy white ankle boots to round out your wintry look.
How to wear winter white rule #5: Keep it winter formal
How designers— from Mulberry and Nina Ricci to Céline, and Giambattista Valli—played with various tones and silhouettes in all-white ensembles on the runway showcases that you don’t need flashy metallics or bold hues to stand out. And it takes an equally brazen attitude to pull off this high-fashion look. “I think all white is best for those with a sophisticated or retro-inspired closet,” says Ferguson. “It takes a bold personality and a woman who is in touch with ready-to-wear seasonal trends to wear.”
HOW TO WEAR LAYERS: Winter fashion tips
So where to go now that you’re all decked out in head-to-toe winter white? “All white works for a formal [setting] or a sophisticated occasion,” Ferguson says. Think a winter wedding or on the red carpet. (Remember Gwyneth Paltrow’s classic and sharp all-white Tom Ford gown and cape at the 2012 Oscars? Exactly.) Simply put, an all-white ensemble is not for a casual event—or for the faint of heart, better yet.
How to wear winter white: Runway inspiration
Winter fashion: How to layer clothes like a stylist
How to dress for winter with Canadian fashion designers
How to look super stylish in sweaters this season