Head-to-toe white looks right

05/25/2012 5:00 AM

05/28/2012 6:22 AM

In a season when the hottest trend is hot colors, white plays an important role. But all those wild brights can be tamed a bit with white. For a crisp, pure departure from vivid tones, go with an all-white outfit. It’s clean and cool and a refreshing look for a warm spring going into a hot summer.

Many designers, including those who loaded their spring and summer collections with bright orange, turquoise, yellow and pink, added white to the mix. With the influx of dresses, from mini to maxi, white is one of the hottest colors. White swimwear is chosen to contrast with summer tans.

But before you start yanking the white items out of your closet, remember that all whites don’t automatically work together. Leatrice Eiseman, of the Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training and the Pantone Color Institute, wrote in her book “More Alive With Color”: “Off-whites look dull and dingy next to pure white. Your beautiful antique lace blouse will look yellowed and faded next to a snow-white skirt, as will off-white gabardine pants next to a crisp white cotton shirt.”

If you think an all-white outfit might be boring, consider the many, many textures you can mix, the proportions of the pieces you can put together and how striking and elegant a monotone outfit can be.

White reflects light. So if you have pale skin, makeup artists suggest you add extra blush or bronzer. This is especially true if you have light hair. Monotone doesn’t mean you and your clothes should be the same color.

If your teeth aren’t sparkling white, take note that bright white clothing may cause your teeth to look grayish or yellow. When you try on something white, look in the mirror and smile big.

When all the bright colors and prints are put aside for the clean slate of monochromatic white, the attention goes to the shapes of what you’re wearing and interesting details. Suits with some structure remind of the days of sharp tailoring, but there are plenty of soft knits and flowing fabrics to choose from, as well.

Pageant contestants and performers are eye-catching in white, brides are luminous in white, and everyone can be radiant in head-to-toe white.

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