Style

My New Summer Uniform

We were packing for Chicago this morning, and I was thinking about summer uniforms. What’s yours this summer? I keep spotting beautiful women around town wearing white jeans with grey T-shirts. Fresh, clean, classic. Perfect for day or night. Here’s how to get the look…

Grey tee: Get this one. People usually think of tees as basics that you can find anywhere—Gap, Old Navy—but not all T-shirts are created equal. Certain tees can be wildly unflattering. You want to stay away from fluttery sleeves, high necks and any thick fabrics. Instead, find a thin tee with a lower crew neck or V-neck, which are soooooo much prettier.

White jeans: My favorite pair, hands down. The cut is fantastic. I bought these before a trip to Paris three years ago and have loved wearing them ever since.

(Photos by the Sartorialist and Boden)

  1. Sandhya says...

    I know it’s now four years later but just wanted to say I bought the toothpick jeans based on your recommendation and am looking forward to trying them out. Thanks for being so specific!!

  2. Great outfit! I’d love to wear white jeans but it would put too much emphasis on my thighs (they don’t need any more). Sigh. I’ll stick to regular jeans and shirt dresses..!

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  6. I like the shirts but the cut of the pants make the legs look really short in my opinion.

  7. love this look! except i can never find a good white pair of jeans -_-

  8. I have never had the courage to rock a pair of white jeans, but this post made me rethink my fear. I’m so glad I did! I found a great pair at Zara – paired it with a grey t-shirt from Anthropologie – and my favorite greek sandals. I felt fantastic. Thank you for the inspiration!! I just need to make sure I carry my Tide Stick with me at all times, which I indeed needed today.

    Melissa
    http://www.iamtrueofheart.com

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. I’m predictable with my summer uniform: rolled up boyfriend jeans and an old t-shirt with a pair of flats. When I’m not at work, that’s what I toss on. Or else it’s what I put on as soon as I’m back home. :)

  11. I love white jeans, also with baby blue denim shirts

  12. I LOVE white jeans but haven’t really worn them since having a baby. How do you find them with Toby? I’m thinking when I wear them they will stay clean only until the next snack or meal or play outside!
    It is such a clean & chic look. Love it.
    Thanks x

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  14. Nice white jeans. looks so clean and crisp. Jcrew has nice pants for sure.

  15. Oooo gorgeous. I haven’t really ever given white jeans a second thought until this – some how it seems a lot more effortlessly chic that white jeans normally look. The grey tshirt keeps it low key chic. Lovely

    x

    http://i-should-coco.blogspot.com

  16. I love those jeans! oh if only I have the money. And time to exercise, actually. Have to second with what Maggie wrote earlier on. I’m also pear-shaped and find skinny jeans unflattering for my pear-shaped body. ugh. I also have a flare cut w/c i stopped using to go out for the same reason.

  17. S says...

    I like skirts in the summer. Not a huge fan if white jeans most people.
    And yikes! Those prices are a bit much! Couldn’t rationalize that unless I caught a 50% sale.

  18. I love white jeans! They look dressed up but they are so comfortable. An easy classy look.

  19. oh yes i’ve noticed the white jeans trend as well and am on a current hunt for some good white jeans. Your addition of grey t shirts has just brought it to another level. and i agree, Gwyneth is looking super fine!

    soudavones.blogspot.com

  20. That photo of Gweneth slays me …

  21. Nice look i love this so much ..

  22. Such a good idea. I will definitely be trying this.

  23. i am not confident white jeans would look good on me. i LOVE how they look though.

  24. Such tight clothing is just going to make you sweat and get a rash! Sorry, but the truth is that free-flowing clothes are just more practical if you live in a hot-weather climate!!

    Have fun in Chicago!!

  25. I’ve been looking for a great pair of white jeans. I’ve been trying to do it pretty cheap but I think I might have to step it up a bit. Jcrew might be perfect. Thanks for the rec! Have a great trip!

  26. Anonymous says...

    Genius! I’ve been looking for a go-to outfit for the summer, simple and casual (but not scruffy!)

    Although I must say, as a flatter chested woman, I look and feel much better in a higher necked t-shirt. V-necks aren’t for everyone!

  27. Stephanie says...

    You know, it’s funny, I had a white summer skirt that I wore for three years, even on vacation, and found that I could keep it surprisingly clean and new-looking. I thought I would give white jeans a try this year, so I ordered a couple of different pairs from J Crew. Even though I’m not a big women – between a size 0 and a size 2, I really found them unflattering relative to the same jeans in blue and so I returned them. Maybe it’s because I have somewhat muscular, runner’s legs. I also was skeptical about keeping them clean, since with jeans one has a tendency to put hands in the pockets (don’t the jeans get kind of dingy from the oils on one’s hands?). I’ve concluded that they’re for women who have very very thin legs, and/or who do laundry all of the time!! :) I am totally with you on the thin, grey v-neck t though…I’m wearing one right now.

  28. about a week ago i bought myself white skinny jeans, i’ve been wearing them everyday with a different shade of grey for the past week! happy friday!

  29. hrrrmmm….my summer uniform this year is maternity jeans. But no worries: I channel my creative energy into coming up with summer hairstyles.

  30. Wallace says...

    I think we have the same uniform! I pair mine with my K Jacques and am good to go. (And am pretty sure everyone thinks I don’t do laundry.)

    Have you tried Bobi t-shirts? They’re a little pricier (like $40) but worth it! They are the MOST flattering t-shirts ever, and very well made. Every time I have one on I get compliments about my body (seriously) and I kid you not – it’s ALL the t-shirt’s doing. Crazy.

  31. I don’t know if anyone will read all the way through to this comment, but Target has their thin scoopneck tees on sale for $6 this week. I had just picked up a grey one today and then saw this post. Guess I’m on track for the season.

    Have fun on your trip! It’s hot hot hot here.

  32. love the look, but agree with others here that it is pricey and can be done for cheaper without giving up quality.

  33. I LOVE those sandal GP is wearing in the second picture – does anyone know who makes them?

    Thanks! Angie

  34. Thank you for being so inspiring to all of us…I am addicted to wearing white skinny jeans-I think they look so classy with any colored top…Love the gray and white look. Have to find a gray t-shirt now :) Have a great weekend!!

  35. Thanks Jo! Love the post!

  36. Aside from Motherhood Mondays which I LOVE, I love your Summer Uniform series as well – please continue the series!

  37. I can never find a pair of white jeans that isn’t a little bit sheer. There is that, and the fact that I am pretty sure a pair of white jeans would get dirty in the bag on the way home if they belonged to me. But yes, impossibly fresh looking all the time on those I see wearing them…

  38. Anonymous says...

    Chicago woman here. Just wanted to tell you that it is to be 90-100 degrees here. I know some have told you it might be cool at night but I am going to tell you it is very dry here and very very hot right now (but we are getting some rain today) so pack for HOT. Have a great time. It s a wonderful city.

  39. I would looove to rock a pair of white jeans! Unfortunately, I’m like a small child, in that I unwittingly collect stains and smears wherever I go.
    I’ve been recycling a few above-the knee tent dresses I bougt a few summers ago, belting them low at the hips and pairing them with ankle-strap sandals. Keeps me cool and feeling stylish, despite the heat!

  40. Anonymous says...

    Over $175 for a super-casual look is ridiculous.

  41. If you are afraid of wearing white pants, try gray jeans with a white shirt. Plus you won’t see sweat through the white shirt as much either. Also, Target has great v-neck shirts for cheap and wear in very nicely.

  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

  43. PS–going to go to Jcrew tomorrow to check out those toothpicks!!

  44. oh! gray and white is my old lover. and i loooove the matchstick cut… i can never tell what exactly the difference is between matches and toothpicks…

  45. I love white jeans and think they look amazingly chic on others but haven’t yet found a pair that don’t make me self-conscious about my thighs. Also, my browness always shows through and I can see the pockets. I need to find a thick pair. I love this summer uniform.

    Also–first pair of Bensimons (light blue)arrived in the mail yesterday. SO CUTE.

  46. I totally agree with cosmic! Uniqlo is the SPOT for all the staple items in my closet. Friends who don’t have a Uniqlo in their city are tired of hearing me rave about it, but I can’t help it! It’s the best.

  47. I will be wearing my coveted, classic straw fedora with everything!

  48. Zsuzsa says...

    A grey T-shirt is absolutely no-go in the summer time….because when you sweat it is seen in that exact minute.

  49. Oh lord – I wear a variation of this combo CONSTANTLY – but my version is with a grey ribbed tank from Madewell. I live in LA right now, so tank tops are possible almost year-round.

  50. I think it’s a really cute look, but I don’t know if white jeans are the most flattering choice on me. I end up kind of looking like a mom, since I’m not the skinniest person out there. My general summer uniform is a bright, v-neck tee and a denim mini skirt. Love it!

  51. i live in phoenix….so pretty much my summer uniforms is “whatever i don’t mind sweating in and can peel off the minute i get home to wander around my house in the nude.” …and that pretty much sums it up :) (but for reals, a skirt and/or cut-off jean shorts are my go-to….and everything neon)

  52. I would love to wear an outfit like this, but to me it has RISK written all over. Aside from the obvious scares that come along with white pants, I would pit out in TWO second in a grey t-shirt in this humidity. Not sexy at all.

  53. Thanks for the inspiration! The weather is dismal in Vancouver this June, so I’m always freezing in my usual summer clothes. White jeans = not black, covered legs!

  54. Sarah says...

    This is hands down the BEST t-shirt I’ve ever owned:

    http://www.hornytoad.com/womens/tops/marley-tee/h1012122/

    Oh, how I wish it came in gray!

    It’s baby soft, substantial (but not heavy), and sits at the hip (I’m not big on the long shirt trend). It’s more polished and less slouchy-cool. But whatever, it’s MAGICAL. If I could freely throw around 46 bones I’d have one in every color.

  55. I adore the white jeans/grey tshirt look, and get compliments on it quite often. My fave white jeans and tshirts are both from Uniqlo: cheap and chic.

  56. fluttery sleeves are a no-go for you? gah! pray tell? i love the idea of a fluttery sleeve like the one in the link which surely makes your arms look like little matchsticks coming out of it?

    (note: even the most fluttery sleeve could never make my arm look like a matchstick..)

  57. $52 for a gray t-shirt is out of my price range, as I think it is for most people. I’m all for quality, but I’ve found that a higher price doesn’t always equal a longer lasting garment. I found awesome deep v-neck tees at Target this year for $3-$7 depending on if you find them on sale. and if you can’t do white jeans (I definitely can’t) I find a white denim skirt looks nice or colored jeans. I’m in the south though and my uniform for summer consists of skirts, tanks and sundresses. too hot for jeans!

  58. i’m all about the boyfriend-fit jeans with tees, or long maxi skirts with pretty tank tops. pretty simple! love the white jeans & gray tee combo though!

  59. Perfect summer look. T-shirts are light and breezy and the white jeans are a must!

  60. Anonymous says...

    In the summer, regardless of the T-shirt, I get armpit stains if it is really hot and humid. Even if I am just dashing outside… :(

    SO…I’m a tanks girl all the way.

  61. I just can’t do white jeans. I know they wouldn’t be white anymore after just a day of wear. I also feel like they’re not flattering on anyone with thicker or shapely legs.

  62. such timing! i honestly have just finished packing for a trip to paris tonight and this is exactly my uniform for the visit:) thanks always, joanna!

  63. did you write a post about your trip to Paris? Searching through your archives and I didn’t find one.

  64. Anonymous says...

    I totally agree with you re v neck but it is funny that two of the pictures posted have high crew necks. It left me wondering whether I was dating myself with the vneck tees and multi necklaces! Does anyone have tips for wide shoulders and tees? I am narrow everywhere and generally a size small in tees but my shoulders are like a linebacker and pull most tees into my armpits leaving me tugging at the sleeves… If anyone has help I love you!

  65. Totally agree – I think I just figured out what I’m wearing today. :-)

  66. JeanineDC says...

    @maggie I also have the same issue re. pear shape and skinny jeans, but have found that some (very few) actually do fit and look good. Overall, I think the secret is avoiding lots of lycra, which most brands have in this type of jeans (btw, Guess jeans fit nicely!). Otherwise, try a slim fit instead which is just a tad wider at the ankles. My favorite brand is G-Star.

  67. Ali says...

    I am all for buying pieces that will last, but unfortunately for me, $52.00 for a t-shirt and over $100 for jeans is just out of my price range. I think I’ll have to be one of the people who settles for Gap! Until I get out of grad school or my husband changes jobs, whichever comes first!

  68. Have a large collection of shorts that pair well with my large collection of v-neck t-shirts. I also have a ridiculous amount of summery sundresses that get in to the rotation as well.

  69. I love the look of white jeans and a gray T… it looks so simply yet pulled together. My current summer uniform is a black maxi dress. Can’t get enough of it!

  70. i wish i could wear white jeans. it seems like a bad idea with a kid & a dog …

  71. I love this. It is super simple, yet so chic.

    xox
    Hannah
    Runaway Style

  72. Love this look – but how do you rock it when you have hips and a booty without looking jersey shore?

  73. Jo, so excited for you to come to our city. If you need the inside scoop email me as we are right downtown and I could give you some suggestions.
    It is bloody hot so pack light!
    Don’t forget your bathing suit. See my list of things to do below!
    xo
    E
    http://urbanchiqueness.com/chique-summer-fun-list/

  74. sundresses all the way here! as much as i wish i could, i cannot pull off skinny jeans, much less white skinny jeans. give me a pair of breezy linen pants though and I’m all over it :)

  75. UGH! I hear what you mean about staying away from high necks. I have a large chest & anything with a crew neck makes me look like 1 giant boob. ;)

  76. Great look Jo!
    I’m on my way now to get one of each, but maybe not jeans because is so hot right now at Madrid and we are leaving to the beach this weekend…
    Have fun at Chicago :)

  77. I loooooove white jeans. The only problem is that my thights are not slim enough to wear them. Sigh!
    I’ve had lots of problems finding the right tees, but I’ve found them. COS makes super cute tees with a very nice and flattering fabric.I love them!

  78. Anonymous says...

    Wow!This is exactly what I wore yesterday. White jeans are my favorite summertime outfit. I used to wear white, wide leg chinos, but switched to jeans recently.Also, brown sandals/ flats are way better than black.

  79. Have fun in Chicago! It is the perfect place to take kids! We just got back and loved every second of it!

  80. I love wearing anything light and not tight in the summer. That’s what I love about summer! And I may need to invest in some grey tees :)

    Have fun in Chicago!

  81. I just bought my first pair of white skinny jeans. I wear them with everything! Have a fantastic time in Chicago! xo.

  82. white clothing stresses me out. i end up spilling more just due to the sheer panic when i wear them.

    my summer uniform is sundresses. my goal in the sumemr is to wear as little clothing as possible. and i hate shorts. my legs look like tree trunks in them. So sun dresses win!

  83. I love this look, but I don’t think I have the legs to pull off “toothpick” skinny jeans unfortunately.

  84. my summer uniform is white jeans, a chambray shirt, and a pop of coral (lips, nails, or jewelry). add gold gladiator sandals and a woven market bag i picked up in provence and i’m off!

  85. love this look. i always turn to my white jeans and a simple tee when i want a casual/chic look. have a great weekend! xx

  86. Rashmi says...

    Am too much of a klutz to wear white jeans :( And I can’t imagine athg worse than a pair of jeans worn well with the right accesories – with a patch of dirt or chocolate!
    Classic blue denim pants and grey tee paired with a light necklace and chunky bracelets are my go-to combo for any season.

  87. i love the outfit, but i find that white jeans (especially skinny ones) aren’t particularly flattering for someone as pear-shaped as i am. any tips for that?

  88. My summer uniform this year has been light cotton dresses over leggings. It’s been hot hot hot in Michigan already and I find that these outfits keep me cool and can be dressed up or dressed down according to the occasion. I’ve also been pulling my hair back in a messy bun and wrapping a headband or scarf around my head for an extra pop of color (and to keep the hair off my face and neck). This uniform has been so comfortable I feel like I’ll probably add a cardigan and longer leggings and let it be my fall uniform as well!

  89. I decided to take a chance this year and buy some colored jeans- they are a taupe-ish purple- b/c I have the same problem as Briana! :( I really like the summer feel with a light, fun color- and I think the shade looks food with dark hair.

    Hope you have fun here in Chicago! It’s a great city! Talk to locals on tips for what to do and where to eat, b/c in tourist areas the food- not so great! A few other recommendations:
    The Oven Grinder(Lincoln Park)- if you are here on a weekday-there’s a much shorter wait- they don’t take reservations and are cash only. They make pizza pot pies that are legendary! And the atmosphere has a mobster era-like feel. Especially b/c it’s right across the street from where the infamous St. Valentine’s Day massacre happened…
    Nightwood-(Pilsen/North of Chinatown) Fabulous brunch with a seasonal menu and local ingredients, has become really popular-food is fabulous.
    Peggy Notebaert Museum-Has a fun butterfly house and is right north of Lincoln Park zoo.
    RJ Grunts is a great casual restaurant thats not a bad walk from the museum or zoo- on Armitage St,
    Green City Market- Every Saturday morning except the 4th, best farmer’s market in the city! Great place to snatch breakfast too… have fun!!

  90. Okay. I just bought my first pair of white jeans. jCrew matchstick ankle jeans are en route to my apartment! Thanks for the inspiration!

  91. Anonymous says...

    that t-shirt costs $50…….

  92. I’m definitely going to try to rock this look. Thanks Jo! I’m wearing my white jeans today, but with a blank tank (Briana, my white jeans get a bit dingy by the end of the day… but I am sure nobody notices!). I also love white shorts with a bold colored light sweater or t-shirt for summer.

    http://www.ontheroxyoga.com

  93. I love a jean + tee combo… Old navy actually has some thin, worn in v nevk tees for $7.50!!! Love them! I bought 3!

  94. I live in my white jeans!

    I have a pair of the JCrew from before I got pregnant with Baby 2 (Fall 2010) but can’t squeeze into them yet…so I bought myself a new pair for this year (from Joe’s jeans – on sale of course)!

    I found a grey tee with a breezey insert in the back, quite similar to Gwyneth’s, at Anthropologie

  95. I want to wear white jeans but I find that, by the end of the day, they look a little dingy and that drives me NUTS! Maybe I am just the dingy one??

    My current summer uniform is bright melon-colored shorts with a worn-in t-shirt. With cute sandals, of course.