Stylish Ways to Wear a White Dress

Here in the United States, we are celebrating Memorial Day which is a federal holiday for remembering and honoring people who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.  If you or someone in your family has served in the military, thank you.

On a lighter note, Memorial Day is also the official green light to wear white. It’s ridiculous, I know. The rest of the world doesn’t need an official holiday to get the go-ahead yet, for some unexplained reason we do. I mean, seriously, nobody even knows for sure where this rule originated. And it’s not like most people even follow this rule any longer. For the most part, people wear white based on temperature.

Stylish Ways to Wear a White Dress

Now that we have evolved to know when to wear white on our own, the bigger issue is how to wear white dresses. How can you wear one that doesn’t make you look like a nurse (how nurses dressed back in the day), wearing a spa robe or look like a gaunt ghost? Below I have styled five different dresses to give you some ideas. Take a look and shop for more dresses at the end of this post.

Outfit #1

white dress

This season, two clients bought this amazing summer work dress from Max Mara. It’s on sale, but low in stock, so I used this dress from BOSS Hugo Boss as an illustration for this post. It’s perfect for a summer work day and also is sleeveless which makes it easy to layer something over it. This can be particularly helpful when white feels a little bland or lifeless and you feel like you want a little more color near your face.

I brought warmth into the look, but adding this summer cropped brown and white polka dot jacket from Akris Punto. I finished the outfit with a pair of brown ombré pumps from Prada, a brown work tote from Tod’s and simple earrings from Alexis Bittar.

If white with black feels too stark or optic, try using other softer neutral shades like brown, tan, beige, navy, olive or cognac.

Outfit #2

white dress

This next dress is more casual and can be styled a variety of ways. Think of a white dress as a black dress, you can style it with many different shades.

In this outfit, I styled the J. Crew white dress with summery colors using this cropped cobalt cardigan from Simon Miller, a pair of yellow flat sandals from Marc Fisher, floral handbag from Brighton and wire earrings with soft blue details.

Outfit #3

white dress

This next easy little white sheath from Trina Turk is kicky style that is minimalist enough to style a variety of ways. To bring some brightness towards the face, I added this colorful scarf from Treasure & Bond, a denim jacket from KUT from the Kloth, a casual navy crossbody from Botkier and orange wedge sandals from Sam Edelman.

Outfit #4

white dress

Looking at this dress from Marysia, my first thought was the robes they give me when I get a mammography. It’s a little clinical looking on its own. This is definitely a dress that needs something. I added this colorful necklace from Kenneth Jay Lane, a pair of cognac sandals from Louise et Cie and bag from Hobo in Meadow green.

Outfit #5

white dress

This last look is a more formal one using this white dress from Black Halo. One thing I suggest, unless a wedding invitation asks you to wear white don’t wear it. The rules around this have gotten more relaxed, but it’s just not worth a sneer from another wedding guest who still may believe that only the bride should wear white.

While I could have added some color to this look, this dress just wanted to be accessorized in a more subtle way. In a situation like this, when you don’t have a lot to work with, it is important to know if white is a color you can wear. In some cases, ivory may be more flattering than white. I finished this dress with a metallic box clutch from Nordstrom and linked hoop earrings from Sterling Forever. I chose these beige pumps from Via Spiga for their leg-lengthening qualities.

Shop for white dresses

Looking for some white dresses this summer? Shop for additional styles here.