Wear White

Well Sarah you are going to cover Edwardian and Victorian era white clothing at some point right?  So I will try to do the “modern era.”   In this case I follow Oprah’s rule, “You can wear white all year long.”  And I do.  But post-Memorial Day white wearing is also I kind of harbinger of Summer, which is wonderful.  Especially after the snowy winter and decidedly wet spring that we had in the East this past year.

In my Idia’Dega collections I do not think a season goes by without at least one white outfit – Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer.  There is just something so chic, classic, crisp and open about a white outfit.  Imagine a blue t-shirt and blue wide legged pants. Nice.  Now imagine a white t-shirt and white wide legged pants, tres elegant, non?  I already can imagine the story of the woman in white.  White becomes so bold in an urban setting, such a contrast to the grey concrete and buildings.  Or in the country – the white against the green – so chic, so sexy!

I make up little stories in my head when I see a woman dressed in all white.  Is she on her way to lunch or a picnic with friends or a lover?  Or off to go sailing or maybe even to City Hall to get married? There are just so many possibilities with white.

In fact for me I love the idea of wearing a pair of crisp vintage white jeans and a perfect organic cotton t-shirt as a wedding outfit.  Throw on an amazing pair of nude, for you, high heels or even simple flats, maybe a lovely vintage white scarf (Hermes, please, perchance to dream!) and a simple bouquet of stunning flowers.  White, if you would like, but for me I would love violets or purple anemones.

But white is for everyday especially this time of year.  So here are some things I have designed and some things I wish I had designed *smile*

The first white dress I created was actually in grad school.  And it was a wedding dress, but I think it could be worn for any formal occasion.  The dress is a simple sheath dress with beading a Maasai woman based on my design.  The beading is blue; I think it is a lovely accent on the skin with the white.

I imagine myself as a nomad.  Well actually I am a bit of a modern nomad.  I won’t list all of the places I have lived but suffice to say if I am in one place for more than two years, I start to get restless.  So in the Nomad collection, I came up with the idea of garments that can do double or triple duty so you can carry everything you need in one rucksack.  Cocktails with the prince?  No problem.  A quick trip into the local market for some produce, I have an outfit for that!

So this outfit, is actually three pieces.  A kind of soft corset top, a simple shirt and then a longer skirt attachment.  The idea here is that the top can be worn with just the skirt as a dress for a summer evening event or just for day, for example under a suit jacket to work.  Or even with white jeans!  Then you can add the long skirt attachment to be most decidedly red carpet worthy, viola! The garment fabric of organic cotton and natural raw silk.


In design one of the things I am most inspired by is nature.  I know, I know, that is so simple and cliché.  Right.  But it is everywhere how can one not be inspired by it?  For me I like to take apart a thing and imagine it as a garment.  Like a wheat stalk.  I was inspired by this image of Catherine Deneuve at Yves Saint Laurent’s funeral carrying a bunch of wheat stalks.  For the first time I really noticed the intricacies and beauty of wheat.

And I came up with this wheat tunic and then I did a jacket using a similar theme. The jacket is a matte brocade organic cotton on the suit.  The tunic is organic cotton and hemp or hemp and silk.

Back to the nomad theme again, this is a dress of organic oxford cotton, in two parts.  The dress is a strapless sheath and then the skirt is a long-flowy skirt with lots of gathers.  I like the idea of something so urbane and sophisticated can becomes something that looks so rural.

And now for  something with a more sportif feel, taking a rugby shirt and stretch it down to your ankles!

With this I just wanted something that you could wear a great pair of Egyptian sandals or your old converse all stars, throw on a great necklace and walk out the door.  Simple, chic and easy to wear.  The fabric is organic cotton jersey.

Okay some outfits I wish I had designed!  Some favorite looks in white:

Two for One!  Both First Ladies Michele Obama and Carla Bruni look wonderful!

Kate Moss rocking white, perfectly of course.

Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy – timeless, elegance wearing Narciso Rodriguez

In fact the entire Spring/Summer 1999 Yohji Yamamoto Collection

Michelle Obama wearing Tom Ford in London

Wearing White Hints:  Some classic white garments to mix and match

  1. A great white tee – you can spend a ton or not so much, but make sure it fits (Simple Sewing hints on t-shirt tailoring coming soon on FarmHouseMag)  and make sure it is white, white, white.
  2. White jeans – the Gap is making great fitting jeans now (sorry to see Mr. Robinson go!). And again always there is the Salvation Army, Goodwill and other re-sale shops.  (Recycling is green!) Don’t laugh – it is often the best place to find a pair of crisp white jeans.
  3. White shirt – A great crisp white shirt is like – bam, pow, wam!  So sexy.  I love Brooks Brothers boy shop for white shirts.
  4. LWD or LWD that’s Little White Dress or Long White Dress:  well here you have a plethora of choices.  Now is the season to really find (and post Spring sales are happening now) a great fitting classic white dress.  A sheath is a timeless great look to try, it never goes out of style and is flattering on every figure.  Also a long white dress is a great option as well, something that is simple that you can dress up (heels, bling, hair!) or down (sandals, a simple bracelet and carefree hair), I love the idea of a long tank dress – like a tank top that drops to the floor.
  5. White Scarf – Again I would look to eBay and other resellers for this one.  You can wear it on your head as your sailing (right!), use it as a ponytail holder, wrap it around your neck for the final touch, or even wrap it around your wrist.  It can be your personal “Hey, it’s summer!” flag.

White is not a blank palette, it is bold and simple, sexy and demure, a wonderful melange – Enjoy.

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