Fashion Trend Watch - Back in White

White is showing up everywhere these days, from coats to purses to whole suits.  But....do you have what it takes to wear this hot color? 

It's WAY after Labor Day, but everyone is still wearing white.  White is everywhere-- on the runway, on your favorite celebrity, and now on me.  White suits, white coats, white pants' Victoria Beckham herself (queen of the white power suit) suggests in her new fashion book that every woman own one white suit as the cornerstone of their wardrobe.

White was an integral part of Linda Loudermilk's show at fashion week this year.



The classic white coat makes an appearance at the Marc Jacobs collection.

White was also big at New York Fashion Week this year, with many designers incorporating the staple color back into their lines. Linda Loudermilk and Marc Jacobs were a few of the designers who sent either all-white or combination white pieces down the runway, with great reviews. 

Many celebrities have also added white to their wardrobes.  While Victoria Beckham has been doing it for a long time, now everyone from Rachel Bilson to Christina Aguilera have been sporting white coats, skirts, and shoes. 

I've been a fan of this trend from the beginning.  I love the clean line of a white coat, how it offsets classic black pants.   But, while I like it on the runway and on other people, I had to wonder:  how would I, "The Stainmaster," survive this latest trend?  Was I ready to go where no messy person had gone before?

My husband was skeptical.  Over the past ten years, he's seen me spill coffee on myself and more than a few laptops, trip and fall in the dirt, and end up with steak sauce on my sleeve at high-end restaurants.  When he saw me eyeing a white coat in Benetton last summer, he laughed a little.  "I give that coat three days," he said casually.

Don't get me wrong-- it's not like I'm Pigpen from Charlie Brown or anything.  I just get enthusiastic about things, many times while drinking coffee or red wine.  Previously, I suspected that this type of enthusiasm was more than a white wardrobe could endure.  But I was determined to try. Maybe just to prove I could handle it, I bought the coat ' a lightweight jacket from that goes great over a dress or a blouse. 

And what was the result of my white coat experiment?  Well, I'm proud to say that it's been eight months, and while I have gotten a few spots on it, nothing was permanent, and this coat remains part of my collection.  Not only does it look good with every one of the many handbags in my collection, but it works over almost any outfit.  Sure, I had to remind myself to take it off when I ate, and can't really trust myself to drink coffee while I'm wearing it, but I look great!  I'm not sure why I didn't try this before! 

Katie Holmes rocks the white suit.

Maybe the white coat liberated me.  Just by adding a few pieces to my wardrobe, I seem to have gone from feeling like Angelina Jolie to Jackie O, all with a simple pair of pants.  The white feels bold, it feels classic, and frankly, it's a welcome change from having to look to see if all of my blacks match.  I don't think I'm ready for a whole white suit yet, as I think this might make me feel like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, but I applaud those brave fashion souls who are wearing it with success (you go, Katie Holmes!).   

The Elusive White Bag.

After my successful foray into white (I even got pants), I actually took the plunge and bought a great big white leather Theory bag as a reward.  I love it, it goes with everything, and I'm proud to say that although I still occasionally run around with coffee in one hand and my cellphone in the other, I have yet to spill anything on it.  I feel like a grownup!

This resurgent trend is not without risks' in addition to being mistaken for a doctor a few times, I've also noticed that wearing white requires a good deal more attention than my traditional black, as I have to actually make an effort to avoid stains.

Verdict:  Definitely add one or more white pieces to your wardrobe, starting now.  Start out with simple, inexpensive pieces to see how you like the look (and to see if you and your family can be trusted with white things).  But, make sure you have some Shout wipes with you at all times to make sure your whites stay white.

Lori Culwell writes about fashion, beauty, current events, and the celebrity scene for several magazines.   You can find more of her writing on her blog, Funny Strange.

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