Subscribe to blog via RSS

Search Blog

Break the rules: White jeans and peep toes

Categories: basics


I love my friend Rita, and not only because it’s entirely possible that when she calls me, it will be to say, “Can I run over and show you something?” And then when I answer the door, there she is in some totally cute dress she’s just bought. There’s nothing more fun than that. (Except for the times when she calls me and says, “I think we need to make a pitcher of margaritas.” That may be more fun than the impromptu fashion shows.)

Anyway, Rita has a question: “I realize the old ‘no white after Labor Day or before Easter’ rule has been relaxed, but exactly how relaxed is it? When is it ok to wear my white jeans? When can I wear open-toed shoes? Does it totally depend on the weather? But, what about those freak warm snaps in February? White jeans in February? That just seems wrong!”

Photo via

I know some of you are distracted by the idea of a February warm snap (God bless you, Oklahoma), but let’s stay focused. At the heart of Rita’s question is the idea that certain items in your closet are season-specific. While this is true for some pieces in your wardrobe — like linen, which is never cold-weather appropriate — it’s not true for workhorse pieces like white jeans and open-toe shoes.

When you’re making a style decision, think about weight and proportion — no, I’m not talking about your size (or Rita’s) but about the fabric and shape of your clothes. Jeans — even white jeans — are appropriate year-round because they are a substantial piece. Denim can be paired with everything from chunky sweaters to light silk tanks, which means that you can wear it year-round. In colder weather, pair your white jeans with a cozy sweater and boots; in warmer weather, opt for a floaty top and sandals. But keep those white jeans out all year round. Yes, really.

Kate Spade New York ‘Lourdes’ Sandal, $298

What about those peep-toe shoes? Black or gray peep toes are seasonless; wear them in the winter with tights (yes, really! match shoes and tights for a longer leg line) and in the summer with a slick pedicure. Very strappy shoes, like the spiffy Kate Spade’s shown above, can also be year-round staples, but only if you’re willing (and able) to go bare — these delicate shoes won’t work with tights or hose. Pair very strappy leather shoes with a terrific cocktail dress, even on the coldest nights, but only if you’re not going to have far to walk — blue feet aren’t sexy.

Open-toe shoes in summery materials — linen, raffia, jute — are for warm weather only. But don’t wait until Memorial Day to bring them out; as soon as the weather is warm enough, free your toes. Again, just remember to pair them with weather-appropriate pieces (those white jeans and a light cotton blouse, for example).

Are you still bound by the old calendar rules about when to wear what, or are you making your closet work year-round? What staples do you wear through all four seasons?

Subscribe to blog via RSS
Share this on:

2 comments so far...

  • I could have called, but getting the answer on the Internet is so much more fun!

    Thank you, oh wise one.

    Rita  |  April 1st, 2011 at 9:57 am

  • Oh thank goodness. I’m wearing peep toes tonight (black). There’s definitely not a heat wave here.

    What about white shoes? Are they ever ok? (My mom says no.) If that’s true, I have a dress I may have to wear barefoot.

    Sue  |  April 1st, 2011 at 1:18 pm