Everyone can wear white, right?

In addressing my winter wardrobe needs I decided I would make up  Vogue 2031 Geoffrey Beene’s fitted 1988 “Career” dress, probably in a grey woolen fabric. But first I wanted to make up a toile that I could get some wear out of, so I made it up in a piece of white cotton, with a little stretch. This good quality fabric came from Simply Fabrics in Brixton. I would certainly line the final version but this toile one might just get the facing treatment, as intended in the pattern. White is traditionally a summer colour and this weight could certainly work for warm days, but I am thinking of it as something that could be worn in cooler weather, perhaps with a coloured or deeper neutral jacket.

Here is the dress basted together so I could see if my adjustments  were correct.

Fitting Vogue 2031
Fitting Vogue 2031

While I always do my fittings wearing jewellery, I failed to zip it up properly!

However you will see that the fit is more or less fine. The dress fits nicely around the torso and waist, with sufficient flare over the hips. The princess lines come across the bust in the way that they should, the dress is fitted while skimming the curves. The pockets and pleats are pleasing and once the neck and cap sleeves are finished it will probably frame the face well. I am actually wondering, looking at the photos whether I should bring the neckline up a little (as 5/8″ will be taken up in the facings) in the final version. Also the dress is unhemmed so it will be around 3″ shorter and should come to the knee, or thereabouts.

2014-08-28 09.51.19The sleeves are self-faced and the zip is sewn in by hand. I hope to finish this dress when I get back from holiday. So making this dress carefully, always washing my hands and keeping the pieces folded in a bag, made me think about making white clothes.

Everyone can wear white, but it has to be the right white. Pure, brilliant white suits cool complexions, but doesn’t look nice on warmer skins that need some yellow to complement the golden tones in the skin, eyes and hair. For people with muted colouring your white is a little bit softer – with a touch of grey or other softening element. Effectively we are only looking at three versions of white – people with deep, cool and bright colouring can wear pure, clear white, and do not look good in the creamy whites. It is important to check this when choosing patterns on a white background as a creamy colour scheme can make you look a bit “muddy”.

Bright or Muted?

Bright and muted white
Bright and muted white

Cool or Warm?

Cool and warm white
Cool and warm white

On its own white is said to be  empathetic and approachable, but also pure and innocent which is why it is invariably chosen for babywear, and weddings. Although it can be seen as cold, and even a bit mystical, all-white oufits can look classy and smart. I prefer to wear a darker shoe and accessories, even with wedding wear. White looks marvellous with all the colours in your wardrobe, so long as it is right white – especially for warmer skinned people.

If you want to look powerful put it with black, or your darkest neutral. This is the most authoritative look anyone can choose to wear. Black and white is an assertive look – the colours of power and intimidation. Not for nothing are police and prison officers, and judges, dressed in black and white.  For me, without black in my palette, this would be white with dark brown, or navy. But white for work looks good combined with grey, beige, lighter browns and blue greys. White is such a versatile colour. While it can show the dirt very easily with care it can be worn as a dress for work. Don’t restrict it to summer holiday dresses or swimsuits. Consider a nice white, cream or off-white jacket to wear with business dress in the warmer months, especially if your colouring is light.



3 Responses

  1. Stephanie

    Oh I love that dress on you. When I saw the packet a week ago or so I could see it made up. Great job on the fitting. I think both necklines could work but I agree that the neckline is very nice before losing the seam allowance. The hemming will make it even better!

    The description of white is very interesting. I always paint rooms white, although always in different whites. I think people think I’m somewhat crazy! For example, the white of my living room is a white with a tiny hint of blue, which I love, while the white of my bedroom is a softer bone white. My art “studio” is painted in yet another white called “fuzzy mitten,” which is slightly creamier. White for me is about openness and freedom, and a clean slate for inspiration to work and think, especially when there is lots of light. Art and books bring the colour to a room. I love the soft white of an unused sketch book, but I ought to think a bit about white clothing as well, of which I have almost none, although for many years I had a favourite white skirt and I used to love the look of a crisp white shirt with French cuffs. I like the idea of a white jacket and I love the idea of white for winter. Thanks as always for the inspiration to think about colour differently.

  2. lisa d

    You look wonderful in that dress! I agree that the neckline is perfect–can you do a 1/4″ bias facing so it stays nearly the same. If you wrap the binding around the S/A, you can keep your current edge at the neckline and it looks like piping if you stitch into the seam line–but you probably already know that.

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