The Secret to Wearing White

The Secret to Wearing White


Just like being single, there are old ideas about the color white: like it’s only for brides and cannot be worn between Labor Day and Memorial Day.

The Secret to Wearing White
The color white is much more than just white. It’s an endless variety of shades and tones, from blue-white, to pinkish white, to almost yellow.

White is not just white — there are an infinite variety of shades, from cool to warm, from bright to subtle. It’s also one of the most intimidating colors to wear, so I asked Emmy Award-winning, single celebrity stylist and color expert, Brenda Cooper, to share her insight on how to analyze color along with tips on how to pick the correct shade of white to accentuate your features.

After talking with Cooper for just five minutes, I found myself analyzing my own outfit, looking to see if my colors were in harmony. And since our conversation, I’m seeing my wardrobe and colors differently. Simply being more aware of color can open up a thought process we often bypass. Even someone like me who works in the fashion industry, doesn’t always consciously think about color the way Cooper does. Cooper lives her life immersed in color.

Singular celebrity stylist Brenda Cooper.
Singular celebrity stylist Brenda Cooper.

“Color can completely change the appearance of someone, for the good, or the bad,” she says. “Finding your best colors can make you more attractive because you can emphasize your best qualities and complement your skin, hair and eye color with the clothes you wear.”

Cooper passionately explained the importance of understanding the science behind color. “The same color swatch can appear to be completely different under a variety of lights,” she says. “To find a true color, one must look at it under natural sunlight — true, white light —since natural sunlight is the only light than contains all the colors of the spectrum, it provides the most accurate measure of a color. It’s the light we should use most.”

Cooper says she shops everywhere from Goodwill to Gucci. She has worked as a co-host on E! Fashion Emergency, won an Emmy Award for the look she designed on The Nanny, and owns a color studio in Brentwood, where she helps her clients understand which colors make them look their very best. Cooper says she uses people as her canvas, and clothes as her paint to create works of art.

To analyze color like a professional, she says you first need to understand how colors work together.

“Two colors together have an effect on one another,” Cooper says. “The effect may be positive or negative, so view your skin as a color as well, and see how it looks paired with the color(s) you’re wearing. Don’t get caught up in the look of a garment, but rather how it looks on you.”

She says that with white, many people are drawn to a crisp, bright white, and while it may have great “hanger appeal,” it flatters very few complexions. Cooper explained that more often than not, a softer white looks better and more flattering than a bright white.

“Not all whites are created equal,” she says. “Bright whites can dominate a person’s appearance, and when you look at them, you will see their shirt, not them. Eggshell, beige and yellow whites are usually a better choice than a crisp white.”

Since white is a “highlighter” color, it does exactly that and highlights what surrounds it. This is why white can make you look larger than you actually are. However, if you wear white the correct way, it can be stunning and flattering.

“Everyone should have a few white pieces in their wardrobe,” Cooper says. “What’s great about white is there is a nice shade of white for everyone. And, white works no matter what your age; it can look good on everyone!”

The White Choice

An all-white look in the summer: white linen pants and a white shirt looks good on everyone, no matter what size you are.

White with a black silhouette: pair a black outfit with a white jacket.

White dresses: a fluid fabric in a maxi dress always looks beautiful.

White denim: if you are thin, white denim can be worn with a variety of things, but if you are curvier, wear a long tunic with white skinny jeans.

Copyright © Elisabeth Darrock/2012 Singular Communications, LLC.

Elisabeth DarrockElisabeth Darrock is a buyer and public relations assistant for a Los Angeles-based fashion designer. She has worked in the fashion industry for ten years and studied literary journalism at University of California, Irvine. Along with being a fashion connoisseur, Elisabeth is an avid sports fan and loves traveling and spending time in the U.K. You can find more of her shared love for fashion at her blog
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