The One Color That Will Make All Your Summer Outfits Look So Expensive

Ah, summertime. What would we do without you? It’s arguably the best part of the year because of the freedom it gives us to explore—even if it's just a little weekend away or dressing scantily for no reason. You can see how it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of warmer temperatures, but there was a turning point in midsummer when my desire to not overheat outweighed any fantasies about frolicking around in the biggest trends of the moment. When it’s sweltering hot, you need a fuss-free way to ensure you look cool no matter the temperature. For the fashion set, that hack is wearing one specific color: white.

Call it cliché, but when it comes to crafting the perfect summer outfit for a hot summer day, this color never fumbles. Sure, there are so many noteworthy color trends, but none of them embody “rich-mom” energy quite like this hue. That’s not just because it’s tough to keep white clothes clean (you have to have a great dry-cleaner on speed dial) but also because white can make the more basic items (think button-downs, trousers, and maxi dresses) feel exuberant. But don’t just take my word for it. Ahead, I’ve rounded up 15 white summer outfit ideas and shopped out the key pieces to re-create the looks for yourself. Whether you’re a minimalist or maximalist, these outfits will convince you that this color is easy to wear and will have you feeling yourself for the rest of the season.

White Tie-Up Cardigan + Cargo Pants + Colorful Shoulder Bag
white outfits ideas for the summer

Photo:

@emilisindlev

Just because white isn’t the “trendy” color of the moment doesn’t mean it can’t be trend-forward; case in point: the look above. The simplest way to make this hue feel fresh is by opting for fashion-forward pieces (like a tie-up cardigan and cargo pants) in this color for the perfect summer outfit.

Shop the key pieces:

Hot Girl Summer can start now thanks to these cargo pants. 

White Dress + Colorful Wedges
white outfits ideas for the summer

Photo:

@chainkyr

White dresses are a staple among the fashion set—for a good reason! This is a beloved piece because it acts as a blank canvas; the styling possibilities are endless, and you can’t go wrong. But should you need somewhere to start, pairing it with fun accessories (like colorful wedges) is a surefire way to look chic this summer.

Shop the key pieces:

These wedges are at the top of my wish list right now. 

White Suit Set + Pink Bag + Pink Shoes
white outfits ideas for the summer

Photo:

@nitsanraiter

I’ll admit that most suiting already errs on the luxe side, but when it looks like the outfit above? It’s screaming money.  Of course, you don’t have to dole out all the dollars to look rich, and you don’t even have to book a trip to Lake Como—you just have to find a great white suit set and pair it with vibrant shoes and a handbag for an outfit that will make you feel (and look) like a walking bank account.

Shop the key pieces:

Pair with the matching Linen Suit Trousers ($50).

Don't worry; this look is office friendly, too. 

Pink is the perfect hue to go with an all-white ensemble. 

White Cropped Top + Slip Skirt + Body Chain + Cowboy Boots
white outfits ideas for the summer

Photo:

@shhtephs

This color may often seem “dull,” but that’s just because you haven’t found a fun way to wear it. I’d implore you to test-drive the look above for anyone adverse to this hue. Try pairing a white crop top with a matching slip skirt, body chain, and cowboy boots and see if you feel the same way. (I bet you won’t.)

Shop the key pieces:

This top is available in sizes XXS to 2X.

The contrasting white stitching on these boots has me giddy. 

All-White Cropped Sweater + Maxi Skirt + Heeled Sandals + Curved Bag
white outfits ideas for the summer

Photo:

@daniellejinadu

Are you ready to embrace this hue to the max? Then opting for an all-white ensemble is the way to go. Pair a white cropped sweater with a maxi skirt, sandals, and a unique bag, and you’ll prove that this minimal hue can make a maximum impact.

Shop the key pieces:
White Tie-Up Top + White Trousers + Layered Chains
white outfits ideas for the summer

Photo:

@thevisuelofgrace

If you need further proof that this hue is far from vanilla (not literally, of course), look no further than the outfit above. Pairing a white cropped tie-up top with white trousers and layered chains proves that this color is sure to satisfy cravings you didn’t even know you had.

Shop the key pieces:

Throw a blazer over this, and you'll look so chic. 

White Silk Pajama Set + Black Bandeau Top + Sunglasses
white outfits ideas for the summer

Photo:

@oliviafaeh

Though this color can instantly make anything chicer, if you want to embody that drip, you’ll want to invest in at least one set in luxurious fabric (think: silk or linen). Even if you opt for an iteration that comes in more of a beige or off-white tint, slipping into an all-white set is a sure way to look stylish all summer long. 

Shop the key pieces:

Style these right, and no one will even know you're wearing pajamas. 

Pro tip: Wear accessories in contrasting hues to really make your all-white outfit pop. 

White Crop Top With Matching Skirt + Colorful Bag + Sandals
white outfits ideas for the summer

Photo:

@aniyahmorinia

Not to be a broken record, but is there any easier way to look elegant than with an all-white look? Nothing beats wearing a white puff-sleeve top with a matching skirt, colorful bag, sandals, and a good pair of sunglasses—it’s truly the pinnacle of perfection.

Shop the key pieces:

Pair with the matching Remi Washed Canvas Maxi Skirt ($74).

Whenever you need a quick outfit idea, you'll turn to this set time and again. 

Our editors love this bag—can you blame them?

All-White Look With One-Piece + Cover-Up + Earrings + Sunglasses
white outfits ideas for the summer

Photo:

@ninasandbech

Consider this your public service announcement that there’s possibly no better way to dip your toe into embracing an all-white ensemble this summer than embracing it for a beach day. You may not be at a beach in the Riviera, but if you wear a head-to-toe white look, you’ll look like you came fresh off the boat.

Shop the key pieces:

Love supporting small brands? These earrings are from a rising Latinx accessory label. 

White Knit Tank + Matching Skirt + Flip-Flops + Shoulder Bag
white outfits ideas for the summer

Photo:

@sasha.mei

For those late summer days when temperatures finally begin to drop, you don’t have to ditch this hue immediately. You can transition this tint into the fall by opting for pieces that lend themselves well to transitional pieces (e.g., a knitted set that can be worn with flip-flops in the summer and boots and layers in the fall). Forget the rules regarding this color, and just have fun with it.

Shop the key pieces:

This set will look great with boots and sandals. 

These sleek platforms will pair perfectly with all your summer looks. 

Oversized White Button-Down + Shorts + Strappy Sandals
white outfits ideas for the summer

Photo:

@slipintostyle

Reminder: You don’t have to wear head-to-toe white to get the full benefits of wearing this color. Simply take an oversize button-down, and style it with your go-to pair of shorts, strappy sandals, and a woven bag. Do this, and you’ll be channeling that effortlessly chic aesthetic French women have nailed down to a science.

Shop the key pieces:

A white button-down will always look expensive to me. 

I love a good pair of pleated shorts. 

Baseball Cap + White T-Shirt + Cargo Pants + Sneakers
white outfits ideas for the summer

Photo:

@mobinapeiman

I must admit that anything athleisure-related never falls within my definition of what “polished” is, but the outfit above scores points with me in a way I never thought possible. Who would have thought that a simple white cropped T-shirt with matching cargo pants and sneakers could look chic?

Shop the key pieces:

Spice up your T-shirt collection by opting for a cropped iteration. 

All-white sneakers are must-haves for any wardrobe. 

White Romper + Statement Shoulder Bag + Platform Sandals
white outfits ideas for the summer

Photo:

@maryljean

Honestly, I can’t think of better proof of the power of this shade than this ensemble. A white romper paired with a statement shoulder bag and platform sandals seems simple enough, yet it’s just so damn stylish.

Shop the key pieces:

Rompers will always be that staple you'll turn to when you need to rush out the door. 

Just think how pretty this bag would look against an all-white outfit—dreamy, amrite? 

White Puff-Sleeve Top + Black Miniskirt + White Fisherman Sandals
white outfits ideas for the summer

Photo:

@dawn.tan

Happen to be one of those people who can’t quite justify a full white frock? I get it; maybe you are accident-prone or don’t like monochrome outfits. A simple way to break up this color is by pairing it with other neutrals—e.g., a white puff-sleeve top paired with a black miniskirt and matching fisherman sandals.

Shop the key pieces:

The embroidery detailing on this blouse has me bawling. 

Statement Earrings + White Ruffled Dress + White Sandals
white outfits ideas for the summer

Photo:

@fashionwithjazz

You’ve made it to the end of this story, and hopefully, you’ve realized that this color can make even the simplest outfits feel special—speaking from personal experience here. A white dress with ruffles can be turned into a whole moment if paired with fun earrings and matching white sandals. But beyond my look, your own beloved staples and your everyday ensembles can feel more elegant if you’re courageous enough to wear white.

Shop the key pieces:

My dress comes in a mini version. 

White floral earrings are the accessory that will take any all-white ensemble to a whole new level. 

Related Stories