The Dos and Don’ts of Wearing White to the Office

Celebrity stylist Melissa Garcia advises on the most unforgiving, casual and stain-prone of colors.

Melissa Garcia is a lawyer-turned-celebrity-stylist who left the courtroom and became a fashion correspondent for the TODAY Show, Wendy Williams and E!. (You may remember her from our post on decoding corporate dress codes.) She grew up thinking that, to be successful, she had to be a lawyer, doctor or banker; she chose law by default. But fashion was in her blood—her grandmother was a talented crocheter and her grandfather was a tailor by trade, and she never wore a dime-a-dozen black suit to trial. Realizing that she was away from her three kids all day only to be miserable at her job, she decided to make a change. The Dos and Don’ts of Wearing White to the Office She began by helping her friends update their closets and posting style-centric shots on social media. An acquaintance in the media world was impressed with her seemingly obvious skill and urged her to go on TV. She filmed Melissa giving a mock fashion segment on her iPhone and sent it to producers at the Better Show in December 2013. Melissa landed the gig, began pitching to other networks and soon found herself styling Eva Longoria and Orange is the New Black cast members. Given her corporate roots and serious style cred, we'd trust her with any workplace style conundrum. Here, she tells us how to wear white—the most unforgiving, casual and coffee-stain-prone of colors—to the office.

DO: Opt for structured fabrics

I would choose more tailored and classic silhouettes, so you don’t look beachy. Don’t go for gauzy, white fabrics, which are inherently casual. To make this beautiful, asymmetrical dress more elevated, I layered it with chambray pinstripe blazer. The Dos and Don’ts of Wearing White to the Office
FROM THE IVANKA TRUMP COLLECTION: Asymmetrical Dress, Pinstripe Blazer, Thin Cuff, Eria Heel, Soho Shopper, Gold-Plated Earrings.

DO: Go all-white for an elongated frame

A monochromatic white outfit, not broken up with any pop of color, will create a long line of symmetry, which gives the illusion of a more elongated frame. If wearing more form-fitting white pants, be sure to balance out the top portion with a loosely fitting shirt. The Dos and Don’ts of Wearing White to the Office
FROM THE IVANKA TRUMP COLLECTION: Linen Tunic, Ankle Jeans, “Opportunity is Everywhere” Bracelet, Evia Mule, Mara Crossbody Wallet, Chandelier Earrings.

DO: Add a pop of color

Add color or texture to give some interest to the look. Here, the denim is paired with a classic but reinvented button-down. Stripes, a big trend for the season, keep it fashion forward while the traditional button-down style makes it work appropriate. The Dos and Don’ts of Wearing White to the Office
FROM THE IVANKA TRUMP COLLECTION: Stripe Top, Ankle Jeans, Wide Cuff, Klover Heel, Tribeca Box Satchel, Split Hoop Earrings.

DON’T: Wear items that are too tight

I always tell clients to go up a size when wearing white because it isn’t very forgiving—especially white jeans.

DON’T: Expect it to stay clean

When wearing white, you have to assume that it will get dirty. The good thing about it is that you can usually get stains out with bleach or at the cleaner's. In case you need a quick fix, keep Shout wipes in your bag. They’re amazing, especially if you hit the stain immediately.

DON’T: Leave the house without checking for sheerness

Spanx are a girl’s best friend. Not only will they give you coverage if your clothes are too sheer, but they'll also give the appearance of a smoother, more polished silhouette.


Image courtesy of Ivanka Trump Illustration by Jonny Ruzzo