Thursday, May 22, 2008

Just so we're clear: That old no-white-after-Labor-Day-and-before- Memorial-Day axiom is about as passe as a $2 gallon of gas. It got tossed out about the time that fickle fashion folks made a rule that there would be no rules, and everybody started doing all sorts of scandalous things, like pairing black with brown and sporting sequins with denim. In broad daylight.

But still.

Outside of a sweet sundress, nothing screams summer's advent quite like a pair of crisp, white jeans. They speak of barbecues and sandals, of fresh-squeezed lemonade and long lazy weekends spent putting "Summertime" by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince on full blast.

And they are remarkably figure-forgiving (yes, really), notwithstanding that other fashion commandment: Thou Shalt Wear Black to Disguiseth Thy Bubble Butt. These days, white denim jeans come tricked out in myriad incarnations, from cropped to boot-cut to trouser-style. They're the ultimate neutral: Dress them up, dress them down, heels, flats, brights, blacks, earth tones -- or snazz them up for work with a fluttery blouse or a cropped jacket in lemon yellow. Or just pop on a tank top and some of those ubiquitous gladiator sandals.

As for after Labor Day, well . . . let your imagination, and your sense of fashion propriety, be your guide.

Yes, we know. That whole laissez-faire, no-rules thing can be so tyrannical in its egalitarianism.

-- Teresa Wiltz

© 2008 The Washington Post Company