How to wear white & ivory in the fall

White or ivory can add a fresh look to your fall outfits. Here’s how to wear it through the season without looking too summery.

White, cream, or ivory pieces can add freshness and a visual “pop” to a fall outfit, especially a neutral one. Above, I’ve created a casual mini-capsule with pieces that can be mixed to accommodate a range of temperatures.

Even if we no longer adhere to that old “no white after Labor Day rule,” we still may find we set aside our white or ivory pieces once fall arrives. Maybe it’s habit, or maybe we can’t shake the feeling that lighter colors are for spring and summer only. But if you’re wanting to get the most from your wardrobe, here are some ideas for extending their wear into fall.

Tips for wearing white in fall

  • Fabrics with some structure in a mid-weight will feel more seasonally appropriate than light and floaty ones.
  • White will look more harmonious with cool neutrals (grey, black, charcoal) and cream/ivory with warm neutrals (camel, brown, cognac, olive).
  • A white and navy combo can skew summery, so I’d suggest adding a third piece or shoes/accessories in gray or charcoal.

If your fall weather tends to be wet or muddy, you can always add white or ivory with outerwear or boots.

Do you wear white or ivory pieces in fall & winter?

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  1. Beautiful! You have one jealous winter here! The cream with the caramel tones just works for fall. Cool toned whites with black and navy just seem too stark for fall. Perhaps a soft white with gray could work for us? That combo seems more January than October for me. Maybe burgundy with a cool but not stark white?

  2. I am adjusting to my newly discovered warm Spring palette and have been trending toward ivory/cream as my new neutral. Thank you for the additional inspiration!

  3. For winters I think this is where the ‘jewel’ tones would work. Berry, cobalt, emerald etc. I cannot in any world, wear cream, off white etc. near my face and true white, unless it’s a shirt, is difficult to find in a sweater. As a winter I honestly only wear white in the summer and that would be linen which really doesn’t work in our cold climate after mid September. Black cashmere and white jeans, black suede boots maybe? White tunic shirt black leggings and flats or white leather sneakers? Personally as much as I love black and white it doesn’t read ‘autumnal’ to me. I’ll stick with my black or navy bottoms and colourful cashmere in bright orange, berry, leopard and black. Grey has never worked for me unless it’s a very deep charcoal.

    1. as a fellow winter i agree with your comments. i tend to wear white shirts all year round (under a jumper or jacket in winter) and i wear a lot of white in summer – dresses shirts and jeans. i do love a silver grey though but wear this all year round too

  4. I wear white and cream year round here in the Pacific NW, especially cream colored corduroy ankle jeans. Love ivory sweaters and white shirts. They elevate my mood when it’s grey outside!

  5. I have several pair of mid-weight Eileen Fisher Natural (creamy white) denim that I plan to wear until November. I’m a cool winter so I’m thinking a Peacock Blue or LLBean’s Admiral Blue, or Deep Wine or Cranberry with camel accessories would be good for me and extend the months of wear. Your post has me thinking outside the box.

  6. I have several pair of mid-weight Eileen Fisher Natural (creamy white) denim that I plan to wear until November. I’m a cool winter so I’m thinking a Peacock Blue or LLBean’s Admiral Blue, or Deep Wine or Cranberry with camel accessories would be good for me and extend the months of wear. Your post has me thinking outside the box.

    Also, I have Eileen Fishers quilted coat in Camel from several years ago. And even though I don’t like camel next to my face, if I wear my jewel toned scarves such as peacock blue or wine/magenta around my neck (again with natural denim pants) then I love the coat.

  7. These are my colors. I have the cognac accessories and I’ve been wanting to stretch my spring colors into fall. Perfect! Thank you.

  8. I cannot wait to transition my white jeans and cream BR slim cargo pants to Fall and Winter! I have already planned to pair with navy, ivory, and light grey sweaters and all my Spring color palette scarves….oh and I have a beautiful goldenrod quilted barn jacket too! Thanks Susan for all of your informative posts!

  9. Love this! I have only worn white jeans in the summer and sparingly at that. I own the J Crew Toothpick jeans in white and they are very chic. I think I’ll wear them this fall. To heck with the old “rules”.

  10. Speaking of Eileen Fisher, I have her creamy white slim crepe pants that Susan recommended years ago and recently wore them. They are classics and I plan to pair them more now with new colors as the season changes. I’m probably a winter or dark autumn and I appreciate Susan’s tips and others from my fellow winters.

  11. SO nice to hear so many other winters speaking out. For quite awhile I felt that we weren’t really represented on blogs or in the stores. I still feel somewhat left out by retail but thank you Susan for including us on your blog!

  12. I wear white sparingly during summer and I go for the monochromatic look because I am only 5’2. After Labor Day, the white clothing is packed away for the next year. I also have a pear shaped body, so dark bottoms are more flattering on me. My jewel winter tops pair nicely with dark bottoms.

  13. After reading your post about fall creams and tans with the JCrew tissue weight turtleneck tops, I just chose the leopard print and a mossy green one, both great colours for me. I did some research, and others are very positive about this product.

    Previously, I ordered some JCrew linen T shirts that you featured, Susan, and I’m enjoying the soft green, rust , and tan ones I selected. Will feature in my fall wardrobe for sure.
    Note: Do be careful when wearing with jeans as tiny holes can develop when the linen rubs against the heavier material or button at the waist. This can be such a disappointment when these holes appear.

  14. Thanks. I just bought an ivory or off-white pair of wide trousers. Helpful advice. Especially that last one about the navy and white (adding a dark colour).

  15. Hi Susan! Thank you, as always, for articulating what I knew in my gut but hadn’t put words to: texture is important when wearing white after Labor Day. So that’s why I stood in my closet last week, trying to wear a floaty, thinner white skirt and it just wasn’t working… And thank you also to your lovely readers who are offering their suggestions for color pairings with white for Fall. You all have given me lots of ideas for new outfits using my much-loved white jeans and a white down vest I own. Time to go shop my closet!