Denim is white hot for summer

Sunday, July 10, 2005

It's a rock star thing. Just about any red-blooded American (at least those born after Bing and Dino, and even some of them) have a center-stage, live-in-concert fantasy.

Whatever beat rocks your world -- pop, R&B, heavy metal, Lilith fare -- doesn't matter.

It's what Gap execs were no doubt counting on when they offered up crooner Joss Stone in their latest ad campaign.

Clad in tight white denim, Stone looks as though she's taking part in an impromptu, just-jumped-up-in-front-of-the-microphone session at some after-hours spot. More people than would care to admit -- even the stage-frightened among us -- harbor a secret desire to jump up there beside her.

The opportunity to actually do so doesn't come along all that often.

The white denim, however -- hey, that's doable.

"There's definitely a rock-star edge to white denim," says Gap's Erica Archambault. "Pair it with a sleek metallic top for a hip but elegant nighttime look, or dress it down for day wearing capris or cutoffs." Denim is -- if you'll permit us -- white hot this summer.

And everywhere, from Louis Vuitton to H&M to Lane Bryant.

That's right, just because black is slimming doesn't (necessarily) mean the opposite dictum is true.

Granted, white "draws the eye to a specific area," admits Lee Jeans trend analyst Patricia McCune. "So use it to focus attention on your positives," she suggests.

Designers assist by serving up more than jeans. Capris, shorts, skirts and a variety of jackets can be your ticket to the trend.

Let's make one thing perfectly clear. We're not talking cream. Not ivory. Not sand, eggshell, bone, moonbeam or any other excuse for not-quite white. This is white of the full-fledged, icy hot, supernova, retina-searing variety.

The kind that used to be saddled with all those lame rules about when -- and only when -- you could wear it. (Not a nanosecond past Labor Day, as a well-meaning mother probably told you.)

Hello?! Talk about arbitrary -- pink, purple, yellow or green aren't burdened with such restrictions. "Those days are gone," says Archambault.

"Things have evolved," agrees Nicole Fischelis, a vice president and fashion director for Macy's. "Who would have thought years ago that you could wear gold shoes for day?" In fact, they look great with white denim.

And that brings us back to your rock and rollin', bad self.

The rock star in all of us lives to -- at least, every once in a while -- break the rules.

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