Isn’t it too early for heat stroke? Suffering what must’ve been a global warming-induced breakdown, I recently found myself compelled to enter one of New York’s most traumatizing shops—Scoop, on Broadway—and do one of the world’s most upsetting things: try on tight white jeans. The mini-chain is filled with catty salesgirls and credit card wielding Alpha-teens, which makes it an obvious place to avoid if you are prone to depression or rage following dressing room visits. Perhaps I was punishing myself for being a short brunette? The only upside to the experience was the fact that, unlike department stores, Scoop does not have those heinous three-way mirrors, which force innocent shoppers to confront parts of their bodies they were never meant to see.

For my college graduation, I was given the choice of wearing a cap and gown. A believer in fashion as self-expression, I opted not to. When I failed to find the perfect dress for the occasion, I wore white Levi’s (517), a white camisole, a fitted white blazer, and a lot of fake pearls. (My mother wasn’t psyched, but at least I graduated.) Soon after entering the real world, the jeans literally split in half one day when I bent down to tie my shoe. Forget the freshman 15—think alumni padding.

Now white jeans are actually back in style. Case in point: Scoop devoting an entire wall to ivory denim. Trendiness getting the better of me, I grabbed what I thought was my size in five varieties of “pant,” ranging in price from Adriano Goldschmied’s “The Angel” cut ($132) to Notify’s $228 version, which is 100 percent Italian cotton (cotton is apparently a luxury fabric now). The jeans were already dingy and scuffed from the flip-flopped feet of previously tormented shoppers. I soon learned that my size is only my size if the jeans are stretchy. Though unable to pull all of the selections over my behind, I saw all I needed to—most white jeans are see-through. Habitual’s “White Glory” (beats “White Power”) were the least sheer, but cost $182.

The pants I could actually zip up, like Paper, Denim & Cloths’ stretchy,
obscenely low boot-cut jeans, seemed inappropriate for wearing in
public; I felt like I was wandering around in my long johns,
semi-scandalously flaunting the roundness of my thighs. Then I
remembered: My treasured college Levi’s were not skin-tight. Perhaps
that’s the key.

But there’s another problem. We’ve already seen lots of women wearing white jeans, and even those who pull off the fit often flunk fashion-wise. It’s easy to look like a spray-tanned Hamptons skank (or slutty Florida suburbanite).

If you’re tall, do like the WASP you probably are not and wear a wide-legged pair hanging off your hips, as if at any moment you’ll be boarding a ship. Other options: Wear them tight, but not flared (flared = corny teenager); go for the Mick Jagger look and find stretchy tapered ones to wear with heels; finally, there’s the requisite Bohemian take—slouchy pants, perhaps dragging in the street and getting caught under your Cowry shell-encrusted sandals, and a braided, brown leather belt doing nothing to hold them up. This way, you embrace the fact that they’ll be filthy at all times, rather than trying to fight it.