Spotted:  Co-worker wearing white pants and white polo shirt to office.

The old rule about white after Labor Day and it being a summer color, has been out of vogue for a few years now.  However, there are still times when white is inappropriate.  Funerals spring to mind as being the number one most inappropriate place, along with weddings (unless you are the bride, or it’s white-tie).  But what about the office?  What makes white on a pant such an offensive color in the office?  Offensive to me, at least.

First, it’s the fabric choice.  Linen, lightweight cotton or tropical-weight wool?  Definitely a no-no in the office.  Those are far more casual than necessary and they end up looking like you came straight from Bermuda to your cubicle.  Also, there’s a sheerness factor here that is usually ignored.  My personal opinion is that no one, and I mean NO ONE, should be able to look at your pants and see what color/style your underwear are.  So make sure those pants aren’t see-through and if they are – don’t wear your leopard-print string bikini-briefs.   So what fabric can be white and still classy and sophisticated?  Twill (be careful – you don’t want to look like a painter) or winter-weight wool.

Second, it’s the color.  Some khaki pants are so close to white, you could say they were off-white.  I have no problem with this – it’s a twill.  But a bright white?  Save that for a Tide commercial or the Palm Springs White Party.  A creamy white color is probably the best thing here.

As for white shirts?  Those are pretty much appropriate anytime, but please remember that sometimes, the material is so thin that you can see your nipples.  And that’s never appropriate at an office.