We Tried It, Fourth of July Edition: Do Stain-Repellent White Jeans Really Work?
Does "stay white" really stay white? We put it to the test
What Is It: White jeans that swear to protect us from errant spills
Who Tried It: PeopleStyle Editors Alex Apatoff (in Old Navy), Brittany Talarico (in Guess) and Emily Kirkpatrick (in NYDJ)
Why They Tried It: The season of white jeans also coincides with the season of iced coffee, barbecue sauce and sangria. Plus, we wanted to give our Tide-to-Go pens a break
Level of Difficulty: This all depends on how quick your reflexes are. We each tested three different liquids on our pants and went to work with paper towels — see how each pair fared (complete with “after” photo!) below
Jeans Tested: Guess “Stay White” Button-Down Overalls, featuring “state-of-the-art fabric technology with a special finish that repels stains and water, ensuring a clean, fresh look with every wear.”
How They Fared: I want to start out by saying how pleasantly surprised I was by the fit of these overalls, because let’s face it — a white, button-up onesie isn’t something you’d immediately flag as flattering. It’s also not your average work day outfit (unless you’re a painter), but I fully committed to my “We Tried It” and wore these to the office. Luckily, my colleagues approved.
Iced Coffee: We took testing very seriously, and weren’t afraid of launching liquids at one another. Alex splashed a heavy pour of coffee straight at my legs and it magically bounced right off. Any leftover droplets were easily banished by dabbing a paper towel directly on the spot. It’s very important not to rub out stains, but rather let them either absorb or gently pat them away.
Red Wine: This was a tough one. I was sitting when I first poured the wine on myself, which made it absorb quicker, so it did not bounce off as easily. It didn’t totally resist the stain, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. If a bowl of spaghetti falls on your lap, I imagine it would result in a similarly slightly stained situation.
Strawberry Ice Pop: In the spirit of full disclosure, these ice pops weren’t melted enough. So during testing, I actually rubbed the pop on my pants instead of letting a droplet of sugary strawberry goodness drip down. A drop would have probably rolled off similarly to the ice coffee. Moral of the story, stay clear of sticky finger toddlers.
Overall Ranking on a scale from 1 (didn’t repel at all) to 10 (totally stain proof): 7! The iced coffee splash proved that the fabric has magic properties. Plus, I think if I was quicker to pat down the red wine, it might have rolled off. It’s also important to note that any slight red stains that were visible post spills were easily removed with a Tide stick.
Tester: Alex Apatoff, Deputy Style Director
How They Fared: First things first: These $40 jeans were super-comfortable and fit great. I expected them to feel waxy or stiff, but they felt like totally normal jeans. And I put them through hell from the minute I walked out the door — New York and its subway system are constantly producing new and creative ways to stain your clothing. So all in all, I was delighted to finish the day with only faint red wine stains. Frankly, it’s better than I do on an average day when people aren’t hurling liquids at me.
Iced Coffee: No problem at all. Lauren Lieberman, our photo editor, has been waiting to throw coffee on me for years (I torture her daily) so she really put her all into it. The water turned into tiny spheres and rolled right onto the ground.
Red Wine: Faint splashes remained, but considering a whole glass of wine was dumped on my pants, it was pretty darn impressive. Moving faster with a damp paper towel probably would have eliminated stains entirely.
Strawberry Ice Pop: This actually barely registered on my jeans, even though I gave them a serious smudge of melty red goo. It really was shocking to watch liquids dab right off.
Overall Ranking on a scale from 1 (didn’t repel at all) to 10 (totally stain proof): 8! I don’t know how well this fabric can maintain its stain-repelling properties after a few washes, but considering I’ve gotten fewer wears out of much more expensive pairs of jeans, these are the only ones I’m going to trust myself with from now on.
Jeans Tested: NYDJ Spotless Reputation Anabelle Skinny Boyfriend Jean made from a “worry-free fabric made to resist certain spills like coffee and wine for up to 15 washes” and featuring “Lift Tuck® Technology that slims from within, giving you a flattering shape that you can flaunt with confidence”
How It Fared: Better than I expected! The pants were very comfortable, stretchy, and an ego boost since NYDJ’s sizing runs one size large so I got to pretend I actually wear a size 8 for a day. However, I am a giant, so the cropped style looks a little like I just can’t find pants long enough for my legs rather than an intentional styling choice, but that is actually the case with most of the jeans that I own so I didn’t particularly mind.
Iced Coffee: This test was actually like magic. Despite the face of sheer horror I made as Alex splashed the coffee across my legs, the results were super impressive. The coffee just bounced off and hit the floor, and what was left simply beaded up on top of the pants. They weren’t even wet! After drying off the rogue spots with a towel, no one would ever be the wiser.
Red Wine: The red wine did not have quite as spectacular results, staining my entire thigh. To be fair, we were sitting down so the wine just kind of sat in my lap for a minute and I also splashed a fair amount of my wine onto Britt by accident, which I’m sure tainted both of our results.
Strawberry Ice Pop: As the GIF below demonstrates, I clearly took this experiment extremely seriously. Since the Popsicles weren’t getting sufficiently melty in the air-conditioned studio, I took matters into my own hands, smearing the bar across my thigh. Naturally, it stained because only a toddler would find themselves embroiled in such a situation, not a grown woman. Since at this point I figured these pants were ruined forever and my co-workers were egging me on, I decided to go all the way, starring in my very own Bruce Springsteen Born in the U.S.A. moment.
Overall Ranking on a scale from 1 (didn’t repel at all) to 10 (totally stain proof): I would say 6 because they worked amazingly well with coffee (the number one cause of most of my staining woes), and even though they were definitely dyed red by the wine and the Popsicle, after I put them through the wash the stains were completely gone. The only downside is the pants come with a warning that they can only be washed 15 times before the magical stain-repelling coat rubs off, but nonetheless they’re still a pretty solid pair of white pants with or without their magical properties.
PLUS: I wore them to my sister’s house which is inhabited by a long-haired Maine Coon cat that seems to explode piles of fur everywhere he goes and I could just run my hand down these pants and the hair would roll right off. Cat ladies everywhere, rejoice!
After: Look ma, no stains!