This goes back millenia
to the times when only rich people could afford 'clean' white bread, something which was still happening only last century, and the lower classes had to suffice with the bog standard 'dirty' brown bread.
Throughout history, the 'richer' people were more likely to wear white clothes as they could have them cleaned more frequently, had more of them to wear, and did not partake in tasks which were more likely to dirty them, the 'poorer' wearing predominantly darker clothing as these items do not show stains as much and retain heat.
Related to Ascetic Aesthetic
and The Aesthetics of Technology
, also Gold and White Are Divine
. People dressed accordingly will be the Man in White
and Woman in White
, or a Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit
Compare Crystal Spires and Togas
- In a mobile phone advert, there is a man dressed completely in white; sunglasses, cycle - everything - and the advert continues on to how the phone is available in white, but this version costs more.
- The Twilight Saga
- The Cullens are shocking white vampires, in contrast to everyone but most startlingly to the Quileutes, who are dark tan with black hair.
- The Twilight film Breaking Dawn pt. II has the Cullen vampire family, who are obscenely wealthy thanks to their sire Carlisle being a talented doctor and (apparently) good with money. At one point in the movie they casually gift newlywed vampires Edward and Bella with a fully furnished, decorated and wardrobed cottage. Where this trope comes in? The baby room is pure white. While lovely to look at, anyone who is remotely familiar with a baby's tendency to make messes would instinctively cringe at the "gift." There may be some Fridge Brilliance in there when you consider that the Cullens would have been massively ignorant of childrearing so it may not have seemed impractical. Then again, maybe they consider the added workload of keeping the baby room pristine a worthwhile way to kill time?
- When the Cullens are first introduced in the first film, they are all dressed all in white. Jacob Black is introduced in a dark hoodie and jeans.
- In Tom Cruise's Oblivion everything. Everything. Is white.
- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court makes mention of well-to-do eating white bread a few times - "true wheaten bread," as opposed to black bread made with horse-feed, which the huddled masses make do with, if they can even get that.
- The Raiths from The Dresden Files own a lot of white high-price cars and clothing. Played with in that it looks like this trope in action to vanilla-mortals, but is actually the Raiths' way of flaunting their status as the ruling family in the White Court of vampires.
- Lucius Malfoy owns albino peacocks in Harry Potter.
- In 2 Broke Girls, Max Black has dark hair while rich-girl counterpart Caroline is a platinum blonde. Max can also often be seen, when the two are out of their work clothes, in black outfits while Caroline is dressed all in white.
- When they're dressed as cupcakes Caroline is vanilla and Max chocolate.
- In Breaking Bad, the more rich (and evil) the Villain Protagonist and his wife become, the whiter their wardrobe gets. His long-time 'rivals', who are millionaires, are shown in the final episode live in a very white household.
- In the promotional images for Revenge the only person not dressed in white is Jack, the only character considered to be of the working class.
- On Friends when Joey lands a high paying gig on Days of Our Lives he buys a bunch of pointless expensive knickknacks, and when he loses the job it all gets repossessed. Ross offers to buy him one of his purchases back, and he picks a white dog statue.
- In the fifth season of Mad Men, Don and Megan Draper are shown to have a white carpet in their luxury penthouse apartment, that is constantly subject to abuse from children with ink pens, from party goers, and from general wear and tear. Don the ad man actually does point out that there is a reason white carpets appear mostly just in ads: they are almost impossible to keep clean.
- In Secret Garden at least one of the male lead's houses (he has several) has all white decor.
- One episode of Family Guy has a Show Within a Show named That black guy must be doing well because everything he owns is white.
- In Motorcity almost everything in the futuristic Detroit Deluxe is white and blue.