The passing of Labor Day brings one of my favorite times of year: Fall! I love the colorful trees, delicious pies, and cooler mornings. Fall also comes with a common style dilema: Is it OK for me to wear white after Labor Day? Many women are perplexed by this… wondering “Do I HAVE to pack up my whites? Or, can I say ‘forget it’ and wear what I like?”
No one seems to be too clear on how this tradition began. According to a Time Magazine Article:
One common explanation is practical. For centuries, wearing white in the summer was simply a way to stay cool — like changing your dinner menu or putting slipcovers on the furniture. “Not only was there no air-conditioning, but people did not go around in T shirts and halter tops. They wore what we would now consider fairly formal clothes,” says Judith Martin, better known as etiquette columnist Miss Manners. “And white is of a lighter weight.”
However, the same article also states that:
“… other historians speculate, the origin of the no-white-after–Labor Day rule may be symbolic. In the early 20th century, white was the uniform of choice for Americans well-to-do enough to decamp from their city digs to warmer climes for months at a time: light summer clothing provided a pleasing contrast to drabber urban life. “If you look at any photograph of any city in America in the 1930s, you’ll see people in dark clothes,” says Scheips, many scurrying to their jobs. By contrast, he adds, the white linen suits and Panama hats at snooty resorts were “a look of leisure.”
I personally believe it stems from the changing seasons. I mean, who wants to wear white in muddy weather? (I’ve been there – and done that – it was not pretty. Especially when you throw hyper dogs into the mix…)
So, not wearing white after Labor Day may have originated from functionality, or social status or even something else altogether. We simply don’t know. Whatever the origin, I for one will be wearing my white pieces throughout the year. Why? Because they work so well! And if the weather isn’t an issue – I’m going for it.
A Few Ways to Wear White After Labor Day
White is a wonderful neutral that works with everything. Worn alone in a monotone outfit – it’s chic and bold. When paired with color, whites offer a contrast that really pops. Below are a few ways to incorporate white into your wardrobe throughout the cooler months:
Wear a Winter White: If you’re not comfortable with a bright “summer” white, consider wearing a winter white instead. (Winter white is more of a creamy, off-white color.) You’ll still get the classic white effect without the summer feel.
Pair your white separates with the colors of the season. For example, in the fall, wear a white pant with an autumn orange belted cardigan and chestnut brown shoe. In the winter – add some flair by pairing a white blazer with a cranberry blouse and a wool grey pinstripe pant.
White shoes would look absolutely divine against a black wide-legged pantsuit, or a midnight blue a-line skirt with a white top to match.
My Questions To You Are:
- How do you think the “No White After Labor Day” tradition began?
- Will you be wearing white this fall/winter season?
- What is your favorite white accessory?
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. If you have more specific questions, you can reach me via the Contact Us page.