Over the three-day Labor Day Weekend, millions of Americans will put away their summer attire, including their white jeans, shorts, and dresses. You may be wondering where the unspoken rule that “you can’t wear white after Labor Day” came from, given how long it seems to have been around.
The answer to the question “Why is it forbidden to wear white after Labor Day?” Read on for the history of the “no white after Labor Day” rule and other frequently asked questions about the seasonal fashion no-no.
Why Is It Taboo To Wear White After Labor Day?
The logic behind the “don’t wear white after Labor Day” policy is somewhat understandable at first glance. The fashion police weren’t the only reason to dress seasonally in the pre-AC/Heat era.
Lighter fabrics and lighter colors have traditionally been worn during the summer months because they help people feel less overheated. Having been white was no guarantee of exclusion.
As the temperature dropped, people naturally gravitated toward darker tones and thicker materials. I think we can safely say that the same holds true today. During the colder months, we favor darker, warmer fabrics like wool, leather, cashmere, and velvet. While in the warmer months we opt for lighter, brighter options like linen, cotton, and silk.
Due to the widespread perception that Labor Day marks the end of summer. Many people tend to put away their shorts and tank tops for the season on the Monday following the holiday. This custom is still followed today, but not because of any reverence for some antiquated style guideline. But rather because it is a practical necessity.
Is It Considered Impolite To Wear White? When Did This Rule Start?
The origin of the unwritten rule to not wear white after Labor Day is unknown. Some historians, however, think that while it was likely a matter of practicality to dress for the weather, it may also have been a status symbol.
Workers typically wore darker colors, even in the summer, to cover up the sweat, dirt, and grime that accumulated on their clothes throughout the day. The ability to wear white (and to do so without the stains that come from hard work) was a sign of wealth and leisure, a sure giveaway that one was on vacation.
However, the color white was used for more than just social stratification. To further demarcate the distinction between the “old money” and the “new money,” members of society (especially women) favored the use of white.
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Some diehard fashionistas may argue that this is still good advice, but ultimately it is up to you what you decide to do with your closet. No matter the time of the month or your financial situation!
How Long Do You Have Until Labor Day To Stop Wearing White?
The original idea was to only wear white during the brief summer season from Memorial Day (at the end of May) to Labor Day (the beginning of September) (beginning of September). A follower of this theory would argue that white is appropriate to wear beginning on Memorial Day and continuing throughout the summer.
You can wear white at any time of the year now, according to the majority of people, fashion icons included. Don’t fret over an archaic norm that nobody discusses anymore. Wear what makes you feel good.
One of these absurd regulations was that one must not wear white outside of the summer. Dinner parties in the fall were not the place to break out the white dress code, which was reserved for special occasions and vacations. It’s possible that September will be blisteringly hot, in which case white clothing may be the most practical choice. However, if you cared about dressing appropriately, you didn’t. In 1894, the federal government recognized Labor Day as a holiday, and since then, it has come to signify the unofficial end of summer.
As you might expect, not everyone played by the rules. The socialite Coco Chanel is perhaps the most well-known example of someone who defied the norm by wearing white clothes even when it wasn’t particularly warm outside. While only a few hundred women were initially responsible for enforcing the rule, it eventually spread to all of society. By the 1950s, it was widely publicized in women’s magazines that middle-class Americans wore white only between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Is It Acceptable To Continue Wearing White After Labor Day?
To make a long story short, the previously unspoken fashion taboo has been lifted. Don’t put away your whites just because the weather is getting cooler; instead, wear them with pride. In order to do so elegantly, consider the following:
Pay attention to the materials you wear.
We can’t help but adore airy linen pieces, but they’re not exactly seasonally appropriate. White clothing worn in the winter should be made of thicker materials such as cashmere or knits. One of the most versatile ways to wear white all year is with denim. White jeans are a staple of the summer wardrobe, but they transition just as well into fall with the addition of a pair of boots.
Toss the blinds around.
Not all whites are created equal. Now that fall has arrived, neutral colors will be your go-to. Substitute warmer tones like beige, cream, and ivory for all-white ensembles. Also, don’t be shy about using bright colors. A bold red scarf or deep purple hat, for instance, can take your all-white summer outfit into the cooler months.
Add some layers.
If we’re talking about jackets and sweaters, try donning some white ones! The practice of layering is not only practical but also trendy. This is the quickest and easiest way to make your outfit more suitable for the current season. Use a blazer or coat to lengthen your favorite summer pieces, like a white tank or shirt. You can add to the seasonally appropriate atmosphere by donning a plaid flannel shirt.
Have a good time!
The most important thing to remember about wearing white after Labor Day is to enjoy yourself! The Pioneer Woman believes that you should always wear what makes you feel confident and beautiful.
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