Have you ever heard the adage, “You can’t wear white after labor-day?”. As we move into Spring and Summer with warmer temperatures, lighter colors and a feeling of ease, I love to style my clients in whites, creams, and ivories. I love an all-white look with a pop of color, I love ivory pants mixed with pastels, and cream-colored skirts can just set the tone for your day. But I am constantly questioned about the phrase of that one little rule.
As a reminder, Labor Day is in September and as a stylist, I always tell my clients that they don’t need to worry about fashion rules; it’s much more important to do you with self-confidence! If you feel confident wearing it, then rock it! The time of year doesn’t matter! And those little fashion “rules” don’t either.
But I kept wondering, why can’t we wear white after that specific day in September? Where did this fashion faux pas originate from? Why do people still adhere to this rule?
So here it goes. This is your official deep dive into white after labor day.
In the 19th century, society ladies were challenging the rich using the subtleties of fashion. And the entire “you can’t wear white after Labor Day” rule is just a sly way to separate the rich from the poor or in the 19th century case, new money from old money. Effectively, avoiding white after labor day was a form of bullying and a way to keep the people “in the know” or the ones that created the rule more superior to those that weren’t in the know.
White was considered vacation attire for those affluent enough to leave the city in the warmer months for clear ocean waters and long beach stays. The city was associated with the working class and oftentimes darker hues and work colors. White linen was the epitome of leisure and you weren’t in if you didn’t know.
However, this explanation isn’t always accepted and is rather attributed to the fact that Labor Day officially marks the end of summer. The time when vacationers pack up, move back to the city, and donned their navy’s and gray’s and prepare for the cold. Some say it was a physical acknowledgement of the changing seasons and prompted a wardrobe change.
What this means:
The rule truly means a whole lot of nothing and now that you know where it came from, you can change this rule. Knowledge is power and now you can educate any nay sayers if you do, indeed choose to wear white past Labor Day.
What does this mean for you?
White is a staple and it shouldn’t ever leave your closet regardless of season. It is a perfect base, outer layer, or statement piece and when styled correctly it can be lights out the most amazing color in your wardrobe.
What are some great white looks?
Now for the looks! White is everywhere this season and here are some of my favorite pieces!