Wear white after Labor Day despite the old rules

Dear Lily,

Can I wear white after Labor Day?

-Hannah Grant



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Dear Hannah,

The “no white after Labor Day” rule is actually not a real rule. In the 1800s and early 1900s, deeply established upper class women wanted to find a way to distinguish themselves — old money — from other wealthy people— new money, which was felt to be more vulgar.

The old money women came up with a number of silly fashion “rules” that only women in the know followed.

One of these particular rules was that one cannot wear white after Labor Day, which is a federal holiday typically signifying the end of the summer season.

If you did not know this rule, and have worn white after Labor Day, you were considered to be committing a common faux pas of fashion.

Other sources say that it was a sign of wealth if you did not wear white after Labor Day because it meant you could afford to have two separate wardrobes, one for summer and one for winter.

Overall, most explanations of the Labor Day rule have something to do with wealth.

Since Labor Day is considered to be the last weekend of summer, women would put away their white clothes and take out their winter wardrobes for use after that weekend.

If you continued to wear white, it signified that you did not have enough money to buy two separate sets of clothes for the summer and winter season.

Regardless of these rules, which used to be strictly followed by most people, they have gone out the window in the past few decades, and perhaps even earlier than that, as French fashion designer Coco Chanel wore white all year round during the 20th century.

The short answer is yes, you can wear white after Labor Day. It was never an actual fashion rule, it was merely a status symbol which no longer exists.

If you want to continue to wear your white jeans after Labor Day, go right ahead! If they are your absolute favorite pair of pants and you simply cannot part with them, no fear—you will not be ridiculed.

We live in a society where you can wear whatever you want, whenever you want, and you will be accepted. So continue wearing those white jeans, those white tops and those white shoes that you love so dearly.

Another reason why you can continue to wear white after Labor Day is simply due to the fact that it may still be hot!

September doesn’t always equal immediate fall weather. We often continue to have 80 degree days so those white shorts can still be put to good use.

ArtsLily RansomComment