Why Can’t You Wear White After Labor Day?

And where did this crazy rule come from anyway?

The unofficial end of summer is here!  So pack up your white capris away until Memorial Day 2015. At least that used to be the rule long ago, long ago, when I was young(er). I’ve always wondered were in the world that ridiculous fashion directive got started, so I did a little research. In the early 20th century, some fashion historians suggest (Hey, I majored in history. I didn’t know I could get a degree in fashion history) that white linens and Panama hats is what the wealthy wore while they summer-ed at their country estates.  Of course, there was no air-conditioning at the time and white would certainly keep one cooler than dark colors.

After Labor Day, the rich and famous returned to their city residences, dig out their fall apparel and mark the beginning of fall. Or least the end of summer. Whole new season, whole new wardrobe. Way back in the 1920’s Coco Chanel began wearing white year-round. The white suit became her signature look.

So do you follow this rule? It seems a bit hard in the Washington, DC area since temperatures can stay in the 80’s and 90’s well into October. Even Emily Post’s Etiquette, 17th Edition, says it’s fine to wear white after Labor Day. Do you wear white after Labor Day? I say, wear whatever you want as long as you feel beautiful in it!

Fashion fades, only style remains the same. Coco Chanel
Fashion fades, only style remains the same. Coco Chanel


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