White After Labor Day?

white clothes

White After Labor Day?

It makes sense after all to wear white clothing in the summer –

it is cooler because it reflects the light…

white dress

But why wear white only in the summer?

Perhaps it had to do with snobbery?

In the late 1880s and early 1900s it began to become more difficult to tell the difference between the old monied and the new monied.  So the women in the old monied  group made rules which needed to be followed by all.  This way you were able to tell at a glance whether or not to give the unknown lady the time of day.  Anybody should have known that white after summer was for debutantes, weddings and resorts, right?

white victorian dress

 In 1894 Labor Day became a national holiday and eventually marked the official end of summer and thus the putting away of all things white.

This rule was not followed by everyone however, Coco Chanel famously wore white year round…

coco chanel, white clothes

Women’s magazines made a clear statement by the 1950s that the whites came out on Memorial Day and went away after Labor Day.

white clothes

For me white clothes are one thing, white shoes are another…

white shoes

I have never been a big fan of white shoes in general, I don’t know why,

with the exception of the tennis shoe and surely that is acceptable after Labor Day…

white converse

and the white blouse, surely we don’t have to stash it away…

white blouse

Maybe Coco Chanel is right about this

after all, snow is white and I love this winter look…

white clothes

and this one…

white clothes

The fashion world of today is much more relaxed about this rule in general

but the undercurrent is still there, no white after Labor Day.

Don’t be surprised if you see me in something white after today, it just won’t be shoes!

Will you wear white after Labor Day?

images via google








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  1. Marilyn Brookes says:

    I’m afraid I will stick to the old rule. I remember in college being really snarky in our comments about those who wore white after Labor Day. I believe we started wearing white after Easter, however, not after Memorial Day.

  2. Great writing!!!

  3. I always thought it was a silly rule, especially as hot as it is in the south. I see nothing wrong with wearing white sweaters etc. in the winter. I agree with you about the shoes. I’ve never been a big fan of white shoes either. I think they really only look good on brides or as strappy little sandals on beautiful, tanned young ladies.

  4. Susan Haltom says:

    I’m with you on the white shoes, Marsha. The idea has always reminded me of nurse shoes–––though you could never confuse those cage stilettos in your blog post with anything sensible like nurse shoes. And though I have tried to make myself wear white jeans and white cords after summer, white on the lower half of my body just doesn’t seem right if it is not hot outside. I’m enjoying your mix of blog topics.

    • mnestorc@aol.com says:

      Thanks for reading! I agree, it is easier to wear white on top after Labor Day but for some reason I don’t wear the white jeans either! So funny!

  5. Alison Phillips says:

    I think whether or not you should wear white before Memorial Day or after Labor Day depends a lot on the weather. Wearing white in the south outside of these parameters doesn’t look out of place; however, in the north it does. It was so cool and rainy in Cleveland, Ohio this summer that I hardly wore my trusty white jeans at all.

    • mnestorc@aol.com says:

      When I was in Louisville, KY a couple of years ago for the Kentucky Derby all the girls there said the same thing and it rained on us the whole time we were there! Thanks for reading!

  6. Darian Gibson says:

    White shoes make your feet look big….and LOUD.
    Nothing is more elegant than winter white…let’s just be sure we understand the difference.
    Love your blog SO MUCH! : )

    • mnestorc@aol.com says:

      Yes Darian, that’s it, I always thought they made the feet look bigger! Thanks for following along!

  7. Sarah Dabney says:

    Last year I wore white jeans after labor day with great success in Oxford, no less. I can’t remember if I was feeling bold or contrary, but they just looked so sharp with my knee high, real leather boots I couldn’t resist. That night more than one southern gentleman requested permission to purchase a top shelf drink for the girl who managed to pull off white after labor day in the fashion capitol of the SEC. Cheers

    • mnestorc@aol.com says:

      I love a girl with spunk and in fact on the Today Show this morning a topic of discussion was how to continue wearing white jeans into the fall. I bet they looked crisp and fresh – perfect for football in the steamy south! Carry on!

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