How did it ever come to be that one color was banished from all but three months of the year? Thus is the predicament with white clothing, especially on your lower half, outside of the the short season between Memorial Day and Labor Day. There are several theories on how this rule came about.
One thought is that it stems from after the Civil War, when there was a boom in the national economy. In fact, the population in America more than doubled between the end of the war in 1865 and the beginning of the 20th century. With all this growth, old money people needed to be able to distinguish themselves from the new money people. Many, many fashion rules were made so that the older-money ladies on high could separate themselves from those who didn’t know any better. Dress codes ruled the day. One that has continued to stick around, even though September can be brutally hot, is the rule declaring it not appropriate to wear white after Labor Day. This traditionally has been especially true for below the waist: skirts, dresses, pants, shoes and let’s not forget your handbag!
Another theory comes from the fact that the autumn weather change in New York, long the fashion capital of the United States, brought much more rain after Labor Day. The wet weather, along with the overall grit in the city, was a poor companion for white clothing for the sake of practicality.
One last theory is that perhaps it comes from all the leisure wear that is made for those who were able to “summer,” which is traditionally white clothing. Once this same crowd was back in the swing of things at home, clothing needed to show a shift away from the more carefree summer to a more professional look, and the color change aided that overall wardrobe change.
Whatever the case may be, today the trend is to buck this whole system and to wear whatever you’d like to wear. So, while linen may not be practical in colder weather, white jeans with a white cashmere sweater fits the bill quite nicely. White is a great color to embrace all year round, and the tide against only wearing it during summer months has never been stronger.
How to Wear White After Labor Day
1. Add some boots!
2. Mix textures and variations of white with neutrals
3. Throw a cardigan over your white outfit.
4. Get a white coat for winter.
Have a great white outfit inspiration? Tag us on Instagram or use the hashtag #styleblueprint so that we can regram it!
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