Early September marks Labor Day and the end of September signifies the official start of autumn, but does that mean you have to send you white pants or ivory blouses to the back of your closet?
According to Fitzpatrick (2009), the “no white after Labor Day” rule was socially constructed by members of society’s upper crust in early twentieth century, as a way to separate themselves. She says, “Along with a slew of commands about salad plates and fish forks, the no-whites dictum provided old-money élites with a bulwark against the upwardly mobile. But such mores were propagated by aspirants too: those savvy enough to learn all the rules increased their odds of earning a ticket into polite society. “It [was] insiders trying to keep other people out,” says Steele, “and outsiders trying to climb in by proving they know the rules.”
Thus, if you ask me, white after Labor Day is certainly acceptable, especially in hotter climates such as Athens, Georgia. Also, the queen of etiquette herself— Emily Post— debunks this myth. In an advice column on the Emily Post website, it states: “It’s more about fabric choice today than color. Even in the dead of winter in northern New England the fashionable wear white wools, cashmeres, jeans, and down-filled parkas. The true interpretation is “wear what’s appropriate—for the weather, the season, or the occasion.” Also, with the rise of reasonless dressing, this notion has even more credibility and relevance.
So, now that you know you are allowed to wear white after Labor Day, how should you do it? Keep reading to find out!
How To Wear White After Labor Day
- Stick with the basic, tried-and-true staple in every woman’s closet— the white v-neck tee. Layered under a chunky sweater or worn with dark denim jeans and a lightweight scarf, this tee can be worn 365 days of the year.
- For the dead of winter, a white or cream wool peacoat can be a striking statement. Just as Emily Post emphasized, it’s more about fabric than color.
- Believe it or not, white jeans can certainly still be worn into autumn and in early spring. Pair them with a blouse, leather jacket and your favorite booties!
- Whether it be a fabulous studded clutch, a jacket or a mini skirt, white leather is a great material to utilize the color in the cooler months.
- Who doesn’t love a chunky sweater? And what could be better than a warm, cream or white sweater to pair with your favorite skirt and a pair of tights? Nothing.
While these are just a few ideas on how to style your “winter whites,” there are tons of ways to do so and still look fabulous. Forget the antiquated social construct, and keep those whites toward the front of your closet!
Fitzpatrick, L. (2009, September 8). Why We Can’t Wear White After Labor Day. TIME. Retrieved from content.time.com.