No White After Labor Day

I was just talking with my mother in law about how this weekend marks the official end of summer.  We discussed how funny it was how the temperatures were 100 degrees on August 31, then suddenly on September first, they turned 80.  Autumn happened all at once.  We have even turned off the air, and are enjoying the mild temps. 

This of course means fashion changes as well.  In the midst of our conversation, we started talking about the “No white after labor day” rule.  She expressed how strict it was when she was a child.  Literally, the day after labor day, white shoes were put away, and you did not bring them out again until Memorial Day.  This seemed to pose a problem for Easter, since it was an early spring holiday.  I had no idea that the rule was that strict!  Another thing caught my attention.  She said that it was understood that you were a little lower in class status if you wore white.  Like a total socialite versus lower class fashion.  This really surprised me!  Especially since most people wear white all year around now. 

I decided to do some research. 

Well, there are many theories as to why this rule became so popular.  One was that fashion magazines were written in large cities and would show their models dressed in darker clothes during fall.  The reasons for the darker clothes were for heavier rainfall during the fall months, so why on earth would you wear white just to get it so filthy.  Another reason was status.  Only the middle class to the most wealthy really obeyed the fashion and etiquette rules.  If you were wearing white after Labor Day, people knew you were not as affluent.  Finally, not wearing white after labor day ensured that people would not ruin their nice summer clothes.  That way they could wear them again next year.

Whatever the reason, our society has moved away from this fashion rule.  I have stayed away from white in the fall and winter all together not for fashion etiquette, but instead for my own clumsiness.  I am notorious for getting stains on clothing without knowing how.  This rule is an excellent rule for me.  But I have noticed people wearing winter whites, and even beautiful whites around Christmas.  It is nice that we have become a society that gives people a little more freedom.  We are no longer associated by a color of clothing with how affluent we are.  That is a positive change!

So, go take out your fall sweaters and clothing or not!  Either way, you are not going to be judged as harshly! 

Enjoy your fall wardrobe everyone!  I know I will!

One thought on “No White After Labor Day

  1. I am 67 and grew up in the forties,fifties, and sixties (I was born in 1944). The no white after Labor Day rule was very strictly observed, even though here in Texas, it was still hot through September. We began wearing white on Easter Sunday, especially white dress shoes. I just found your blog. Nice job.

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