You’ve heard the old adage your entire life: No white after Labor Day. Sure, our generation is defined by breaking all the rules including the most traditional fashion ones. But every time I throw on a pair of white pants after Labor Day, I hear that voice in the back of my head questioning whether it’s publicly acceptable or not. When did this “rule” start and does it still matter?
Turns out we can attribute this fashion practice to good ol’ classism. At the turn of the century, the affluent members of society retired their white pieces as a sign that they’d returned from their luxurious summer travels. As time went on, people of all classes starting ditching their white wardrobes after Labor Day to remain acceptable in the eyes of high society. Then the rule just became the stuff of urban legend: everyone knew about it but no one really knew the origin.
Some schools of thought lean toward a more functional reason for the switch to darker garments in fall. White is ideal for summer to stay cool in the heat, but those wearing white during the unpredictable weather of fall and winter run the risk of dirtying, damaging, or completely ruining white clothing. Others believe it was simply an easy visual way to distinguish between the affluent and those less fortunate.
Over time, trendsetters like Coco Chanel defied the masses by sporting pure white looks well after Labor Day. And as the rule becomes more and more outdated by the minute, the fashion icons of today continue to do the same. Whatever the true origin of the rule is, one thing is clear: you can wear whatever you want after Labor Day as long as you wear it well.
Sources: time.com, mentalfloss.com, bustle.com