Ah, the age old argument of whether or not one should wear white after Labor Day. I will make my case. You be the judge.
Wearing white in the summer when temperatures rise and dark clothes only make the sun’s heat more intense just makes sense. But, why is it such a taboo to don white during the rest of the year? It didn’t used to be. Yet we all know at least a few people who act like it’s the end of the world to wear white outside of the summer bracket – that is, before Memorial Day and after Labor Day. Let me just go ahead and get this out in the open – I would put a lot of money on a bet to say most people don’t know where this “tradition” even came from or why they hold so fast to it. Allow me to enlighten you.
In the late 18th and early 19th century, the industrial revolution was going full steam. Modern machinery, factories and mass production meant more opportunity and job creation. This interrupted the social structure. Those who had enjoyed the exclusivity of high class society – the bourgeoisie – were alarmed to find more and more people entering their social circles. But these people were “new money” – a dirty word to the aristocracy. So the women in the old guard devised a way to socially set them apart and humiliate them. They made up dozens of fashion rules that only they knew about. Sure, you could make your millions in a new coal mine and show up that next week to the opera in a million dollar gown, but if you weren’t aware that your puffed sleeves were no longer in fashion, well, that dog won’t hunt.
Not wearing white before Memorial Day or after Labor Day was one of these rules meant to weed out the scandalous “new money” impostors. One could argue that if you still support such a notion, then you support segregation of social structures….too far?
And a side note: it’s a common misnomer that not wearing white after Labor Day is a southern tradition. Errrr. Wrong. So if your sorority-obsessed friend tries to tell you she’s stickin’ to her guns on the archaic white trend because she’s from Texas and that’s just what you do, I regret to inform you that she is mistaken. It was a nationwide trend in America and it was also a segregating tool in Europe. In fact, there is one figure who famously refused to follow this trend: Coco Chanel. Enough said.
So next time you go to grab a cute pair of white jeans and then remember that it’s November and you’re “not supposed to” – WEAR THEM WITH RECKLESS ABANDON! Because the Unsinkable Molly Brown was “new money” and she was EVERYONE’S FAVORITE and no one liked Rose’s mom who would’ve scoffed at her for wearing white and if you don’t get this reference, stop everything you’re doing and watch Titanic right now.
Smashing archaic – and quite frankly laughable – traditions since 1990. You’re welcome.
Outfit details are unfortunately not very helpful as everything I’m wearing is no longer available..
Dress: bought from a friend who used to be a Shop Stevie rep but the brand is Ellison | Shoes: Sam Edelman Haroldson Pump in Sheep Print | Earrings: Baublebar Mariela Hoop in Blush | Bracelet: J. Crew
I’ll drop some links down below to the Haroldson pumps in different colors and some Baublebar earrings that are similar to the Marielas. And I’ll also include a few white goodies that I currently have in various shopping carts waiting to be purchased!