Can you wear white after Labor Day? This is an age-old question that many people don’t know the origin of.
Why Can’t You Wear White After Labor Day?
You’ve probably heard of the famous saying, “You can’t wear white after Labor Day.” And while a lot of people have generally accepted this as sound fashion advice, the history behind it is actually quite fascinating. And there are a couple of theories that can possibly explain it.
Easy, Breezy Vacations
Not wearing white after labor day may have stemmed from the fashion choices of the wealthy back in the early 1900s. Wealthy folks back then opted to wear lightweight, white clothing such as linen suits and loose-fitting dresses. They generally favored these pieces, and the color white, during the hot summer when they would go on long vacations. Continuing to wear the color even after Labor Day was just a way to show off their wealth because they could afford to have vacations even after the summer season.
A Classist Rule
Some historians believe that the Labor Day white clothing practice also dates back to the wealthy upper class of the 19th century. During that time, wealthy people used fashion as a way to separate themselves from the middle class. The upper class had money to go on luxurious vacations where white would be the color of choice. Additionally, they didn’t have to do any work that would result in stains. In comparison, middle-class workers had to work with their hands, often in dirty environments.
It also acted as a way to separate the old rich from the new rich in that the old rich kept the inside tip a secret from the new rich. In fact, by the 1950s, not wearing the color following Labor Day was viewed as a status symbol of sorts. New money types didn’t follow the rule because they weren’t “in,” resulting in them committing fashion faux pas.
A Change in Season
Why can’t I wear white after Labor Day? Well, the final theory, while still involving the wealthy, has more to do with the changing seasons. The rich would go on nice summer vacations wearing white. Since Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer, it signaled a time to pack up the white summer clothes. As the autumn and winter seasons came around, even the rich opted to go with darker clothing made with heavier fabrics to keep them warmer.
Breaking the Fashion Norm
While this fashion rule enjoyed popularity in the past, it’s no longer seen as a norm today. In fact, even fashion icon Coco Chanel broke the rule many times as far back as the 1920s. Chanel was known for wearing the color regardless of the season, incorporating it as a staple in her wardrobe.
Today, nobody really adheres to this practice anymore. Nobody cares if you wear white even after the Labor Day weekend. The important thing is that you feel comfortable and confident in whatever color or style you wear.
Why Don’t You Wear White After Labor Day? Solved!
It may have started out as a classist rule adopted by the wealthy, but the rule no longer applies in modern times. Fashion is all about self-expression, and anyone can wear whatever they want. Excluding an entire color from your closet after a certain date now seems silly, especially when you consider how fashion has evolved throughout the years.
When it comes down to it, Labor Day is all about celebrating the American workforce. Instead of focusing on what people will think of your white clothes, take the time to pay tribute to the workers and laborers in the United States.
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