Can't Wear White After Labor Day? 7 Reasons Why We Think This Rule is Bogus

Friday August 22, 2014 by ChickAdvisor Team


We’ve all heard it said not to wear white after Labour Day -- a terrible fashion rule as far as we are concerned because there are few things in a classically stylish wardrobe that stand out more than a crisp white jacket or elegantly tailored white pants.

But where did all of this come from? According to Time Magazine, this "rule" is part practical and part upper class snobbery. You see, back in the day when ladies and gentlemen of leisure strolled about the garden upon a summer's day, they wore lightweight whites to keep cool in the hot sun. Tank tops and hot pants being a few short centuries away, a woman of good character also had corsets and petticoats to consider when layering for the day.

As the days shortened and the rainy season returned, one could not wear whites and risk being splattered with mud, could one? Certainly not. These practical minded ancestors sensibly traded whites for darker colours and fox hunts everywhere could resume without undue risk to everyone's wardrobe.

The poor folk of course had different considerations. For one, they were the ones manicuring these stately gardens to perfection and were therefore likely covered in dirt from head to toe all day long. The fishmongers, coal delivery men, and washer women were equally unlikely to keep their whites pristine. In any case, most considered themselves lucky if they had a second set of clothing they could keep clean enough to wear to church on Sundays. The common person, you see, sported what we now call "earth tones". They probably just called them "me dearly departed uncle's suit, what was prob'ly a luvly brown at one time or 'nuther."

This practical reasoning naturally established a class distinction in which only the rich really wore white. As the nouveau riche (ie. those who came into money on their own efforts versus "old money" which was inherited) worked their way into the upper echelons of society, they were only too keen to adopt this snobbery to prove they belonged. And thus, a "rule" was born.

In this age of air conditioning and short summer clothing, the only thing keeping this rule in place is convention. Yet even the fabulous Coco Chanel is quoted as saying "Vous pouvez porter le blanc toute l'année" (translation: you may wear white all year), and we won't argue with that.

Check out a few of our snow-white fashion picks and see if you agree:


(1) White Skinny Ankle Zip Pant, Banana Republic, C$110
(2) Pave Link Necklace, Banana Republic, C$74 
(3) Cole Zipper Back Vest, BCBG C$287
(4) Two-Tone Mini City Bag, Zara C$79.90 
(5) Boe Moto Jacket, BCBG C$310
(6) Elsie Metallic Leather Pumps, J Crew, US$255 
(7) Fit & Flare Moto Trench Coat, Nordstrom C$192.03

So what do you say? Will you wear white after Labour Day? Let us know in the comments!

P.S. This post was sponsored by OxiClean™ Max Force™ White Revive™ stain fighter and laundry booster that gets the tough stains out and brightens whites without harsh chlorine, yet is still safe on your colours. Read our members' reviews here!

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7 Comments

on Nov 20, 2014  glumbumble  3,126 said:

The rule makes sense in a practical way. Then again, I've never been one to wear anything white because it gets dirty much too fast. I don't understand how women can walk around with pristine white clothes by the end of the day. Even just sitting on a normal looking bench and bam, your white pants are no longer white.

on Oct 23, 2014  madeline.dm  3,350 said:

Love it! Wear any colour with pride whenever you want, just dress for the temp. x

on Sep 29, 2014  lissdawn  1,963 said:

I've ignored this rule for years, I also still wear sandals!

on Sep 26, 2014  brit_tany33  3,733 said:

I love my white tees, not so much a fan of white pants though!

on Sep 09, 2014  wendyroy  4,716 said:

Winter white is always a great alternative for the sticklers.

on Sep 05, 2014  RebelGrl78  776 said:

White tees I would wear but never white pants my family member agrees these white clothing is hard to wear with Chinese skin! Hard to pair it!

on Aug 25, 2014  fredamans  7,763 said:

I love white and wear it when I want.

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