Wearing White after Labor Day

by Sarah Rogers

White is such a staple color. For many, white, black, gray, and other neutral tones is the only color range that can describe our closets. The old myth that it’s a serious fashion crime to wear white after labor day has become an intense challenge with the fact that white was THE color for spring and summer.

I remember just a few days ago I paired a black sweater with high waisted white jeans. I had just gotten them over the summer and wasn’t ready to give them up quiet yet, and, they made the detail of the embroidery in my sweater really come forward, wearing it with blue jeans just didn’t do it justice. One of my closest friends, who is studying to be a fashion designer, follows every single instagram fashion blogger in existence, and memorizes the pages of Vogue faster than any textbook readings for class, asked me “Are you really wearing white after labor day?” In which I responded with, “Yeah, so?” and that made the both of us think: why can’t you wear white when the sun goes away?

The oh so strict rule of wearing white strictly during the warmer seasons came actually from the late 1800’s, when the class system of America was so delicate and divided due to the fact that so many people were becoming millionaires after the civil war. There was a fashion high society; where old money wives who dominated the social scene created funky rules that make as little sense as homework during syllabus week. So, when new money started to pour in, whatever started to become “in” after that, including  colors, patterns, textures, even sleeve length, was looked down upon by these intimidating high class women simply because it was new. That winter, white was huge, and of course that meant all of these new money fashionistas bought white like the color was going extinct. These old money fashion dictators were able to segregate the new money women easily and not let them in their exclusive social club, which is pretty crazy to think about now, but snobbery in that time period was undeviating.

So, because of something that was decided basically a hundred years ago, we still stick to it today. It’s interesting, because fashion rules have changed and evolved so rapidly since then, but this old rule still stands. There isn’t any sensible reason behind it, if white looks good on you during the summer why do people act like they wouldn’t be caught dead in the color during the fall?

With the unpredictability of the summer months, which probably consist of anything from sporadic trips to staying at home doing absolutely nothing, simplicity is key. So, t-shirts, sweats, athleisure, and other loungewear is probably what you were sticking to. The colder weather brings a more formal time; and with holidays, over coats, and layers upon layers, try to keep your looks more tailored if you want to stay on trend. Your pieces can absolutely be ANY color of the rainbow as long as they are well cut pieces that are meant to flaunt a dressy vibe. During the fall and winter, I tend to make this rule for myself (even though there really should never be any rules in fashion- its entirely whatever makes you feel like YOU), add to your wardrobe pieces of purpose. Now is the time to splurge, buy bold pieces, and really dress up your closet. If the piece that makes you stop and stare happens to be white, then so be it.

When combining other elements with your white pieces, use it almost like a canvas; add furs, bright colors, patterns, and other bold accessories. However, keep it simple, add things to your white ensemble that emphasize it, not overshadow it. Staple fall/winter colors such as maroon, mustard, army green, and taupes, paired with an element of white (skinnies, mini skirts, booties, etc) make those colors pop and really stand out. Its crazy how white is looked down upon in the fall time, because with those dark colors that become in trend again, sometimes pairing them with black, dark denim, or gray can take away from the beauty of the colors independently, creating a gloomy, one dimensional look if paired all together. I’ve definitely fallen victim to pairing a dark shade sweater with even darker bottoms, which is fine, however if you’re wanting to really show off your splurge piece and the detail of it, a white bottom or top will definitely do the trick. In these dreary months ahead, where everything, even the sky, is grey, wearing white will definitely make you stand out.

Interestingly, many fashion gurus claim that wearing white around the holidays is acceptable, maybe because it’s the color of snow? Whatever it may be, during those crisp chilly days, wearing white is simply invigorating and absolutely chic. Of course, don’t save all of your white for winter. Instead, incorporate more frills, lace, and ruffles, adding a bit more cheer in your holiday daze. In the fall, transition with more simple, clean, tailored pieces. Winter is the time to be absolutely extra and create a statement white ensemble.

With how fashion has evolved and changed, its funny how we keep up with rules, such as wearing a color during a certain season. It’s silly, but we should be thankful that some fashion rules (skirt length, leggings not being considered pants, heels being a must if you want to be fancy, the list goes on) that were much worse than this one, have left. Maybe one day in a perfect world, wearing white after labor day won’t be questionable. But for now, you should totally flaunt white like it is going extinct, whether it be spring, summer, or gasp…fall or winter.  It’s a classic color that should never have any limitations!

Was this article helpful?