Everyone has heard the claim that you cannot wear white after Labor Day, but is this really a fashion sin?
Autumn Clothes After Labor Day?
Many Americans choose to bring their fall clothes to the front of their wardrobe following Labor Day weekend, packing summer options away for the following year.
This may include white clothes, like white dresses, shorts, and blouses.
Let us put your mind at ease and say that there is no problem wearing white after Labor day.
Fashion does have ‘rules’ but it also has exceptions, particularly with outdated notions like the ‘no white’ regulations.
If you’ve ever wondered where the wearing white after Labor day conundrum ever started, we’ll cover the answer in this post.
You’ll learn where the white after Labor day rule came from, as well as how you can wear white in the cooler seasons without sticking out.
Why Is White Not Worn Following Labor Day?
When you think about it, the no-white-after-Labor-Day notion is more practical than it first sounds.
Heating and air conditioning are modern luxuries that weren’t available in the past. This meant that dressing for the weather and season was very important.
As summer began, lighter fabrics in lighter shades were preferred as they kept people cooler in the warmer temperatures.
As the seasons changed and fall came around, people naturally gravitated to darker shades and warmer fabrics. This still rings true today!
People in the modern age still wear darker-colored heavier materials, like velvet, leather, and wool in winter. They also favor lighter fabrics in cooler shades in summer, like cotton, linen, and silk.
As Labor Day is known as the theoretical end of summer, many people choose to hang up their summer attire on Labor Day weekend.
People carry on with this tradition out of habit and necessity, not in deference to an outdated fashion regulation.
When Did Not Wearing White After Labor Day Start?
We still don’t know for sure where the white clothes following the Labor Day rule came from.
Some history experts think that this may have been for dressing correctly for cooler temperatures, but others think that the rule was down to wealth disparities.
In the 1800s, wearing white clothes helped differentiate working-class people from wealthier people. Wealthier individuals could afford to go on vacation.
Wearing white visually displayed that these people didn’t need to work.
Workers tended to stick to darker shades, even during summer. Darker colors would hide any dirt, grime, and sweat visible on their clothes from working outside.
Wearing white and leaving it unstained, without any indications of laborious tasks, was a vivid display that a person was wealthy and spending time on vacation.
However, wearing white clothes didn’t just differentiate wealthier people from poorer ones. Society individuals used the color to mark the difference between new money and old money.
The no white after Labor Day was a rule that helped old money insiders keep new money social climbers out of their circle.
As more people caught onto this rule, the fashion industry caught on and designed seasonal attire to match.
Is Not Wearing White Following Labor Day Still A Rule Today?
The white clothes after Labor Day rule may have been followed in the past, but it isn’t followed in the modern age.
The rule stems from elitist, old styles of thinking. The rule isn’t seen as relevant as society has evolved a lot since the 1800s.
Some fashion enthusiasts do prefer to stick to the rule, but your choice will depend on your beliefs and wardrobe choices.
Personal income and the season should not affect the color of your clothes!
When Can You Wear White Before Labor Day?
The rule suggests that white clothing is appropriate during the summer period. This starts on Memorial Day at the end of May and finishes on Labor Day, at the start of September.
If you follow the rule, you can begin wearing white from Memorial Day onwards, throughout summer, then stop once September comes around.
Bear in mind that while some people do follow the no-white rule, the majority of people, including style icons, choose to wear white during all seasons.
It’s more important to wear what makes you feel good. If that means wearing white in winter, then go ahead!
How To Wear White In Cooler Seasons
If you cannot get past the no white following Labor Day rule, and you like to stick to fashion rules, here are some tips that can help you feel more comfortable wearing white after summer.
- Wear heavier white materials, like suede, cashmere, and leather.
- Lighter fabrics, like gauze and linen, are appropriate for above 55°F. If the temperature drops below this, it’s best to keep them away until summer comes around next year.
- Wear September white clothes with fall colors like chocolate, cranberry, and rust. This will make the white clothes feel suitable for fall.
- Wear booties or shoes that cover the toes. Pairing white summer clothes with fall shoes is a nice contrast, particularly during transitional climates.
- Add a third layer over the clothes. Leather jackets, big sweaters, or knitted scarves will help your white clothes feel fall appropriate.
The Bottom Line
The no white after Labor Day rule is very outdated and has no place dictating what you should wear today.
The most important thing is to wear the clothes that you love and make you feel amazing. If this looks like wearing white pieces and lighter fabrics in fall, that’s great!
If you are a fashion enthusiast and are struggling to wear white attire after September, the tips above can help you transition into white clothes after Labor Day.
Try them out for yourself and see if your confidence improves in the process!
Video: Strategies To Wear White After Labor Day
The first outfit is demonstrated in this video at 1:23.