White After Labor Day: History and the 10 White Pieces You Should Wear All Year

Posted September 2, 2013 by Marcy Twete in Building Your Brand
It’s common knowledge for fashionable women in America that “white after Labor Day” is a fashion faux pas. But why? Have you ever wondered where that rule came from? I did a little research and found the answer. Check it out from Time Magazine, here.

Instead, other historians speculate, the origin of the no-white-after–Labor Day rule may be symbolic. In the early 20th century, white was the uniform of choice for Americans well-to-do enough to decamp from their city digs to warmer climes for months at a time: light summer clothing provided a pleasing contrast to drabber urban life. “If you look at any photograph of any city in America in the 1930s, you’ll see people in dark clothes,” says Scheips, many scurrying to their jobs. By contrast, he adds, the white linen suits and Panama hats at snooty resorts were “a look of leisure.”

Labor Day, celebrated in the U.S. on the first Monday of September, marked the traditional end of summer; the well-heeled vacationers would stow their summer duds and dust off their heavier, darker-colored fall clothing. “There used to be a much clearer sense of re-entry,” says Steele. “You’re back in the city, back at school, back doing whatever you’re doing in the fall — and so you have a new wardrobe.

The question remains, even 90 years after the origin of this rule, can you really wear white between Labor Day and Memorial Day? Even some of the world’s greatest fashion experts say no. But many also say yes. We think….it depends on the piece. So to get you started shopping for fall, we’re bringing you 10 of our favorite white pieces that are 100% appropriate after Labor Day!



White After Labor Day

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."