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Post Labor Day Whites That Work

I remember growing up that every year, once Labor Day hit, mom took our white dresses and pants and moved them to the back of the closet, not to be brought out again until after Memorial Day.  When I was eight, she absolutely refused to get me the white winter coat I coveted leading to a standoff that nearly left me without a coat for winter that year.  According to her, post Labor Day whites were a huge no no. But when I asked why, she never really had an answer.

transitioning your wardrobe

wear white

I get that white makes sense in summer because it is a bit cooler.  And I even understand that in the snow and slush of winter white could get a bit messed up.  So even though I never got a clear answer, for a long time I just accepted the rule.  It did kind of make sense.

Fashionable words to live by from Michael Kors

Fashionable words to live by from Michael Kors

Reed Krakoff

Reed Krakoff

As I got older curiosity got the better of me.  If a fashion icon like Coco Chanel would wear white year-round why couldn’t I?  And what about all the great winter whites in the pages of the fashion magazines?  Was there ever really a hard and fast rule about not wearing white after Labor Day?  And if so, where did it come from?

If a fashion icon like Coco Chanel would wear white year-round why couldn’t I

If a fashion icon like Coco Chanel would wear white year-round why couldn’t I?

Famous quote from the great Coco Chanel

Famous quote from the great Coco Chanel

Famous quote from the great Coco Chanel

Famous quote from the great Coco Chanel

The post-Labor Day moratorium on wearing white was, for a long time, a sacred rule among fashion and society hard-liners.  White was the color for weddings and warm weather only.  Some theorize that it came into effect in the late 1800’s as an attempt by the old-money women of the south to distinguish themselves from the “vulgar” new money.  By creating “insider” fashion rules that everyone in the know had to follow they could easily identify the outsiders.  If a woman showed up at a party in a dress with an improper collar, for example, others would know not to give her the time of day.  The ban on white after Labor Day may have been one of these rules.  Much like other rules of etiquette, this rule carried on from generation to generation, just one more dictum that allowed society elites to hold on to their perceived dominance over the upwardly mobile.  Even into the 1950’s fashion magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar made it clear in their pages….white came out after Memorial Day and went away on Labor Day.   Here we are, over 100 years later, and the issue is still being discussed.

Children from 1924 getting their final splash in wearing their summer whites

Children from 1924 getting their final splash in wearing their summer whites

 

Thankfully, though, the rules of fashion have evolved.  Designers and consumers have come to appreciate the unique qualities that white affords.  White is crisp and modern and clean.  Its simplicity creates elegance.  In its purity we are often better able to appreciate the fine details of fashion.  As Coco Chanel noted, the beauty of white is absolute.

Chanel, Valentino, Bottega Veneta, Lanvin, Narcisco Rodriguez, Rodarte

Chanel, Valentino, Bottega Veneta, Lanvin, Narcisco Rodriguez, Rodarte

Andrew Gn

Andrew Gn

Carlos Campos Men's RTW Fall 2016

Carlos Campos Men’s RTW Fall 2016

Alberta Ferretti

Alberta Ferretti

Deveaux Men's RTW Fall 2016

Deveaux Men’s RTW Fall 2016

 

Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen

There’s a special feeling that comes with wearing white.  You just feel a bit more polished, a touch more sophisticated, a little more confident.  Whether it’s a crisp white shirt, a softly draped white pant or a plush white fox jacket, the message is one of easy distinction.

 

 

Genny RTW Fall 2016

Genny RTW Fall 2016

Jonathan Simkhai8

Jonathan Simkhai

Fendi17

For fall 2016 designers have embraced white to deliver fresh and exciting looks in ready-to-wear and outerwear.  So stand up against the old rules and show that white is right….anytime.

 

John Varvatos Men's RTW Fall 2016

John Varvatos Men’s RTW Fall 2016

 

Anya Hindmarch RTW Fall 2016

Anya Hindmarch RTW Fall 2016

J Mendel

J Mendel

Jonathan Simkhai

Jonathan Simkhai

Gareth Pugh

Gareth Pugh

Derek Lam

Derek Lam

Elisabetta Franchi

Elisabetta Franchi

Belstaff

Belstaff

Coach-Fall-2016-Bags-18

Coach

Ermanno Scervino6

Ermanno Scervino

Dennis Basso30

Dennis Basso

We’ve gathered our favorite white looks of the season at our FurInsider Pinterest page.

FurInsider's 2016/2017 winter white Pinterest board

FurInsider’s 2016/2017 winter white Pinterest board

P.S.  When it comes to wearing white we do still live by one hard and fast rule: NEVER wear white to the wedding unless you are the bride!