Can I Wear White on Labor Day?



As the end of summer is fast approaching it is pretty obvious that we are all trying to fill the weekends with some fun,sun and outdoor activities!  Which got me thinking about what to do for Labor Day….. the unofficial End of Summer (BOOOOOO!).  Take making plans for Labor day and mix it with my brain (that immediately thinks about fashion) and here is the question- Can I wear white on Labor Day?  So I spent some time researching why has this “Rule” of not wearing white after labor always made it into conversations and to be quite honest is one of the first things that come to mind when someone mentions Labor Day?

What is Labor Day

Held on the first Monday of September, this public holiday was created to honor the workers/laborers of our country.

A great gift to the working class, take the day off spend it with family and friends and enjoy some end of summer weather and fun…. thanks federal government!

So who came up with the rule of not wearing white after labor day?

After reading many theories I want to give credit to article written by John Surico in the village voice which I really enjoyed and thought gave me the best sense of an answer to this bizarre Labor Day fashion don’t!

There seem to be 2 possible explanations and I will let you have your pick about which is the real answer.

1) White clothing is better in the Heat.

This is a concept that is proven to be true.  Light colored clothing doesn’t retain heat as much as darker colors.  So now that the dog days of summer are behind us it is time to put away our white clothing and accessories and start wearing some of the outfits that would be too uncomfortable in the summer.  Get back into the darker and heavier clothes put away the white linen (breathable) outfits, I guess that’s just an easier fashion transition for people to go through?

2) It was the way of the wealthy


Here is a classic example of trend setting! Beginning in the late 1800’s a shift was occurring in the social economic status of our country.  The middle class was growing and additionally more people from this class were making their way into more affluent communities, events, and gatherings.  Apparently a select group of rich women decided to come up with this concept as to easily distinguish themselves (the established 1%er’s) from new comers to their high society.  So anyone who showed up to an event after labor day wearing white was alienated from the pack, as they were not as “good” because they had obviously just come into money and were not as refined and sophisticated as the rest of the women. I guess word got out and all of a sudden everyone knew that if they wanted a chance at fitting in then they shouldn’t wear white after labor day. Well, a tip of the hat to those women for being very effective trend setters but I am sure they must have been pretty pissed off when no one wore white anymore (giggle, giggle). I mean could you imagine mingling with new rich folk? (disclaimer: last statement is sarcasm).

Lastly I think that the media played a huge role in this law of fashion.  All the major fashion publications followed the trend. It gave them something to write about and to create seasonal differences in what people should wear for clothing and fall fashion accessories, prompting new designs and generating more sales and revenue for the designers.  So like most things that get done in the world the prospect of more money added fuel to the fire.  Although there were some designer exceptions, like Coco Chanel, who was well-known for not respecting this rule, she would wear white all year-long. Gotta love the one who goes against the grain.


In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different. -Coco Chanel

My take on this subject….. DO WHAT YOU WANT!!!!  This “rule” is outdated, kinda like daylight savings time (not gonna get into this trick to make everyone late for an entire day) and Saying “trick or treat” on Halloween (really, who wants a trick instead of a treat?).

I will wear white when I want whether it is my clothing, footwear, or jewelry all year-long!