If you grew up in the ’90s when white cargo capris and shorts were popular you remember being told, “you shouldn’t wear white after labor day.” However, with the vintage 90’s coming back into fashion, white straight leg jeans are getting their day in the sun again and making appearances well after labor day. The truth is, telling someone they shouldn’t wear white after labor day is more out of fashion than the adage itself, plus there’s plenty of reasons why you should wear white after labor day.
Wearing White After Labor Day: A History
When considering why this rule came to be, there are two sides of the story but it’s not especially clear. One theory on why you can’t wear white after labor day is because it conveys a sense of wealth. Because wearing lighter white clothes was synonymous with vacationing at a resort, it was considered a fopa to wear white if you weren’t vacationing. Think of your white clothing as your “”good sunday clothes”” that should never be worn outside of vacation.
Another theory suggests that steering clear of wearing white has to do with following the trends of fashion editors. During the early 1900s when the majority of fashion magazines were based in the northeast, white was impractical wear for places like New York where the rainy fall and dirty streets would inevitably soil white clothing. As such, many fashion editors would pack away their white clothes and when fashion magazines were published, they mirrored a gray and black wardrobe after Labor Day. Bottom line, the reasons for why you can’t wear labor day are pretty outdated and has been a rule that has long been thrown out, but wearing white, like any color is an art.
How to Wear White After Labor Day
When it comes to the logistics of wearing white after labor day you have to thing about your climate. If you live in a beach town or somewhere that’s more tropical than seasonal, what you get to wear after labor day likely doesn’t change much. For those that experience a more mild winter, you have a little more freedom to play around with layers as the weather gets more chilly. For those that experience a true winter you get to play with bulk and texture and perhaps a few ski resort moments.
The final thing to consider when wearing white is how are you going to keep you whites, white. For similar reasons as fashion editors in the time of old, you might want to swear off white pants when things get slushy in your part of the world. If you’re someone who’s a bit of a messy eater or is consistently unlucky with acquiring stains, you might want to make sure to keep a tide pen on you so you can keep your post-Labor Day whites looking their best.
Society has long since decided that the ban on white after labor day is archaic, but very few people actually talk about why that is. It’s like we collectively decided that this was one of the fashion rules made to be broken, but styling white can be difficult, especially if the material lends itself to spring and summer more than fall and winter.
Post Labor Day Looks
Looking for a couple of post labor day looks? Luckily I have a few just for you! Many of these looks are pretty summer since they were taking from a trip I took earlier this year, but many of these looks can translate into fall with ease:
White in its Natural Habitat
While this dress definitely lends itself to a summer look, transitioning this dress into fall is as simple as throwing on a pair of over the knee boots and a wide brimmed hat. Because fall nights can get chilly, you’ll likely need something to keep you warm if you take this outfit into the evening. To avoid distracting from this steller sleeve, pairing this with a blanket scarf delicately draped across the shoulders or a shaw will ensure that you can stay warm on a cool night.
A White Jumpsuit for Nights Out
This is a look that can translate into fall all on it’s own. Not only is it great with this brown hat (hello pumpkin patch season!), but with a few accessories, a bold fall lip, and a dark strappy heel, this look is complete for a night out at an upscale bar or dinner with your significant other. If you’re looking to dress this down a bit, pair this jumpsuit with a cute sneaker, and tie a chunky sweater or sweatshirt across your chest for an on the go look. Alternatively, opt for a cropped, loose fitting sweater and you have white pants without spending the extra money!
A Versatile Statement Piece
Who doesn’t love a good blazer? They can add a touch of class and elevation to even the most casual outfits. Every woman should have a black, plaid, and white blazer. With some practice you may come to find yourself wearing the white blazer more. While this outfit is a little more summery with the pastel dress but a white blazer pairs well with a camel sweater or go for a monochrome look with a white pair of trousers and blouse.
Don’t forget about white’s perfect match—black. A full black outfit with a white blazer over top creates a very classy and timeless look. As far as accessories go, you can’t go wrong with a couple of chunky gold pieces, preferably a watch or bracelets if you’re really going for a business look.
Style Your Post Labor Day Looks with White This Fall
Hopefully these looks have inspired you to repurpose your summer whites for fall. Of course there are plenty of other white clothing items not mentioned here that can create some great fall outfits: white jeans, turtlenecks, and even those those patent leather pointed toe booties. Like any color and any outfit you put together the secret to pulling off white in the fall is to create balance and texture that calls back to the season regardless of the color you’re wearing.