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White After Labor Day

An outdated Southern rule or proper etiquette?

White After Labor Day

For anyone living in the southeastern part of the United States, you’ve probably heard your mother or grandmother stress the importance of not wearing white after Labor Day at least once in your lifetime.

The “official” unofficial rule is this: no white clothes, especially white shoes, or light fabrics such as seersucker or linen after Labor Day...which is the first Monday of September...even though the last day of summer is technically September 21.

Summer, in my mind, ends when the weather begins to cool down and the leaves begin to change color. This tradition makes it seem as if winter hits immediately after the holiday passes, like all of a sudden the weather goes from 90 degrees to 60. In reality, in the South temperatures can reach the upper- to mid-90s all the way into October. In my opinion, dress should be based on weather, not an old Southern rule. This not only applies to color, but also to fabric. Going to a Saturday afternoon football game in a dress made of thick, "winter" material just because it's after Labor Day would be miserable.

Even when it does get chilly (I say chilly because the South never gets "cold"), white is a staple color in every person's wardrobe. Why do you think the "winter white" was created? It's a neutral and goes with anything. 

The bottom line is that you should wear whatever you want, whenever you want. Ralph Lauren said, "style is very personal. It has nothing to do with fashion. Fashion is over quickly. Style is forever." There are tons of trends that come and go, and the taboo of wearing white after Labor Day is just another passing trend. Fashion now-a-days is all over the place, a collection of fads from decades past. The new rule is anything goes, no matter what anyone thinks.

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