The fashion faux pas of wearing white pants after Labor Day has now become almost a modern rule. How come? Here’s a little background; the root of the tradition, while still a mystery, are of many. White is a light color, so in the 1800’s it was worn exclusively during the summer months to keep cooler. After Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894, wearing white was considered taboo, especially upon the arrival of the fall season. It’s almost like a reminder that the warm weather is subsiding and it’s time to change into some a little cozier.
The original rule, however, was applied only to the lower half of the body. It wasn’t until later that white pants were removed from the wardrobe until the return of spring. Social Primer says the rule was “borne of class distinction”. The middle-upper class only wore white at their resorts. Classics were made through proper etiquette by these middle-upper class to “educate” the nouveau riche, or new m
oney, by those older families that followed the tradition for generations. They held the golden ticket of information new money needed on how they (as now rich people) should dress and how they should act. Simply, it was all about making a good impression and following the American way – or their American way.
It’s the second week of school and students still are wearing white after Labor Day. Why? White is classic. According to the Houston Chronicle, “breaking antiquated fashion rules is OK”. This year, designers like Marc Jacobs are breaking the rule and showing dresses and skirts in ivories and chalk-colored frocks. The Baltimore Sun calls this fad the “new cool-weather neutral”. Also, being the 21st century, heavier clothing like sweaters and denim are available and dubbed “winter white” as the exception to the rule.
With white being the new black, its a wearable color year-round, but can be worn incorrectly. For instance, do wear heavy white clothing like thick winter dresses and comfy white denim, but don’t wear them together. A head-to-toe white looks pristine in the summer, but can have the opposite effect during the colder months. Instead, wear white jeans with a dark jacket and top. Do wear white accessories like boots with jeans, or a white scarf, but don’t wear too many. Things will start to look more match-y-match-y than effortless. Which brings us to the last do – wear white with confidence. Just like red, white is can be eye-catching with a dark ensemble.
As long as you aren’t concerned about how dirty those eggshell shoes get, and if you’re careful not to spill your morning coffee on that new cream-colored sweater, then feel free to wear white well into the New England Winter.