Theories Behind Not Wearing White After Labor Day

September 5, 2019

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Labor Day is the unofficial ending of summer and the center of an expression that makes you scratch your head. For generations, we’ve subscribed to the old adage that wearing white after Labor Day is a fashion faux pas up there with wearing socks with sandals.  But why? And more importantly, does it still apply? There are a few theories about the origin of this strange fashion rule.  One suggests that it might have been born out of function. Before the days of air conditioning, white attire was cooler to wear in the dog days of summer because it reflects the sun. Another one is pure snobbery. In the early 20th century, Americans who set the fashion trends were the same ones who could afford to depart the cities for the summer months. Safe in the county, far away from the urban grime, they wore white simply because they could. Keep in mind that nobody in their right mind wore white in the city back then.  It was far too dirty. In fact, if you look at photos from the early 20th century you'll see people dressed in dark clothes, so wearing white became a look of leisure. Labor Day traditionally marks the end of the summer, which, for the well-heeled, meant returning to the city and forgoing their white country clothes. The Don't-Wear-White-After-Labor-Day thinking spread through the suburbs of 1950 America and it's where we inherited the thinking. However the rules of fashion have become more relaxed since then and fashion designers of today are perfectly cool with you wearing white all-year, even after Labor Day!

SOURCE: Better Homes & Gardens

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