It started out of practicality and became a sign of status. Before the glory days air conditioning, the only way to keep yourself cool was to change your dark clothing to lighter fabrics.1 In the late 19th century, this rule transitioned to a symbol that distinguished old money from new money and the working class.2 White clothing quickly became an emblem of the leisure class; this group did not have to do physical work so there was no need to worry about their white clothing getting dirty from physical labor or wet weather.3 If you were wealthy enough to go away for the summer, you wore white to stay cool, and it wouldn’t be ruined by the city soot.4 Obviously these traditions are no longer relevant; our streets are much cleaner, our buildings much cooler, and usually our social status is not indicated by what we wear.
History of Wearing White
After Labor Day
PHOTOS Lily Cummings
WORDS Sasha Patil
Society has “rules” that dictate what we should wear; one of these is that you should never wear white after Labor Day. But we’ve never been one to follow the rules, and the “you can’t wear white after Labor Day” tradition is so out-of-date that it shouldn't be followed anyway. Read on to learn the history of this rule and why it’s totally passé.
Time and time again, the rebellious troublemakers of fashion inspire us to let go of the moronic rules of the past. In the 1920’s, Coco Chanel challenged this symbol of status by producing a white suit after Labor Day.5 After that, many designers started to challenge the status quo by ditching the tradition within their collections. Brands started moving towards the idea of a seasonless style where pieces can we worn all year without being perceived as so “last season”.
The “rule” that you can’t wear white after Labor day is out of style. It is pointless to conform to this silly “law” of fashion because it is simply irrelevant. Countless designers and fashion icons have proved that white is a timeless and seasonless color, and practically there is no reason not to. So, wear your winter whites with pride! A Grammar white shirt is a wardrobe staple that can be worn every day of the year, and no insane tradition can convince us otherwise.