The History of Wearing White

BY: Eugenia PUBLISHED ON: Wednesday, September 14, 2016 IN: Fashion

Fashion History, Wearing WHite
Who mandated wearing white after Labor Day is a fashion faux pas? When I started to research the history of wearing white, I found little in writing regarding this no-no of sporting the color after the first Monday in September.

Fashion History, Wearing White

Perhaps it was a petty distinction initiated with the snobby upper class looking to establish their golden rules of fashion.

Fashion History, Wearing White

It was the norm for wealthy families to leave their urban dwellings and resort to beach homes or residences in the mountains to escape summer’s hot temperatures.  I bet it was then that it was decided to adopt a summer dress code.  White outfits became associated with summertime leisure according to Time magazine.

Wearing: Target Who What Where Collection Long Fatigue Vest, Banana Republic fringed top, J. Crew Pant, Boden Suede Slide with 2ChicDesigns calf-half clutch.

Wearing: Target Who What Where Collection Long Fatigue Vest, Banana Republic fringed top, J. Crew Pant, Boden Suede Slide with 2ChicDesigns calf-half clutch.

It makes sense from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the summer months call for wearing lighter fabrics and colors. I look forward to wearing lighter and breathable cotton fabrics like Seersucker, Eyelet, Linen, Chambray, and Madras.

Labor Day didn’t become a federal holiday until 1894.  Perhaps it was then the fixed boundary that you didn’t cross wearing white started?  Thank God times have changed, and this imagined fashion commandment is more relaxed when it comes to wearing white.

The seasonal shift in fashion is effortless.  Anyone can refer to blogs, magazines and online conversations about what to wear and how to style specific trends especially now with not so fall-like temperatures.  The transitional dressing makes it easy to ease into darker colors and fabrics but not completely abandon white.

Fashion History, Wearing White

Fashion History, Wearing White. White After Labor Day? Yes or No.

Let’s answer the question, White After Labor Day?  Yes or No?  Countless designers, stars and most everyone else prove that white is suitable after Labor Day say yes.  White is a year-round color, so embrace it this fall/winter with changes in fibers/textures like cashmere, wool, denim, mohair, flannel, silk, and leather.

Ladies, we don’t want to observe antiquated fashion rules that would keep us from being modern women.  How do you wear white after Labor Day? Please do share.

Have a fabulous and stylish week??



  • Glenda Harrison

    In California, the rule never quite made sense. White is worn throughout the year. As it should be.

    • Glenda,
      Yes! You are fortunate that you can wear white or whatever you want all year long with the great weather in California. Thank you for stopping by The Age of Grace.

  • I know fashion rarely follows function but I wonder if it may have started with that there was no air conditioning and white was mainly worn to beat the summer heat. It would have probably been hard to keep it clean, with a lot of streets not being paved. And practicality gave way to a rule with two arbitrary dates thrown in. I first suspected that the dress doctors may have had something to do with it since they loved rules. However, i couldn’t find anything in my book about it. So there’s my 2¢ as they say.

    • Terri,
      Hi! I always appreciate your 2¢. It looks we came to the same conclusion, nothing in writing about wearing white after Labor Day. At our age, we are going to wear what we want right?

  • YES and NO to rules in general. Comfort is key! Love this stark white contrasting so well with the deep olive vest and leopard clutch. Bold and stunning! And the shoes, love them! Interesting history too, it is always intriguing to think about where a trend comes from!
    xx, Elle

    • Elle,
      Yes and No to rules in general, I like your response. I do enjoy when I learn something new when doing research for my posts. Thanks for stopping by Elle.

  • Pam Crenshaw

    I’m not sure if I do it on purpose or that I’ve been doing it so long that it has become a habit but…I tend to stop wearing certain whites after Labor Day. For instance I don’t wear white shorts after LD or any sheer white dresses or pants. But I will wear my white jeans way into September. As I’m typing this I have to admit that it doesn’t really make sense to me. So I’d have to admit that somewhere along this life my mind told me to do this and I’ve just stuck to it… ??

    • Pam,
      It sounds like you have a great sense of style as to what works for you. Like you said, sometimes the rules just don’t make sense.