The “No White After Labor Day” Rule Explained

November 15, 2016
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Maybe you grew up with this rule, or have seen this topic on multiple fashion blogs, but we all know it: no white after Labor Day. And while some of you ignore it and wear whatever you want whenever you want, there are people who uphold and live by this fashion rule. But what’s the deal with it? And why is it a thing? Luckily, we have some answers for your curious mind!

The rule can actually be traced all the way back to the late 1800s to the early 1900s. In effect, it was kind of a byproduct of the American Civil War. When the war ended, the wives of the wealthiest men in society tended to set the fashion trends of what was popular or unpopular. This was also a time of great wealth in America, as more and more people began accumulating excessive amounts of wealth.

However, there were tensions among the wealthy community. Those who were considered “old money,” people who were wealthy before the war, and “new money,” those who had become wealthy after the war, were at opposite ends.

What resulted was women coming from “old money” felt like it was their obligation to set themselves apart from the rest, thus, established that wearing the color white outside of the summer months (before Memorial Day and after Labor Day) was socially unacceptable.

These women were quite stringent about this rule as well, as they refused so socialize or speak to other women who had decided to wear white outside of the specific time frame they had identified.

There have been a number of high-fashion icons, however, who never followed this rule. For example, Coco Chanel, who is one of the most recognizable and well-respected names in fashion, wore white all year round, ignoring this rule.

There have been up-and-coming fashionistas who have thrown this rule out the window, claiming that a lot has changed in the fashion industry over the last 100+ years.

But whether or not you follow this old fashion rule, there will always be people who ignore it or live by it.