A few weeks ago I posted an online question about whether you should wear white after Labor Day. Many chimed in an almost unanimous “yes!” so now I ask, what about once the season of fall has officially arrived? Today is that day as it’s the first day of autumn but where I live the temps are in the upper 90s and even 100s still, so pulling out the parkas just isn’t happening. It’s just so hard to even think about fall clothing right now and equally hard to not keep wearing what I’ve worn since March.
Fall is my favorite season. I love all things autumn, including the cooler but not really cold weather, football, soups, Thanksgiving, and fall fashion. I’m not a big Halloween girl so black and white together aren’t my palette, but what about white? Is it still okay to wear?
I’m here to say YES, it is!
Thankfully, as is always discussed over Labor Day, the antiquated rule of no white after Labor Day is rarely followed to a T much less tee-shirt. Those up north and in the mountain west probably do so much more than anyone else, in their case it’s more about the weather than the season. In the south and desert southwest, you’re likely to see white shorts and white sun dresses nearly 12 months a year.
Those who came up with the arbitrary “no white” dress code are likely rolling in their graves as they see the rule not being followed, but it was created many moons ago and its origins are as modern as its purpose.
Come to find out, it all came about because upper class ladies of leisure in the late 19th century were wearing thin on the nouveau riche. So, they decided to formulate a secret fashion rule that would single out old money from new money in a much manipulative manner. Any woman seen wearing white after Labor Day was considered anything but high society or the real deal, regardless of her pocketbook.
If that’s not reason enough to say pooh-pooh that the rule, consider the fact that none other than Coco Chanel famously wore white year round. What would the fashion world be without her signature cream colored tweed jackets?
In the past, those who had money considered white “vacation wear,” as they’d put on their white linen and crisp cottons as they vacayed in tropical destinations. Once Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894, those linen suits and white dresses were packed away for the season and replaced with a more cool weather wardrobe as the new holiday signaled the end of summer.
But, when you live where it’s almost always hot and you rarely see anything close to cold weather unless you travel to it, it may seem like the summer never really ends so why put away all your summer clothing? Well, you don’t have to. But, there are still a few fashion tips to keep in mind.
When choosing what whites to wear and which ones to put away until next spring, think fabric and shade.
Lightweight fabrics do indeed scream summer, so many opt more for heavier fabrics such as cashmere and even jeans. Yes, this is difficult to do in warm climates, so maybe just aim to lean somewhere between white wool and white eyelet. If a bright white still makes your fashion mamma cringe, choose cream, ivory, or off-white. Nothing is cozier than a yummy winter white chunky sweater, cream cashmere pashmina, or ivory pants, or a winter white coat.
Personally, I draw a thin white line when it comes to shoes. I generally don’t wear white sandals or summer wedges once fall has arrived, although if the event calls for them I might wear them a bit past Labor Day. What I will sport on my feet is a pair of cream driving mocs or loafers.
When all else fails regarding fashion dos and don’ts, look no further than Vogue magazine. Anny Choi, Vogue market editor, says long-sleeved dresses, knitwear, boots, jumpsuits, tailored denim, and bags are the perfect way to add wintery white to your wardrobe. Wrap a cozy cashmere sweater over a dress, throw on a pair of booties or over-the-knee boots on with a maxi or midi, or simply carry a chalk-colored bag. She also says to avoid a head-to-toe whiteout wardrobe at all costs.
I hope this helps clear things up and helps you decide what to wear and what to put aside for the season. And unlike the above photo of the stunning Jenna Dewan in an equally stunning black-and-white Zuhair Murad ensemble, just remember that nothing is ever truly black and white.