All White Now

Post by TM

Around this time of year, the start of autumn, you often hear mutterings about not wearing white after Labor Day. It’s a fashion rule I have always wondered about and never quite understood. Why shouldn’t one wear a certain colour after a certain time of year? Isn’t ‘after Labor Day’ the whole year up until the next Labor Day? Shouldn’t it be spelled Labour? What the hell is Labor Day anyway?

White Winter Outfit

For those not in the know, Labor Day is an American holiday that occurs on the first Monday of September. The rule about not wearing white after is archaic sartorial snobbery invented by bitchy old Wasps who wanted to differentiate between old and new money. Their ‘reasoning’ was white is a summer colour, and only should be worn at weddings and incorporated in your fancy resort threads. Memorial Day (the last Monday in May) marked the return of white and Labor Day heralded its demise. You clearly weren’t a somebody if you were wearing white in Fall.

White among black
Of course rules are meant to be broken, dahling.

By the 1950s, the rule had been adopted by Hyacinth Bucket types everywhere. Fashion magazines held firm to the practise and encouraged their fashion (and social) concious readers to obey. Betty Draper would have definitely smacked Sally around the ear if the younger had dared don white before June.

It’s idiotic, obviously, and luckily those of us who don’t live in the States need not observe. Saying that, it’s totally out of fashion in the US too but I’m sure there are country clubs everywhere whose patrons had their maid pack their lightest of coloured clothing safely out of sight last week.

It’s true, however, that white is a summery colour and it’s hard to get right in the colder months. It can be done though and those who wear it often look much chicer and bright and daring than their darkly-clad friends.

Winter White with camel coat

While going head to toe white can look amazing, there’s a real threat that you’ll end up looking like one of the Guilty Remnant from The Leftovers. It’s always a safe bet that you add a bit of colour or white’s opposite – black. The monochrome look is always a good bet, but be careful with black shoes or bags that may sharpen the outfit up too much.

White coat black clothes

Of course white coats are extremely pernickity – the slightest bit of dust can instantly grub it up (in a bad way) but if you’re brave and / or not afraid of a steep and regular dry-cleaning bill – a white coat is the perfect winter white item. As demonstrated above a camel coloured coat goes divinely with white pieces.

I have a pair of white jeans sitting in my wardrobe that I haven’t worn all summer, actually I haven’t worn them at all.  They were handed down to me by a friend and I tried them on and they fit but…white jeans are the riskiest leg-wear for a clumsy oaf like me. I am determined to wear them this winter though.

Emmanuelle Alt white jeans
A la Alt

There’s something about wearing white in winter that gives its wearer an extra boost of cool. The only women who wear white in women are women who ooze confidence – they know that they can pull it off. Sure, they have to keep away from the red wine (which we all now is a hard feat in the cold months) and they can’t be near any individual under the age of 10 but by breaking the rules, being creative and showing the straight-laced how it’s done the women in white are the only ones to watch.

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