It’s something that’s been discussed at length, tossed to the wind and scorned. Wearing the colour (or shade if you’re picky) white after labour day is seen as a fashion no-no. But why? And should we as ladies and gents concern ourselves with this?
The origins of the rule seem to all repeat the same thing. White is a summer colour, intended to lighten the weight of your clothing and to reflect sunshine. Historians and those who study etiquette also say that this aversion to white after labour day is again one of those rules created by the social elite to keep others from climbing the social ladder.
Personally, I think that it may have something to do with the beginning and the end of the wedding season. The rule in its entirety is quoted as saying no white after Labour Day or before Memorial Day. As A Canadian who doesn’t have Memorial Day on her calendar, I had to look this up. I found out that Memorial day is the last Monday of May, and that soon after June begins. In wedding superstitions, there’s a poem that says “Marry in May and you’ll rue the day”, and May was a month dedicated to summer orgies. (Which if that floats your boat go for it, absolutely. But is there a connection between a union between two people and regreting the day you were married because everyone else was celebrating polyandry? Maybe I’m looking too far into it…)There’s another saying that says “Marry when June roses grow, over land and sea you’ll go.” Which sounds much more adventurous and steadfast than “ruing the day”. There’s even a song about getting married in June from one of my favourite movie musicals “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”. Is there a connection between June being the percieved beginning of wedding season and white being worn more often?
Regardless as to its origins and my speculations, is this a rule worth following?
I say, absolutely not. Fashion is a wear-what-you-want kind of industry, regardless as to who tells you otherwise. Absolutely, if you don’t want to wear white after Labour day you can do so. It’s cold, it gets muddier, don’t get your nice white chinos or shoes mucky. Rain can also put a damper on things, and pretty white sundresses may not be the ideal for the unpredictable coastal weather. However, if you’re still kind of wary of this particular rule, bend them a bit, by using less white in your day to day outfits. And think layers. Fall is probably my favourite fashion season, just because I get to wear lots of layers, and thus lots of different pieces of clothing.
And for the Ladies
So go to it! Defy this petty etiquette rule and wear what you’d like when you’d like. Just be careful around spaghetti in your whites…