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White After Labor Day

Why you can absolutely wear white after Labor Day


You've probably diligently followed the oft-repeated adage to not wear white after Labor Day... but do you know where the rule comes from?

One popular theory is that the decree originates in high society in the 19th century. As more people came into wealth, it became difficult for well-to-do women to distinguish between "old money" and those who had not always been rich. To separate themselves from "new money," the elite began inventing arbitrary fashion rules, so that only those in the know would dress accordingly, and those who weren't in on the secret would be easily identifiable in society. The "no white after Labor Day rule" was one such code intended to remain limited to an exclusive club.

Wearing White After Labor Day

But the rule caught on among more than just those with a perfect pedigree. And there are practical reasons for the trend, too. Breezy white fabrics reflect the heat of the summer sun, while a change in season also calls for heftier knits in darker, richer colors that absorb more light and warmth.

Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel
French fashion designer Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, left, in Paris, France, Feb. 2, 1966. Chanel's wardrobe was predominately white and black, and she wore full white suits year-round. (AP Photo)

No rule is steadfast, and fashionistas in the United States might take a cue from French fashion designer and icon Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, who famously wore white year-round.

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