There’s a very deep (and seemingly intertwined) story behind the ol’ adage of “don’t wear white after Labor Day.” Bright white clothing season was bookended by Memorial Day in May and Labor Day in September—the two anti-seasonal calendar holidays that signify the beginning and the end of Summer.
In an internet deep dive, Digg.com seems to have the answers more than Sway, as the site references how high society would race to their Summer homes on Memorial Day Weekend in the 1900’s, swapping their Winter, Fall, and Spring time threads for brighter colors. White was the dominant shade of the threads. Further, as coal miners would only shovel coal for heat during the colder months, they would get to rock white clothing during the Summer, since there was no soot to stain them (read it all here). And we can also blame the fashion mags for perpetuating this clothing stereotype, as many publications still gingerly allude to this invisible fashion faux pas unless they’re daring to be different.
The point is gents, that not wearing white after Labor Day is a moot point.
White pants, white shirts, white sneakers, white jackets, white hats. Do it all, though, not all at once—unless of course you’re in Miami and invited to Diddy’s infamous White Party. But really, in the world of men’s fashion, there are no rules except for keeping it fresh. If you’re struggling with the idea of wearing white during the colder months (and that’s cool, a lot of you might be), here are some helpful tips:
Don’t wear white if you’re certain you will get dirty.
Sure, this can apply to wearing white during any season, but look, sometimes you need a reminder.
There are thicker white fabrics for the colder months, you know.
Sheep are white, so wool is often white. Get it? Heavier clothes in white are available after Labor Day, so if you need a green light, it’s that.
If you’re that uncomfortable, opt for off-white fabrics.
Need a little tint? That’s cool. Cream-colored fabrics are just as awesome.
Try to steer clear of white shoes (outside of sneakers).
During the colder months, especially, this will save you from ruining many pairs of shoes.
Let your personality out.
Wearing white after Labor Day doesn’t mean you’ve surrendered to the anti-fashion norms. It means that you’re unique and should flex your style however possible. Go on, you know you want to.