In an ancient fashion rule, I suppose, we’re not supposed to wear white after Labor Day which I guess we’ll just extend it to after the month of September. It was a rule, not a law by any means of course, but still a rule that the fashion world followed a lifetime yearsssssssssss ago. Why? Here’s a current explanation from VOGUE Editor Elise Taylor.
Why Can’t You Wear White After Labor Day?
It is a truth universally acknowledged that you can’t wear white after Labor Day. But why? It’s a fashion rule that has been parroted by grandmothers, general interest magazines, and teenage mean girls for generations, as if it’s a statute that society has always abided by. Break it and—the horror!—you’re committing a sartorial sin.
As with so many American fashion edicts, though, its origins can be traced back to the elite of the Gilded Age. Every summer, they would decamp from the crowded, sweltering city to cooler places by the ocean, such as Newport or Southampton, for the entire season. Packed in their trunks were wardrobes of white.
It was a practical choice, above all: back then, it was wholly inappropriate to wear tank tops, shorts, or mini-dresses even as the temperatures soared. White, which reflects light, keeps the wearer cooler. Plus, linen—a popular, breathable fabric especially for suits—usually came in neutral tones.
The emergence of sportswear also played a role: in the early 19th century, tennis became a popular co-ed sport among the moneyed classes. Wearing a white uniform had been a tradition since 16th-century France, where the nobles wore it playing indoor jeu de paume. In fact, in 1877, London’s Wimbledon Club made it a strict requirement for their players. Why? White masks sweat—which, at the time, was considered extremely unseemly to show, especially in the presence of the opposite sex. For those reasons, it also became popular with leisure sports like cycling: many women adopted a shirtwaist ensemble that involved white—or a long skirt paired with a feminine blouse—which allowed for easier movement, as exemplified most memorably in John Singer Sargent’s 1897 portrait of Gilded Age socialite Edith Minturn.
Then, there was a class element at play: white didn’t show sweat, but it did show dirt. To wear white was a subtle way of showing you weren’t doing the landscaping, cooking, or cleaning—or, well, manual labor at all (SOURCE)
Thankfully, not many people adhere to that rule anymore. Nahhhh, we’re going to wear white after Labor Day and you can’t stop us. So, here are a few white looks after September from a few of my favorite celebrity fashionistas. Get inspired and wear that white proud!
Anne Curtis in Vania Romoff ruched top and long skirt during the latter’s new collection fashion show. (October 2023)
I love how Liza Soberano wore a white jacket over her blue turtleneck maxi dress while in Italy with friends Nadine Lustre and Sofia Andres. (November 2023)
Liz Uy in monochromatic blazer over shirt and trouser look paired with sneakers while in Singapore.. (Nov 2023)
Nadine Lustre serving two all-white ensembles. A trench coat over white turtleneck top & trousers while in Italy with friends and a romantic look while casually lunching al fresco in Paris. (Nov 2023: 1, 2)
Pia Wurtzbach in FENDI during the Serpenti event in Singapore last week. (November 2023)
Taylor Swift in GANT Mulberry Street oversized coat over white flouncy dress paired with Sezane python loafers while in NYC after a very successful(and romantic) Eras concert in Argentina. This is such a perfect Fall outfit using blue and white with the python shoes. (November 2023, INFOS)