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Ask a Man: Is it ok to wear white after Labor Day?

September 28, 2010

Dear Dustin,

I am curious, can I wear white after Labor Day? I don’t want to be a “fashion don’t.” I have noticed women wearing white after Labor Day. What about the rule?

Thanks!

-Manuela, 57; Madison


Manuela,

To answer this question, first we must study the origins of this fashion rule.  From what I could find, this rule was founded by the upper class of the early 20th century.  The well-to-do would leave the cities en masse to head for a much warmer climate, where reflective whites were worn to keep cool in the heat of the sun. Wearing white was a status symbol and meant you were wealthy enough to escape the city for a warmer climate.  Labor day being the official end to summer, meant it was time to hang up your summer whites and return to the city to don your warm winter attire.

These days, I think this rule is falling to the wayside, much like the mixing of brown and black or black and navy. Obviously wearing white linen pants in the frozen tundra is not advised. One way of mixing white into your fall/winter attire is wearing white jeans, or try a white wool sweater with dark jeans. For a fashionable look found at Macy’s, try this great white cardi.

Lately, people seem to follow the rule “if it looks good wear it.”  Look at Lady Gaga, who would have thought that a raw meat dress was high fashion? She’s got me thinking about making a chicken cutlet tuxedo!  Well, maybe not.

Readers, if the clothing you’re wearing makes you feel good about you, wear it with pride. We make our own rules now.

-Dustin

Send your questions to stylefileman@gmail.comPlease include your age and city.

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