Thursday, September 8, 2011

White After Labor Day - What's in a rule?

There are many fashion rules that were hard and fast years ago but have been modified or are now completely ignored for modern fashion.  Some of the ones I think of immediately are:
  • Match the color of your handbag, belt and shoes.
  • Never wear black and brown together.
  • Always wear panty hose or stockings, no bare legs.
  • Never wear white after Labor Day.
Obviously, the first three have been obliterated by fashionistas everywhere. It's funny because I still occasionally hear the fourth one repeated.  It is believed that the rule came about many years ago based on society and class structure. People who were financially well off, spent the summer months in tropical climates and wore white to stay cool.  Those who worked in the service industries, in many cases wore white as a uniform. The wealthy didn't need to wear white after Labor Day to stay cool and this differentiated the wealthy from others. I don't know why this fashion rule is still even mentioned.  There is no basis for it any longer.  I think there are lots of great ways to wear white after Labor Day. My favorites are...

Rock Winter White (or Cream or Ivory)
One of my favorite fall and early winter coats is a winter white Dana Buchman trench that I purchased quite a few years ago. Because of the classic style and color, it has been my fall and early winter, go to coat for many years. In spite of the the dry cleaning bill, I still love it and will for a long, long time. I also love a soft cashmere cardigan or long winter coat in off white or cream.  Winter white gives a look of polish, and richness.  

Princess Catherine

White Dress Shirt, Anytime
Every season is appropriate for a well fitting white dress shirt. I prefer a staple that has a bit of men's wear influence but let's face it a great white dress shirt, no matter the styling, is never out. You can wear it to work, with a great pair of jeans or cut offs, even to a black tie event with a fancy skirt.

Clockwise From Left: Carolina Herrara, Ali Larter, Rachel Bilson, Ivanka Trump, (bottom center)

Choose One Great Piece
A beautiful skirt or jacket in a creamy white can take you anywhere. They add sophistication to any look. The color can be paired with anything and will look fantastic. Any silhouette will do.  Menswear, tuxedo or cropped, draped, pencil, or full and flowy. Pick a piece that suits your body type. You can also never go wrong when pairing your white piece with black.  Classic!

L to R: Kim Kardashian, Kate Beckinsale, Emma Watson, Daisy Lowe, Katie Holmes, Kate Moss

Add Colorful Accessories
By adding bright and statement accessories to a white coat, pants or top, it breaks up the look and can allow you to add something that brings your white into the fall or winter.  Throw on a scarf, add a colorful bag or shoes and a statement necklace.

Victoria Beckham

Put Away Summer Fabrics (opt for more structure)
Bright white items in lightweight fabrics like linen and eyelet aren't the best choice once fall is beckoning.  They look out of place. If you want to wear a transitional piece from summer, try a jersey knit that could be combined with a sweater or jacket in a heavier fabric. If you want a piece with less structure, try one that leans more toward cream or ivory.  Personally I prefer tropical weight wools and structured cottons for fall.

The answer to the question is yes, you can definitely wear white after Labor Day.  Mix it up, find ways that work for you. Try heavier fabrics and ivory hues instead of bright white.  Make it your own. 

Do you wear white after Labor Day?

A few notes...I'm sorry that I've been missing for a few days without a word. I've spent the last five days with my Mom and family.  My Mom celebrated her 70th birthday on Thursday and she came to visit. I really enjoyed my time with her and my family and a little bit of a break from technology.

Thanks to my friend Shawn for suggesting this post!

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