Can’t wear white after Labor Day?

Michelle Castano



Ever heard of the saying, “You can’t wear white after Labor Day”? Who came up with this fashion “rule” and are we still following it today? Some people would argue that the proper time to wear such color would be between Memorial Day and Labor Day but never before or after.

Trendy “white parties,” where guests are asked to wear white have become a popular tradition to uphold throughout the three day Labor Day weekend.

Does it really apply to South Florida where it feels like summer 90 percent of the time? I think not. It is known that the color white attracts less heat as opposed to the opposite color of the spectrum, black. In fact, 305 basketball team, The Miami Heat is referred to as the “White Hot Heat,” because let’s face it, the heat combined with the humidity down here is no joke.

Let’s backtrack to the late 1800’s through the early 1900’s era. The Civil War era, I would say is where this “can’t wear white after Labor Day” rule was first instated. Basically, the old money women wanted to find a way to distinguish themselves from the “vulgar” new money women. So in their inner circle, they decreed a set of fashion rules. One of them stating that one could not wear white after Labor Day rule. When a woman would wear a fancy white dress to a gala between September and May, the new money society would know that such “fashion victim” was new money.

Some women including Coco Chanel rebelled against such guideline and wore white all year long. Just like Chanel, I wear white when and where I want to. I also feel like this is more of a Northern concept, where people actually get to experience different seasons. There is only one season in South Florida, and that is summer. I mean, we basically could wear sandals all year long.

While I do favor the dark tones due to its slimming factors (black is the most favorable), I don’t want to be restricted by a set of rules. I already follow road rules, etiquette rules and even an unspoken set of societal rules. The last thing I want to do is follow a set of antiquated fashion rules created by a set of “snobbish” women.

Photo: Model showcases head to toe white outfit. Photo courtesy of

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