Life is full of really hard questions: “What is my purpose?”, “What is the meaning of life?”, and maybe the most daunting of all, “Can I really wear white after Labor Day?”.
Before we answer this question, let’s have a quick history lesson on this old “fashion rule”. In the mid-20th century, the fashion editors and trendsetters were mainly focused in big city areas with northern climates and seasons. For the fashion savvy, reserving white clothing for the summer months originated out of practicality. People dressed much more formally and conservatively, so there were no t-shirts, spaghetti straps, and short-shorts like we see today. Cranking up the air-conditioning also wasn’t an option back then, so wearing light-reflecting white garments in the summer was simply a way to stay cool. When the seasons turned, no respectable fashionista would want to expose their delicate and lightweight summer whites to the damp and chilly fall weather. Only heavier fabrics in darker shades would make up their fall and winter ensembles. This seasonal trend was reflected in the pages of top fashion magazines, such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, which allowed it to spread across the country and solidify as a fashion “rule”. Other historians speculate that this “rule” came about for more symbolic reasons: Those who were wealthy enough to vacation to beaches and tropical climates could also afford an alternate wardrobe for these trips. Most city worker’s uniforms were dark colors, while the resort-wear of the wealthy would be a contrasting white.
No matter what the real origin of the Labor Day rule, the fashion world overwhelming approves of breaking it! Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks to making white RIGHT after Labor Day!
Yes to White Jeans: Your white jeans can pull double duty this fall/winter! Remember when styling white or cream jeans that it’s important to pair them with seasonal pieces. Try layering them with cozier pieces, like oversized sweaters and tall boots or booties. Think of them as one piece to your fall ensemble puzzle, and all the other pieces need to be distinctly for fall or winter.
The Easy Winner: If you want to add a staple to your winter wardrobe that you know will be instantly chic and classic, get a winter white peacoat. It might seem more fashion forward than other darker hues, but you’ll find that it coordinates beautifully over many different ensembles! Invest in a quality coat so it can last more than one season. Trends may come and go, but this piece is a timeless hit.
Mind Your Material:One of the most important guidelines to wearing white in the fall or winter months is choosing the correct fabric. Stick with heavier and richer fabrics: cashmere, faux fur, mohair, flannel, wool, silk, suede and leather. Stay away from inherently summery materials such as white eyelet, linen, canvas, and seersucker. No matter what the color is, clothing still needs to be seasonally appropriate!
Blend Textures and Colors: If you’re wanting to tame a white piece, try pairing it with richer hues and even layering textures. Colors like burgundy, camel, navy, plum, and charcoal gray are classic pairings with winter white and creams. Blending white with other neutrals (beige, cream, pastels, light gray, etc.) is another chic pairing, as long as the look has texture. Layering textures can make white seem more cozy. Warm-up inherently cool neutrals by choosing big knit sweaters, suede booties, leather, wool coats, soft scarves and even white denim.
Winter White: You might be wondering, “What is winter white, exactly?” It has a touch more warmth to it than stark white. It’s in the same family as ivory; think of it as ivory’s paler cousin. It’s more flattering for most skin tones and less harsh than “white white”. Ready to be bold and beautiful? Go for a head-to-toe, monochromatic, winter white ensemble. Keep it chic with an overall silhouette classic with clean lines.
Let’s face it, some rules are just meant to be broken. I hope these tips help you rebel in style!