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The History Behind The “No White After Labor Day” Rule And Why You Do Not Need To Follow It

Andrey_Arkusha - stock.adobe.com - illustrative purpose only, not the actual person

In just under two weeks, people around the nation will be putting their sundresses and denim shorts into storage while dragging their chunky knit sweaters and scarfs out for another fall season.

But, do your white pants and skirts really have to go? According to the age-old “Labor Day rule,” they do.

Nonetheless, after learning about the true history of this rule– which is actually quite classist– you may choose to flaunt your cream-color pants and ivory skirts all year round.

“You Can’t Wear White After Labor Day”

During the late nineteenth century, high society ladies reportedly created this “no white after Labor Day” rule as a means to separate classes. More specifically, the people with money versus people without.

“It was insiders trying to keep other people out,” said Valerie Steele, the director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

In fact, wearing white after labor day was actually an emblem of wealth in the 1800s– because donning an ivory wardrobe meant that you could afford to vacation outside of the city after the scorching summer months passed by.

So, the rule essentially emerged as a way to distinguish between those who had the money to travel in off-peak months versus those who did not.

“And if you look at any photograph of any city in America in the 1930s, you will see people in dark clothes,” explained Charlie Scheips, the author of American Fashion.

Andrey_Arkusha – stock.adobe.com – illustrative purpose only, not the actual person

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