I hear it so often. Clients will tell me that they are putting away their white clothes following Labour Day. Or how they are reluctant to invest in white attire, fearful that they won't be able to wear them past the summer months.
Well folks, you do not have to follow this classist rule anymore!
“The most important relationship in your life is the relationship you have with yourself.”
- Diane von Furstenberg
I wouldn’t consider myself a rebel, but when it came to this rule, I never followed it. In my younger years, I wore white year-round because it made me feel good and brightened up my wardrobe. I spent my hard-earned money curating my wardrobe - and I wanted to enjoy it. Once in a while, someone would even remind me of the "rule". My issue with this belief was that for many years, I hadn't heard an argument against wearing white that was convincing or that made sense. It was said matter-of-factly, with absolutely no explanation. And, like most people, I like a good explanation!
The history of this “rule” began in the 1800s. The old money elite (the ones who grew up in generations of wealth), used this rule to elevate themselves from the nouveau riche (newly wealthy). The old money crowd made it a fashion faux-pas to wear white after Labour Day. They did this to keep the others out, while the nouveau riche followed it as a means to show that they knew the rules.
Furthermore, families who could afford to travel during the colder months wore white as their vacation attire. This signalled to others that they came from wealth. And those who generally stayed in the city, dressed in darker clothing during the months after summer. White clothing was to be retired after Labour Day, and only re-introduced following Memorial Day.
So, Can I Wear My Whites All Year Round?
I say YES! Fashion is about self expression, and if it makes you feel good and is weather appropriate, then enjoy it. Just remember to pay attention to the following 3 tips for the colder months:
FABRIC: Avoid linens, thin dresses and fabrics that are too light or summery. Silk is fine if you layer with it. Stick to thicker fabrics like knits and denim.
MIX UP THE LIGHTS: This is a great time to pull out your other shades. Consider cream, ivory and beige as part of your outfit. Just make sure that the weight and texture of your fabrics pair well together.
LAYER IT ON: Many pieces can be worn transitionally throughout different seasons. Layering your clothing is not only economical but also fashionable. Capsule closet owners, you know this. Use your summer pieces wisely and extend your summer wardrobe: wear your favourite tank top or blouse to the office with a cardigan. Dress up your white pencil skirt with a thicker sweater on top and knee-high boots, or pumps with thick stockings instead. Consider the balance of fabrics, and you are good to go!
And remember, wear what you love. Because when you feel good, you look good.