What's the deal with White after Labour Day?

Fashion Considerations aside, I have seen several references to “Never wearing white after Labour Day”. Does anyone want to explain why someone would say “Never wear white after Labour Day”.


Or before Easter. It is a fashion consideration. It is not as rigid today as in the past.

The idea is that white is a summer color, and darker colors are for the winter months. It makes no sense whatsoever down here, though.

If not fashion, then what else is left to consider? The only other reasons to wear clothing are for protection against the elements and social modesty. Since color has nothing to do with protection against the elements and you can be quite modest in white coat, it’s all about fashion.

It’s stupid, too. Wear whatever the hell color you want. :cool:

The last time I saw the reference was in a somewhat recent McCleans. It was the one with a picture of a Gay couple standing in front of Niagra Falls. One of the letter’s to the editor in a following edition went on about Gay marriage, then at the end the women said: “You never wear white after labour day” so I was wondering if there some some meaning beyond just summer/winter colours

Because(for anyone with fashion sense) it looks toally horrible to see someone wear white after labor day. (although those who have no fashion sense wont notice you, and they wont notice you wearing stripes and plaids together, nor your black purse with your white shoes either). Watch the movie Serial Mom for other possible repercussions.

Well, other reasons beyond fashion, protection against the elements and social modesty include authority, power and identity.

Strips and plaids clash and create an effect unpleasing to the eye. Virtually anyone – regardless of what you call “fashion sense” – can see this.

Objecting to white after Labor Day is entirely an arbitrary reaction and only those who have been trained to object to it will. Nobody anywhere thinks, “Wow, that white they’re wearing really clashes with the environment, since it IS after Labor Day after all.”

This is one rule that even the esteemably rational Miss Manners (Judith Martin) has hung on to despite having no rational whatsoever. I’ve often wondered if she does this as joke (since she’s very funny and pretends to all sorts Victorian affectations for the sake of humor). I also thought this only applied to women’s shoes. Or is that a different rule?

I meant rationale obviously (second line). Not rational. Sorry.

Wasn’t there a commercial where some supermodel dismissed the myth of white after Labor Day? Kathy Ireland, maybe?

I thought it wasn’t the case so much in warmer areas, such as the South, where we can wear shorts into November and pull out the sweaters maybe twice in January.

And yes, I will wear white whenever I damn well want to. So there. :stuck_out_tongue:

No, you’re half-correct: the actual rule is “no white shoes after Labor Day” (or before Memorial Day, IIRC). That goes both for women’s and men’s shoes (though there are few men left who wear white buckskins as summer casuals anyway). According to Miss Manners, sneakers (trainers for our cousins across the pond), tennis shoes, and bridal wear don’t count.

So you can still have your nice winter white outfit in wool or silk crepe or such for November, as long as you’re wearing it with dark accessories (which you probably would prefer anyway). Or a white fur coat if you’re that sort of person, or a white down ski jacket if you’re the other sort. The idea is to rule out for non-summer wear the light summery fabrics (of whatever color, not just white) which are generally thought to go best with white shoes, but which according to traditional fashion dictates are unsuitable for other seasons.

I agree that although this rule makes a certain amount of sense in climes where the non-summer seasons tend to be chilly, muddy, snowy and generally shoe-staining, it’s hard to justify it in places that have summer all year round.

More to the point, why does Miss Manners care at all? If I wear black shoes and a brown belt (one of the few men’s fashion no-no’s I’m actually aware of) am I being rude or merely unfashionable? Are white shoes any different? Granted, there is some overlap between fashion and etiquette. Wearing a suit and tie to the beach may be merely laughable, but wearing a tank top and flip-flops to a Roman Catholic High Mass is disrespectful. Wearing an overcoat or hat in a home, workplace, or classroom is (still!) considered insulting, because it implies either a hostile environment or the desire to leave quickly. Weaing a mohawk and body piercings to a professional job interview actively communicates ones disregard for professionalism. But are white shoes in the winter a deliberate (or willfully ignorant) flauting of social norms, or just another (possibly misguided) fashion choice?

By the way, since it is a U.S. holiday, I think this is one instance in which we 'murkins can insist that it be spelled “Labor Day,” not “Labour Day!”

Wrong, “Labour day” is correct since it is a Canadian Holiday. “Labor day” is the American one.

I would disagree with this. Try wearing a black shirt on a hot summer day outside vs. a white shirt – I assure you that you will notice a difference in how the elements affect you!

This is one of those things that pop up now and again that people repeat, but most can’t explain. The usual answer when you question them is, “Well, you just don’t.”

The wife of a friend of mine fancied herself quite the manners & etiquette expert, but she couldn’t answer this when I challenged her.

Of course, it’s all a matter of personal choice, but some people act like it’s holy scripture carved in stone.

Meh. Bunch of hosers. :smiley:

…or before Easter

'Kay, let’s disagree then. I grant you that if the colors are of the same fabric, then you have a point. Black does absorb light (heat) while white reflects it. However, if I wear a black gauzy shirt and you wear a white polyester shirt, I assure you, I will be more comfortable. :smiley: