The Story Behind Why You Shouldn’t Wear White After Labor Day

It’s the color of purity. Of angels. Of simplicity. It’s also a color that many fashionistas wouldn’t dare touch after that first Monday of September: white.

But what’s the story behind this faux pas?


It roots back to the late 1800s and early 1900s, or post Civil War era. Around this time, millionaires grew in number, but it wasn’t always easy to tell the people who had old money from those who were newly thrust into riches or gained their wealth through not so noble (or legal) means.


The respectable ultra-rich or high society women wanted to distinguish themselves from those who were new to money or whose millions weren’t obtained through reputable means. And they decided to do this through specific dress code rules that only they would know about, quickly setting them apart from everyone else in social gatherings.


One of the dress codes, for example, might have been to wear a certain sleeve length to an opera. Then anyone who showed up in an extravagant dress but didn’t have the right sleeve length wouldn’t be looked at twice.


The no wearing white after Labor Day rule is one of those rules that these women created to immediately distinguish themselves from the rest of the flock.

Sounds snobby, huh? Luckily, we live in a different era. And the no white after Labor Day rule is just a remnant of one of those century-old rules that women folk played by once upon a time.


So the next time someone tells you no white after Labor Day, you can confidently clear your throat, smile and tell them the 1800s are so over.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *