Wearing White

When is okay to wear white during the year? It is an issue that has been debated for many, many moons.

Growing up, I was taught the rule – you only wear white from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Thank you Grandma. That is forever embedded in my head. We all know I am a rule follower, especially Grandma’s rules.

However, my daughter insists it is now okay to wear white anytime of year. I will never forget that December day she came downstairs in white skinny jeans, and I told her she couldn’t wear them because is was not within the summer timeframe I was always taught. She looked at me like I was crazy and wore them anyways. Hence, the question – when is it okay to wear white???

In an effort to educate her, I googled it. Here is what I learned.

The tradition began back in the 1800s, and its origins are a little cringe-worthy. As Marie Claire reports, the rule was invented in the 19th century by an elite group as a way to use fashion to separate those with money from those without. When the summer was over, affluent people would leave the city for warmer vacation spots. Wearing white represented that you could afford to get out of the city and vacation elsewhere when summer ended. 

Since Labor Day typically represents the end of summer, a “rule” was established that you should not wear white after Labor Day if you didn’t have the money to take fall and winter vacations. 

Wearing white was also used as a way to identify those who needed to work and those who didn’t. Those who didn’t have to work could wear white because it wouldn’t get dirty, while those working would wear dark clothing to hide the dirt they’d pick up working or walking through the city.

I have since done more research and polled friends. Most of my friends were taught the same thing – white can be worn from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Another friend said she was taught to wear white from Easter to Labor Day. However, everything I am reading now says that rule is old and wear white all year round (which I know pleases my daughter to tell me she was right).

I know wearing white brings from joy. Maybe I will try to break Grandma’s rule and wear white any time of year.

xoxo, Jane Anne

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