These days, our seasonless approach to fashion says there’s nothing wrong with wearing all white after Labor Day. The lighter shade helps make long workdays feel brighter, and it’s a smart method for transitioning your summer pieces over to fall — that way, you don’t have to stow everything away just because the temperature is dropping. But the “no white after Labor Day” rule is still widely searched and remains a curious concept, even though it has long been cast aside.
This has only been confirmed by the ivory, cream, and milky-white separates stocked prominently on the pages of online retailers through the end of summer, paving the way for monochromatic dressing in the shades even once the heat subsides. And we have plenty of easy style tips for taking the look from summer to fall, even though it may mean trading in your open-toe sandals for pumps, platforms, or sneakers and adding extra layers and dark accents in the form of belts, bags, and other accessories.
Ahead, we shed light on the background of the whole “no white after Labor Day” rule, then provide some optimal outfit ideas for debunking any myths you’ve heard that say white is still solely a seasonal color.
Why Can’t You Wear White After Labor Day?
The “no white after Labor Day” rule can be attributed to its most basic purpose — that lighter fabrics are reserved for warmer months, whereas we start pulling out darker tones and thicker materials when temperatures drop. But historians also speculate that in the early 20th century, wearing white was a symbol of high status and wealth, representing a well-seasoned traveler who could afford to flee the city for vacation in the summer ahead of returning to work in September. “It [was] insiders trying to keep other people out, and outsiders trying to climb in by proving they know the rules,” Valerie Steele, director of The Museum at FIT, told Time. While other etiquette buffs deny the rule’s connection to signifying any sort of elite reputation, it has certainly been disregarded today, as white is a shade appropriate for all wardrobes through all seasons.