Saturday, September 5, 2009

White After Labor Day? Oh My!

I was at church last Sunday in the social hall wearing my white linen dress, and one of the ladies said to me. “I see you have on your white, trying to get it out of your system before Labor Day. I laughed because, she like me, has heard this practically our entire lives. Particularly, do not wear white shoes before Easter and after Labor Day. In fact when I got up and looked in my closet to see what I was wearing that morning, my eyes landed on the white dress. I said to myself, I better hurry up and wear this because there is only one more Sunday to wear white. In fact, I started mentally calculating the other summer white clothing items I have; three pairs of white pants, dressy and casual, a white summer jacket, a white skirt and of course, white shoes and sandals. I planned my wardrobe for the next few days based on the “Do not wear white after Labor Day” mandate. I know what people are saying. Who follows those antiquated dictates anymore? Where did that come from? I live in California, we don’t follow those archaic rules.

Where did I get it from? My mother. It was not so much said but practiced. Every Easter my sister and I got white Mary Jane shoes and we wore them throughout the summer and they were retired at the end of the season. In researching the topic, it seems that this mandate originated on the east coast where there are definite seasons. White clothing reflects light and makes you feel cooler so therefore you would not wear in the winter. It was also intimated that class issues came into play and the middle class in late 19th century set themselves apart by observing this practice.

Now, evidently, the color, Winter White does not apply to this dictum. Winter White or off white is worn all year round, including the winter. I have a Winter White skirt, dress pants and coat jacket. I wear those all through the fall and winter. It is stark white that the rule applies. Of course white tennis shoes do not count. And of course, white blouses and shirts are worn all year, every day. Evidently, the only people “allowed” to wear all-white consistently are nurses or medical professionals, and of course, church sisters on First Sunday. LOL

Of course, with times being the way they are, people make their own rules and poo poo the idea of anyone suggesting what they can or cannot wear. Here in California, folks make their own attire-wearing rules. Shorts and sandals and sleeveless summer dresses if the sun comes out in January. Some people get downright insulted if someone teasingly chides them for wearing white shoes after Labor Day, and dare suggest they are not fashionably in tune. Relax people, it’s just a saying. Why do I follow this mandate? Mainly, because I always have and as a creature of habit, I’m not going to change this late in the game. I am getting it out my system. Friday, I wore white pants to work, today I am wearing white capris, for church tomorrow I am wearing what I call my Scarlett O’Hara skirt, white of course with white shoes, and Labor Day, my white shorts…….. and then these items will be washed or dry cleaned and then retired until next spring.

Happy Labor Day!


Alvin C. Romer said...

In my lifetime I've heard countless quips, quotes, anecdotes and other sayings passed down from my familial ancestry. The wearing of white, especially I heard my grandmother admonishing my sisters on the subject...which brings me to a point: To what extent do present-day livelihood adhere judicially to those things that were so important to whom it may have concerned back then?

Suffice it to say, I feel that white or any other color would be apropos to those that can wear them well and STILL give good account to eye appeal, charisma and substance -- all of how I judge my eye candy, the wearing of white notwithstanding!

Alvin C. Romer
The Romer Review

Dera Williams said...

Well said Alvin. Thanks for stopping by,

JC Martin said...

I have never been one to follow the rules of clothing and seasons. I will wear the white before Easter and after Labor Day without a second thought. But I've always been the person who sets my own rules when it comes to clothes or anything. I like being different.

Beverly said...

Dera -

I was just thinking about this topic yesterday as I was planning what to wear.
And yes, when I lived further north I followed the rule but I think a lot had to do with the weather. If I went to the Caribbean in the winter - yes I did take my white panrs & such.

Now that I am here in NC - I am going to follow the temperature - if next weekend is hot - I will wear my white (just do not tell my mother)and will keep on wearing until the weather beomes fall like.

ARTRICE's DIRTY 30 said...

Hey Dera Interesting Post.. Thanks for the history. I never knew where the rule came from I just tried to make sure I was aware.

By the way those chicks in the pic are HOT! :-)

Yasmin said...

See...I never have this problem...but only because I don't own anything that's white I have some off-white but like you said that can pretty much be worn year round...although I must admit by the time winter gets here...I'm pretty much wearing black and navy blue every day...and then February I tire of it and start wearing red. ;)

Angelia... said...

I rarely if ever wear white, except first Sundays for communion and we change to winter white or ivory on October 1...traditions...


Love2Write said...

Dera...I didn't know that rule applied on the West cost. I thought it was a southern, Bible Belt ritual. The one thing that I loved about living in LA was that there were no seasonal rules for attire. They wore boots in the Summer, patent leather in the winter, and white when ever they wanted to. I loved it.

But you know what, I've stopped adhering to the rule. I'm going to wear my linen until I get too cold to enjoy it. Now...I'm not brave enough to wear white after Labor Day yet...but maybe next year.

Great Post