Why We Stopped Wearing White After Labor Day and How It Began
At the Jersey shore and throughout Central Jersey Labor Day signals the unofficial end of summer (The official end is September 22) and the day we are supposed to stop wearing white.
Taylor said, “I can trace it back to essentially the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era. So that’s the late 1890 to 1900s. And, like so many trends, they began in the elite circles in New York City.” She added that those elite city-dwellers had the money to vacation at the beaches all summer long.
But they didn’t have shorts or tank tops to beat the heat, so they would wear white clothes to stay cool. Once vacation was over, they returned to wearing darker attire in the city because the dirt and grime would stain their white clothes. Wearing white was also a status symbol and because the wealthy put away these clothes, those not of their class took notice and began doing the same.
“It snowballed into this edict of style when it was always one about practicality,” said Taylor. “If you look back at publications at the time, there was no official edict. There was no official statement saying, “Do not wear white after Labor Day.”
Still, this idea persisted and fashion influencers say this tradition has long overstayed its welcome. Lifestyle and etiquette expert Elaine Swann says, on the basis of etiquette rules, this notion to stop wearing white after Labor Day “does not have a place in the 21st century.”
She suggests that you, “Wear white, have fun with it. Select the color that works best for your skin tone and even for your environment.” She says that she wears her white skinny jeans and other white clothes year round, and highly recommends that you do as well.