Even if you’ve heard the phrase, “don’t wear white after Labor Day”, you may not know why or even where that phrase came into play. Labor Day, the holiday celebrating working people, falls on September 1 when it’s still technically summer. But once August 31 falls off the calendar, you may be done with the hot weather and you’re gearing up for autumn. This means packing up your summer clothes, white tops and bottoms included.
But white is still a great choice when the sun beats down and feels like it’s penetrating through the fabric. And white clothing has a long history of being worn all year round. For example, the famous Coco Chanel wore white suits all the time no matter the weather. You don’t have to lock your white clothes away, afraid of becoming a fashion faux pas. Here are some reasons you can confidently wear white clothing no matter the season.
History says white is for the elite
Nowadays, you often choose what to wear based on comfort, weather, or appropriateness for work. Back in Elizabethan times, clothing told the public who you were and your status in society. White was one of the chosen colors of the elite, and others were not permitted to wear this color, alongside gold, silver, black and indigo. Today you can pick your clothing however you like, but due to Sumptuary Laws (laws dictating who was allowed to wear what according to status) you did not have the freedom to throw on your favorite corset and heels and strut out the castle gates. It was deemed important that a distinction could be made among the classes. What you wore told everyone not just status, but moral standards and that you had the money to tell all the difference.
The ancient Egyptians also adorned reliefs (carved pictures depicted on buildings) and the palace where the Pharaoh lived in a variety of colors, white being among popular ones chosen. The clothing that ancient Egyptians wore came from white cotton or linen. Much of society dressed in tunics or single loincloth garments, from the priests all the way to the king. The color white symbolizes purity and cleanliness and was an integral part of the life the Egyptians lived, the rituals performed, and the art created.
Wearing white today
In today’s society, wearing white is no longer a status symbol. There is no sweating at the brow about breaking the law when leaving the house. You don’t have to worry about your royalty status when shopping for short white dresses to show off in at a cocktail party. You can see the color white pop up not just in fashion, but in home decor from chairs and tables to welcoming area rugs. Decorating in white can open up the room and create the illusion of a larger space.
You do not necessarily need to select a pure white color either. There are a few shades to choose from such as ivory, bone white, off-white, and eggshell. Brides have been traditionally seen in white dresses, but more brides are tossing out the idea that white is for getting hitched. As a bride in today’s society you can walk down the aisle in any hue of any color or style that you can think of.
You don’t need to belong to a higher class system to wear what you want or be afraid of arriving at a party in winter wearing white. Any time of year is fine to strut your stuff and feel confident that white is a fashionable choice.