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The Blue & Gray Press | August 21, 2019

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White after Labor Day: still not okay?


It is that time of year again: the National Football League (NFL) is back, yellow school buses dot the streets and the pumpkin spice is back at Starbucks.
Though the weather still has not gotten colder, all signs show that fall is coming, and Labor Day weekend is over.
Accompanying these changes, the old adage of “no white after Labor Day” makes its annual return to conversation.
The exact rules about what is and is not acceptable after the end of summer break are confusing.
Some fashionistas say white dresses and jeans are okay, but white shoes must stay on the rack until Memorial Day.
Others say the only white things allowed once the pools close are pearls and diamonds.
Historically, white was worn during the summer months to mark the escape of wealthy families from the dirty city to their bucolic summer homes.
Less well-off individuals could not afford to leave the dirty city in the summertime, and thus never obeyed the “rule.”
The wardrobe change became customary in the 1950s when housewives followed all rules set forth by Miss Manners and her contemporaries.
It even makes practical sense that one would wear less white in the fall and winter months than in spring and summer because light colors do not absorb as much heat as dark colors, thus keeping one cool from May through August.
However, in Virginia, and states further south, the summer heat and humidity stick around until October and sometimes into early November.
“Winter White” has become a hot topic, especially after Michelle Obama wore a gorgeous white Jason Wu gown to the 2009 Inaugural Ball.
White jeans are now a year-round wardrobe staple, worn cropped in the spring and summer, and skinny and tucked into boots for fall and winter.
“Wearing white after Labor Day is always criticized, but I think that if worn right and not too overdone white can be worn well into the fall,” said junior art major Tanner Roe.
It would appear that in 2013, “no white after Labor Day” is no longer written in stone.