Wearing White After Labor Day- Acceptable or Punishable?
If there's one thing my mom drilled into my head other than "sit up straight," "chew with your mouth closed," and "enunciate," it's that I should never, ever wear white after Labor Day.
As the years go by, a lot of my mom's rules have changed and she's started to go lax on a few things, but the no white after Labor Day rule is one she won't budge on. I know this remains true because I called and asked her about it last weekend and my mama isn't budging on her stance. No white after Labor Day.
Growing up, there were a lot of things I don't understand about "mom's rules" (I know she wasn't the one who made the no white after Labor Day rule, but she made it a rule in her house) and the answer to my "why?" was always "because I'm the mom, that's why," but that wasn't enough for me and even though I'm a grown adult, I still want to know why. And so, I decided to do a little digging and what I found about not wearing white after Labor Day was pretty interesting.
For thousands of years, people who live in the desert have been wearing white as a way to cool down. Even here in the United States, in the days before air conditioning, people wore white to stay cool in the hot months, however, once the weather cooled off, the white colored clothing was put away and heavier, darker colors were brought out.
While weather seems like the most logical reason to wear white, I uncovered a bit of snobbery that appears to have really been the driving influence behind not wearing white after Labor Day. In the 1800's when hoity toity weren't spending their time lounging around, practicing piano or "calling," they'd sit around and make up ridiculous rules so that society would know who was and wasn't wealthy.
Yes, social shallowness really has been around forever.
After the civil war, more and more people became millionaires and it was difficult for society to tell the difference between which people came from old money and which came from new. So by the 1880’s, a bunch of ladies (whose corsets were obviously tied a little too tight) decided to make up a bunch of completely ridiculous rules that those who were "anyone" had to follow. One of those rules was not wearing white outside of the summer months. Oh, and the ladies decided that wearing white should only be allowed at weddings and at resorts.
Wearing white for a wedding makes sense, but what’s this about resorts? Well, it used to be that only rich people wore white and they only wore it during the summer months. The rich would escape the oppressive heat of the city by visiting luxurious resorts. Poor people couldn't afford to go to resorts, so they sulked around in dark clothes. God forbid a poor person don white clothing and act like they were rich and at a resort. Gasp!
Many believe that the "rule" of not wearing white after Labor Day started with a group of snobbish women but somehow managed to stick and trickle down through the years. By the 1950’s, it was pretty much a general rule followed by all.
So there you have it. Makes you want to be a rebel and wear white after Labor Day, doesn't it? Me, too.