Can You Wear White After Labor Day? Here's the History Behind It

·3 min read

We know, the summer just started–and trust us, we're not trying to rush it—but Memorial Day has passed, and Labor Day will be here before you know it. The federal holiday celebrates American employees and unofficially marks the end of summer. But before we usher in the first day of fall, we've got some inside tips to keep you ahead of next season's fashion curve.

We've all been warned about the fashion faux pas of wearing white after Labor Day. Well, we're here to tell you that some rules are meant to be broken. Seriously, it’s a thing of the past! In fact, wearing white clothes year-round is quite on-trend. Take it from the Pioneer Woman herself: "I'm not big on seasonal fashion rules ('no white after Labor Day,' for example)," Ree Drummond says.

Photo credit: Erik Isakson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Erik Isakson - Getty Images

Why can't you wear white after Labor Day?

So, what's the history behind this out-of-date decree? It's actually more interesting than you'd think. According to the Farmer's Almanac, the concept of not wearing white after Labor Day started in the 19th century as a way for the upper class to separate themselves from the working class. Some historians say brighter clothing was worn by affluent groups who could afford to leave town for a warmer coast when the leaves began to change. Subsequently, it became socially accepted that those who didn't have the money to take fall and winter vacations shouldn't don white after the last summer holiday. Another reason? Laborers typically wore dark clothing to hide the dirty evidence of a hard day's work. Meanwhile, the wealthy didn't have to worry about staining their white clothes. (You learn something new every day, right?)

So, how do you wear white after Labor Day?

Long story short, this arbitrary fashion no-no is now a go! So, instead of retiring those whites when the temperatures start to drop, embrace them! Here's how to do it in style:

Mind your fabrics.

As much as we love a breezy linen piece, it's just not practical for those cooler months. When wearing white in winter, you'll want to stick to thicker fabrics like cashmere and knits. And one of the best ways to wear white throughout the year: denim outfits! A pair of white jeans is a summer classic but can easily be styled with boots for the fall.

Shake up the shades.

White doesn't have to be, well, plain white! As autumn settles in, neutrals will become your best friend. Instead of sticking to a stark white palette, add beige, cream, and ivory to your outfits for a warmer, cozier look. And don't be afraid of a pop of color! For example, a bright red scarf or rich purple hat can transition your white outfit from summer to fall.

Layer it up.

Speaking of outerwear, try donning white in jean jackets, sweaters, and cardigans! Layering isn't only functional, it's also fashion-forward! So if you're looking for the simplest way to make your ensemble a bit more seasonably appropriate, this is it. Extend some of your summer favorites, like a white tank or shirt, by adding a blazer or coat on top. You can even throw on a plaid flannel shirt for a cozy fall feel!

Just have fun!

The number one rule of wearing white after Labor Day is to have fun with it! You look your best when you wear what makes you happy—that's the Pioneer Woman way!

While you're here, check out these brand-new items from The Pioneer Woman summer clothing line that you can wear season after season. (Hint: they're all white!)