General Question

girlofscience's avatar

What are the fashion rules for wearing white at different times of the year?

Asked by girlofscience (7477 points ) May 6th, 2009

Everyone’s heard “No white after Labor Day.”

To what does this refer? Shoes, definitely, right? And probably pants. What about skirts and dresses? Coats? Shirts?

And this ends on Memorial Day, correct?

So you are only supposed to wear white between Memorial Day and Labor Day of each year?

Does this change if you are in a warmer environment?

I am going to Southwest Florida tomorrow for a week-long conference, and I’m trying to pack the right clothes. I’ll need a lot of sundresses and cute business-casual outfits.

I’d like to bring this one white dress. It’s short, but a bit dressy. Is this OK to wear since it is 2 weeks until Memorial Day and in hot hot Florida? What about shoes? Can I wear white shoes with it, or do I need to accessorize it with a different color so I can wear shoes that are not white?

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24 Answers

jbfletcherfan's avatar

The old rule of thumb of seasonal white used to be the norm, but I think that’s realxed quite a bit in recent years. To me, it’s not what the calendar says, but more of what the weather is. There is “winter white”, which is a cream color. When we lived in Texas where it was hot much earlier than it is here in the north, we wore white much sooner. If you’re going to Florida, I’d take in consideration the temps down there now. I’d wear the sun dresses only if it was hot enough. Maybe a short jacket over them would be an option.

janbb's avatar

You could go with white at this time of year in Florida. It might be more of a Florida “look” if you wore bright shoes or a flowered tunic or jacket over it. I’ve found that the Florida fashion aesthetic (oxymoron?) is pretty forgiving and that people wear light, bright clothing most of the year.

Likeradar's avatar

It’s totally outdated. Wear white whenever you want, except to a funeral or someone else’s wedding. The only other time I think you should consider following the rule is if you’ll be with stuffy, old-fashioned people who would some reason judge you for it (and only if you care about their opinion).

elijah's avatar

It’s actually a pretty outdated rule to wait until memorial day. Winter white used to be the only acceptable white, but now people can wear regular white at any time of the year. There will be a lot of people who give you funny looks, because most people follow the rule set long ago. The key is to wear the right fabrics in white. You would not wear a white heavy cord when it’s warm, you would not wear light flowy cotton when it’s cold. Your dress is a summer dress, so I would wear it if it’s 75 degrees and sunny. The question about shoes is simple. Never wear matchy matchy stuff. White dress, white shoes, white purse is a clear no no. Try a strappy sandal in leather or any color but white, and don’t try to make your shoes match your purse. Accessories should compliment your outfit without matching.

basp's avatar

Wear whatever you want.

I have seen beautiful white wool outfits that are perfect for winter months and not appropriate for warm weather. I think it depends more on the material, style and occassion

Judi's avatar

Last year Merideth Vierra caused quite a buzz by wearing white before memorial day. The word was that white was the new black and you could wear it any time.

knitfroggy's avatar

I don’t think that rule applies anymore. Don’t let anyone dictate what color you can wear and when. Wear whatever makes you happy and makes you feel good. I’m glad no one tries to tell me when to wear orange…I’d be screwed.

Facade's avatar

Wear white whenever you want.

gailcalled's avatar

If you are my mother, it is between Mem. day and Labor day

If you are me, wear it anytime. I wear only white (and from head to toe) in the garden because I can spot the ticks more easily.

elijah's avatar

@gailcalled It isn’t a faux pas to wear head to toe white for safety while working. If you wore head to toe white while out to dinner at a nice restaurant (where the odds of being attacked by ticks are slim) it would be a different story. Of course if anyone wants to wear white or any color head to toe they are free to do so. It just makes a statement to some that you don’t quite get it, like socks and sandals, or mom jeans.

Judi's avatar

@elijah ; are mom jeans the ones that don’t show my butt crack?

elijah's avatar

@Judi No, they are the ones that practically come up to your boobs.

Judi's avatar

thank goodness! so at the belly button is OK? because I hate having to always pull my shirt down so my butt crack doesn’t smile at the world.

elijah's avatar

@Judi The latest trend (and holding steady) is a longer rise. High waisted can be very flattering, but unfortunately most people who wear high waisted pants have been wearing the same ones since 1980.

Likeradar's avatar

@judi and @elijah Mom jeans ad

Judi's avatar

@Likeradar ; UGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!

galileogirl's avatar

It’s both a color thing and a geographic thing. There are different shades of white and it was considered unfashionable to wear tropical or “bright” white after Labor Day except in tropical climates. This would have been for accessories, dresses or suits. Bright white shirts and blouses were always acceptable. This is still being followed for what we would call “dressy” occasions because in those days a middle class or upper class person always were dressed correctly in public.

It has become acceptable to wear winter white (shades of cream or off-white) in the winter even in colder areas. Even the fabrics were seasonal-linen in summer, wool in winter.

This rule of course never applied to casual clothes like jeans or T-shirts because the well-dressed individual would not wear casual clothing in most social or business situations. Casual or working clothes were a sign of a physical laborer

We have become a more casual society in the last 40 years but it is still a rule followed by some people . When I was in school women and girls wore casual clothes everywhere in the suburbs but when we came to the city it was always dresses, hats and white gloves. Even in school, girls didn’t wear pants and boys didn’t wear jeans or T-shirts.

shrubbery's avatar

I’m sorry, when did temperature indicate what colour you wear? I’m confused.

augustlan's avatar

@shrubbery It must be an American thing… we were all raised on it!

The rule is definitely outdated now, and white is permissible at any time of year, so long as the fabric weight is correct.

galileogirl's avatar

@shrubbery It was a colonial thing to begin with. Most European clothind was heavy, dark layers in thr 19th century but when they traveled to Asia and Africa the tropical clothin became light in fabric and weight.

Dark colors absorb heat and light, light clothes reflect it.

As fashionable European women wore white in the 19th century, American women copied the style.

http://www.fitzhistoricalsociety.org/Images/models.jpg

shrubbery's avatar

Ahaaa, I see, thanks for that, I understand now. I guess I never really thought about it.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

i’ve never seen the point in having colours assigned to seasons. i wear white whenever the hell i want. though i do live in florida and i see that this seems to make a difference, i’m pretty confident that i would continue to wear white at my whimsy regardless of my location

mary1961's avatar

Ignore those predated rules. if wearing white makes you feel good then wear it and who cares what people say

crushingandreaming's avatar

Ugh I wear white all year round so just funk it up.

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