How to Style White Pants After Labor Day + Where this “rule” Originated in the First Place!

What do you mean I cannot wear white after labor day? I just bought these pants!? Where did this rule even come from!?!


Based on my research from People Magazine and Charlotte Willis’s post on , this rule is ancient (and therefore irrelevant in 2017???). According to Charlotte Willis, this rule started in the early 1900s. You know, when women were only expected to be house wives and discrimination still existed? Not in 2017, with the world as accepting of differences as it currently is.

Anyways, wearing white meant a lot back in those days. Willis states that wearing white not only signified that you were wealthy, but that you were also on trend. However, Willis  also points out that if you chose to break the “no white after labor day rule,” you would be “talk of the town — and not in a good way.”





Remember to keep in mind that during this time period, people wore much more formal, conservative attire and that there were many strict rules when it came to attire. Keep in mind that they were not wearing tube tops and cutoff shorts in the summer, so theirlayered outfits were hot and uncomfortable.






People Magazine points out that white was appropriate for the summer because it reflected the sunlight and that black was preferred in the winter because it absorbs the sunlight. We all know that this is how colors work and have heard people say not to wear black on hot, sunny days, but this reason alone is probably not enough to convince us not to. However, as People states, there was no air conditioning in this time period so rules like this were more beneficial then they may seem now.



In this first look, I have paired my white jeans with an olive sweater and open toe suede camel booties. To me, pairing this sweater with dark pants during this time of year would just be too dark. Pairing the dark top with these white pants balances out the two without making this outfit look too “summer.”









I also see white pants as a dressier option for events that jeans would not be appropriate for. Personally, if I am going to a nice occasion, I want to wear a dress or skirt. If we are considering the temperature related reasons behind our fashion choices, then showing leg in the winter may not be the best choice. Sure, there are tights, but how warm do they really keep you? I could definitely argue that although white pants reflect sunlight, they will keep you warmer in the winter than a skirt would.

People also shared this quote from Mental Floss writer Kathy Benjamin:


“By the 1880s, in order to tell who was acceptable and who wasn’t, the women who were already ‘in’ felt it necessary to create dozens of fashion rules that everyone in the know had to follow.”


These articles also point out that although the technical reasons for this rule are not relevant today, designers still do not typically include white in their winter color pallet unless it is a “winter white.” The idea of darker, more neutral colors in the winter and brighter colors in the summer definitely makes sense to me, but I definitely do not think that just because the flowers die our closet should too.


Just because winter symbolizes death and ending does not mean that I have to dress like I am going to a funeral. Who is anyoneto say that I cannot pair my brand new Lilly Pulitzer sweater with white pants that make it pop in December?




I get the point that weather is more unpredictable in the winter so styling white may be a challenge, but with the weather radars these days, I do not think this is any reason not to wear white.

I mean, Labor Day is the first Monday in September. At least were I am, the temperature is still in the at least the upper 80’s at this time. I could understand not wearing white after, let’s say, Thanksgiving because it would definitely be colder then. But in September? This is still tank top weather.

People Magazine also believes that this rule is out of date. They end with the best statement I could possibly imagine:

“After all, Coco Chanel was known to wear white as a year-round wardrobe staple, so you who says you have to follow all the rules?”



Tank Top









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