Why you aren't supposed to Wear White after Labor Day and Why Dallas Does
*last photo by Bret Redman, D Magazine
I'm a born and raised Texan - I have roots here, but also in Arkansas. My mom is from Garland (where I was born and raised) and my dad is from Little Rock, so I have deep southern habits, whether it be the colloquialisms that I use or just weird southern traditions. For example, with Thanksgiving coming up, we eat dressing down here, instead of stuffing, like you northerners ;)
Anyway, one of those traditions is not wearing white after Labor Day, until Easter rolls back around. I vividly remember picking out new white Easter shoes each year, for the sheer reason that we could wear white again! I know that you "can" wear white after winter, but I don't really like to...plus I'm pretty I couldn't especially with how my Grandmother felt about it! Now, this year is a bit different, as I am getting married at the end of the month. I will have to wear white. SIGH. I guess it's a sacrifice I can make ;) Side note - I do love cream and winter white, just not stark white in the chilly months! See my thoughts on how to wear white in the winter, here!
The other reason I have worn white after Labor Day and actually did last year too, is because of Diner en Blanc Dallas! It's a dinner that originates in France, but this is the second year we have had one here in DFW! Basically you sign up to attend and on the day of the party, you hop aboard a bus, with a table, chairs, and your food, and you travel to a secret destination. Oh, and in all white! Head to toe, baby. There's a dance floor, and a dj, with yummy a la carte food and drinks you can purchase, if you run out, or just want something different. There's a signature napkin wave at the ringing of a bell, and best of all, fireworks! It's a really great time, so if you ever have the chance to attend, please do! So yes, Dallas wear white after Labor Day for Diner en Blanc, but they also do a little bit into September, as well, because it is so hot. And, well, Dallas is Dallas.
Okay, so back to the whole not wearing white after Labor Day...what did it stem from? In two words? Social Status. Picture yourself in a time when there wasn't any air conditioning and lots of layers were worn, no matter the weather outside. Can you imagine wearing a bunch of skirts in the Texas heat? I cannot. Anyway, so first of all, white was worn to keep cool; however, you could immediately tell how well off someone was, because their whites were not dingy or dirty. So while it was cool (literally) to wear white in the summer, going into the fall, it didn't make sense. There was no need for it. BUT white fabric is super cheap. No color or dye is needed, so not only did it work for summer months, but it was affordable to everyone. Remember the people with the bright white clothes due to their wealth? Well, what's the point of not wearing white - if you actually need to stay warm, and can afford other colors of clothing, then why not? Wearing white after Labor Day became a sign that you were unable to afford new clothes, in different colors. It separated the peasants from the princesses, for lack of a better analogy.
Today, the same thing still exists, but in different ways. IE school uniforms. Part of the reason my schools never had uniforms in any grade level (pre college), is because most people couldn't afford the necessary clothing, and if they could, it would be like 1 set. The whole point of uniforms is to make people look the same, but if you have someone wearing the same shirt every day, they definitely won't look the same...I digress. Do I agree with the reasoning? No, not really. It's mean to purposely separate yourself from others regarding money issues. Will I wear white after Labor Day? No. The chances are very slim. In Dallas, we are still hitting 80 degree highs, so I'll admit, it's a little toasty, so white kind of still makes sense. I can let that slide, but if you pull out your skinnies that look like you have had them use Crest Whitestrips, I'm probably going to roll my eyes and say "why"? Also fabrics like seersucker and linen are a no-no then too. Again, could probably get by with some early September wearing, but otherwise, the vibe of those clothes, just don't match the season. You feel me?
I feel like people think they're "sticking it to the man" by wear crisp white after Labor Day. If you look at history, that's not really the case. I mean I guess you kind of are because you are taking away a barrier that used to be put in place? But these days, you can't judge a book by its cover or a person's wealth by what they wear. Do I care if you don white after Labor Day? No. Just because I'm not doing it, doesn't mean I think you're weird for doing what you want. And no, I'm not just going to change my mind, because some magazine tells me I can now. For me it's more about heritage, remembering my family, getting new Easter shoes. It makes me smile.
Did you know the real reason for not wearing white after Labor Day, before this post? Do you take part in wrecking this age old tradition and sporting white after the cutt-off day? Let me know what you think!
Like what you read? Click here to subscribe and receive every post in your inbox!