Every year around Easter the fashion magazines start the age old debate. Do you have to wait for Memorial Day to wear white or can you wear it anytime?

So how did this, “No white before Memorial Day or after Labor Day” fashion rule start? According to fashion reporters, it began in the 1930’s with the ultra-rich wearing only white in the summer. Light clothing gave the look of leisure, while dark clothing was mostly for working people.

This idea expanded in the 1950’s among the middle class. GRITS (Girls Raised In The South) held to this hard and fast rule of no white before or after Labor Day. Some say it’s a southern thing, because it’s so hot in the south.

According to Bronwyn Cosgrave, author of The Complete History of Costume & Fashion: From Ancient Egypt to the Present Day, fashion rules are meant to be broken by those who can pull it off, notes Cosgrave, and white "looks really fresh when people aren't expecting it."

Browsing online, here are some tips about wearing white.

Don’t Go Overboard

Wearing white head to toe really should be reserved for the heat of the summer on the hottest days. If you are going to wear white in the beginning of Spring, when the temperature outside is still chilly, pair it with another one of the season’s hot colors like magenta or turquoise.

Consider the Fabric

Fabric choices are the most important when pulling together a season-friendly (and stylish) outfit. You would never think of wearing a white parka in July; likewise, don’t wear your white linen trousers in the fall or winter. Make sure that the fabric you are wearing is appropriate for the time of the year and the temperature outside.

The Weather Matters

Even if the calendar says June but it happens to be snowing where you are, it is not OK to wear white linen pants and a white silk cami. The style of clothing needs to be in-sync with the season. Yes, people will laugh at you if you wear your white Bermuda shorts in Michiana in January - even if it is unseasonably warm.


It’s your choice. But nearly all fashion experts say there is one hard rule of thumb - never wear a white dress or outfit to a wedding unless you’re the bride!

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