Labor Day: 5 things you probably didn't know about the end-of-summer holiday

2. No shirt, no shoes... no white?

  • close
    After Labor Day, this would be a big "no-no." The piece is by Joaquin Sorolla, a Spanish painter.
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

You’re not supposed to wear white clothes after Labor Day, but hardly anybody knows why.

Laura Fitzpatrick relates multiple stories behind the bizarre rule in a piece for Time. One theory is that people wore white in the summer months to keep cool, but put it away customarily in the fall when the rain delivered mud (and stains). But this, she says, is far too logical a history for any fashion trend.

A more probable theory is that white was a symbolic color: those wealthy enough to "decamp from their city digs to warmer climes" did so, and they wore white on vacations to force contrast with the dark attire of urban life. So white garments represented leisure, and as a metaphor for summer they were stored in the closet when fall jobs and schooling began.

Some etiquette enthusiasts rebuff this tale. "There are always people who want to attribute everything in etiquette to snobbery," says Judith Martin, American journalist and authority on manners and style.

2 of 5

Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK