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To Wear White or To Not Wear White, That’s the Question

By: Cristina Martin

Your entire life you hear you mom say either, “It’s Memorial Day. We can now wear white pants,” or “It’s Labor Day. Gotta put the white pants away.” Well this weekend we face the latter. Many blogs and magazines promote white pants or boots as a favorite during the winter months. So who do we listen to? Mom or the fashion gurus? Let’s investigate a bit further.

After the Civil War there was a rise in nouveau riche. Those who belonged to old money wanted to be differentiated from the nouveau riche since they were considered low class. Old money women set fashion rules within their circle. This way those who didn’t follow were easily identifiable as nouveau riche. Wearing white only during summer months was one of the many rules put in place. In 1894, Labor Day was officially incorporated as a holiday, and society adopted it as the unofficial end of summer.

Naturally, there were society women who told the rule-making society women where they can put their rules. Surprisingly, Coco Chanel was a fashion rebel and wore white all year around. However, by the 1950’s every women’s magazine that mattered scholded women on the fact that white was worn between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Period.  

So it’s 2018, what do we do now? Well, if ask my mother, the answer is a very strict ‘no.’ And how dare you for asking. On the other hand, many women’s (and men’s) publications are telling us to break free from those musty, old rules, and embrace white 365 days a year. I guess you need to decide how traditional you are. If you embrace tradition, then hang up the white pants after this weekend. If you are a fashion rebel, we’ll be eying your Instagram to see just how you pull it off. Hey, if Coco Chanel wore white all year around. That’s all I’m saying.

Happy Labor Day weekend!  

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