In honor of Labor Day, I wore white pants yesterday. And last night, I threw them in the laundry basket to be washed and put away until Memorial Day. Because all Southern girls were taught not to wear white after Labor Day.
Now I realize this is a fashion decision that has decidedly fallen out of style. Everywhere people are saying this old fashioned idea should be put to rest. I can’t count the number of fashion bloggers who are declaring this tradition dead. The fabulous Stacy London suggests wearing winter white. Even the writers for the imitable Emily Post have chimed in to say the tradition is past its time.
Stacy and Emily’s desire to end the tradition did give me pause. But it wasn’t until Tim Gunn chimed in that I had real heart palpitations. When asked if wearing white after Labor Day should be allowed, he said:
“Oh absolutely! All those rules need to go away. All of them, absolutely. In fact, winter white is stunning, it really is.”
Now y’all, I love Tim Gunn. I absolutely adore him. I got to know him on Project Runway and fell in love with the way he tells it like it is when needed but also loves on the contestants when he senses a breakdown in process. Plus, his fashion advice is classic and classy. So to hear him say this rule I’ve known, loved and lived by since I was a mere babe should be tossed into the garbage heap of fashion history is disarming to say the least.
As much as I love Tim Gunn, even his words of recommendation aren’t enough to get me to pull out my white pants from the summer storage bin. The tradition is too ingrained in me to toss completely. I spent the first 35 years of my life in the South where I was trained not to wear white pants or shoes after Labor Day; not sure a few blog posts or words from a fashion mentor can drive that training from my brain or heart.
That Southern training goes deep.
So no matter what my fashion and etiquette gurus say, my white shoes and pants will be safely stored until next May. At which point, I’ll pull them out, dust them off and say, “Summer already? Man, time flies.”