Wearing White After Labor Day

Wow…two years since I last blogged!

As fall quickly approaches and summer becomes a distant memory…many are reminding us that it’s time to put away our white clothes until Easter (or is it Memorial Day?).

I used to follow this “rule” and I remember the first time I broke it.

I took a modeling class at the local mall when I was in high school. I had no delusions that my 5’3″ not model skinny frame would bust open the doors to short, curvy girls everywhere hoping to grace the pages of fashion magazines and strut up and down  catwalks. I took the class because they taught fun stuff like make-up, hair, and fashion. Something else they taught that none of us were aware of, self confidence. At the conclusion of the class (sometime in March) we were all going to be in a fashion show in the middle of the mall where friends, families, and strangers would watch us strut up and down the catwalk in the Dillard’s Spring Collection. The clothes were provided but we had to wear our own shoes. My outfit required a pair of white Sam & Libby bow flats. I had wanted a pair of these shoes since first seeing them in Seventeen (to this day, my heart still flutters when I see the Sam & Libby logo). So I made my way up and down the catwalk without tripping or falling and while holding my head high and remembering to smile. The following Monday, I wore my new Sam & Libby’s to school. A classmate complimented my shoes and added that she also had a brand new pair, but her mom wouldn’t let her wear them until Easter.

Since then, I’ve broken the rule hundreds of times but every time I was aware that I was facing a fashion taboo and wondered if I would be confronted, questioned, judged, or *gulp* murdered (remember “Serial Mom”)!

A few years ago, a fashion blogger I follow reiterated this rule and swears by it in her own life, claims not to pass judgement on those who break the rule, but clearly has a small window of acceptable exceptions to said rule. Around the same time, right after Labor Day, some colleagues and I were discussing the rule and they had either never heard of it or thought it was stupid and didn’t follow it.

So I began wearing white after Labor Day regularly and the fears of confrontations, questions, and judgement began to fade, but they were still there…a little.

Well, Labor Day has just passed and once again, I approach my closet with the “should I” or “shouldn’t I” questions when it comes to my beloved white pants. This year I was determined to completely squelch any and all lingering fears of judgement by others. I decided I needed arguments for breaking the rule and I came up with a great one. Why are we putting away a pair of pants we wore just yesterday when the weather is exactly the same today and will be the same for the next however many weeks? If we suddenly had a 20 degree day in the middle of summer would we not don our sweaters and wool coats just because they’re not meant for summer? I felt empowered and I wore white pants with confidence at least five times last week!

But then, a little sneaky bit of guilt crept in and I decided I needed another argument. I began reading online articles about the rule and support of not following it and I found my mother of all arguments…Coco Chanel didn’t follow the rule and white was often a staple in her wardrobe no matter the season. The clouds parted, angels sang, and I was completely free from all guilt and fear. I saw a shining light in the cracks of my closet doors, when I opened the doors, it was all the pieces of white in my closet, looking just a little crisper and a little brighter, no longer shouldering my shame.

What am I wearing today? Black slacks and a black/off-white printed blouse. It’s a lovely outfit, work appropriate, and weather appropriate. Did the shame get me again as I chose what to wear today? No, not at all, it just so happens I wore white so much last week that all of my nude panties are in the laundry 😛


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