Dog Park Tragedy and History of White After Labor Day

Today, at the dog park, a lovely white dog just came running over and jump!

So much for wearing white after Labor Day.

Why is it taboo to wear white after Labor Day?

Short Answer :: It really doesn’t matter, anymore.

Long Answer ::

Actually no one truly knows when this started.

Academic and history tend to lean towards snobbery in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Before this … barely anyone wore white, if at all.  Why? It was hard to clean. Even wedding gowns were not white.  White was considered the color of mourning before 1840.

In 1840 one 21-year old political rebel to change all that, Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria shocked her wedding guests by wearing a white wedding gown at her nuptials in 1840.

Since Queen Victoria’s rebellious act, the Godey’s Lady’s Book wrote: “Custom has decided, from the earliest ages, that white is the most fitting hue, whatever may be the material. It is an emblem of the purity and innocence of girlhood, and the unsullied heart she now yields to the chosen one.”

Before this event people remained isolated to their class.  After a great global economic boom a larger middle class developed and the final residue of serfdom erased with capitalism it opened the financial gates to a create a new class of wealth, “vulgar new money”.

It was hard to tell the difference between “old money” and “new money”. Everyone looked the same in social settings.

Those cheeky “old money” wives had a solution. In order to decipher who was acceptable and who wasn’t the “old money” wives created rules of fashion, which “anyone in the know” had to follow. That way, if a woman showed up at a social event not following the rules it was known instantly where she “truly belong” and was immediately ignored and socially shunned.

One of these rules included when to wear white clothing. It was acceptable for weddings and summer months. Once September came alone it was back to darker colors.

In the United States, Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894, and “high” society eventually adopted it as the natural endpoint for summer fashion.

Even though the rule was originally enforced by only a few hundred “old money” women, over the decades it trickled down to everyone else. By the 1950s, women’s magazines made it clear to middle class America: white clothing came out on Memorial Day and went away on Labor Day.

Not everyone followed this rule including fashion icon Coco Chanel, who wore white year-round (seen here).

These days the fashion world is much more relaxed about what colors to wear and when, but every freaking year you will see the internet flood with “white after Labor Day” stories, all thanks to some snobby millionaires over 100 years ago.

So go ahead and wear white after Labor Day, simply avoid salsa, spaghetti, salsa and of course dog parks.

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