Follow the Fashion...
Designer Coco Chanel didn't give a hoot about the no-white-post-Labor Day rule and made pearly-whites a permanent part of her wardrobe.
The summer is gone. Along with it goes the opportunity of donning the brighter and lighter colored clothes that we're all so fond of. Falling on the first Monday of September, Labor Day is supposed to mark the end of summer. According to historical fashion etiquette, you and me, and the lesser mortals like us aren't really allowed to wear whites on any day between Labor Day and Memorial Day. Thankfully, in this Lady Gaga-age, fashion rules are meant to be broken with unrestrained glee. So not many adhere to 'traditions' as far as fashion is concerned. Labor Day and no white is one such tradition. Let's explore its (apparent) origins.
The first logical reason is that white is a color to be worn in the summer. This is because it reflects sunlight. Dark colors absorb light and in turn make you feel hotter. This same theory can be reversed and can be applied to wearing white in winters. White absorbs the cold and makes you feel colder than what you'd feel in darker shades. So basically, darker shades provide more warmth in winters.
White is one color that gets dirty very easily. Winters are usually wet and cold, therefore anything white can get very dirty and will take a lot of time to clean. This is definitely a logical reason, but logic doesn't necessarily have anything to do with fashion every single time.
Another school of thought believes that this rule was made to 'sophisticate' the nouveau riche crowd. This growing class was not really aware of the culture of the old-moneyed class and were looked down upon, when they wore white clothes for a casual event. This rule was probably made to teach southern migrants the dressing etiquette of those times. Can this really be a reason?
This thought was strongly opposed by Judith Martin who is popularly known as 'Miss Manners'. She said that, "There were many little rules that people did dream up in order to annoy those from whom they wished to disassociate themselves. But I do not believe this is one of them."
Another explanation behind this rule could be symbolic in nature. After Labor Day, the Navy swaps its white uniforms for blue ones. Additionally, the affluent class wore white when they vacationed in the warmer regions during winters. Hence, white was considered the 'color of leisure'.
Did you know...
In a 1994 movie, Serial Mom, the protagonist murders another character as a punishment for wearing white shoes post Labor Day!
Wearing white between Labor Day and Memorial Day, therefore, is no longer a social crime or a fashion faux pas. However, as we all know, old habits die hard. You might think twice before stepping out of your home in your white shoes during winter. After all, you cannot completely ignore the practicality of this rule.