Wearing white after Labor Day is a historical fashion faux pas with a muddled past.
According to TIME magazine’s Archives editor Lily Rothman, the rule may have come from early fashion magazines reflecting editor’s clothing. Another theory, she said, dating back from the early 1900s comes from ditching primarily white summer vacation clothes when coming back to the city to work in a more formal environment.
Regardless of its origin, once considered improper etiquette, refraining from wearing white after Labor Day is now an outdated style rule.
Let these celebrity looks inspire you to break the winter white stigma and wear the shade all year through.
50 shades of white: The foundations of Rihanna’s outfit—the skirt and button down—are primarily darker, canvas-colored shades of white. The colored stripes make the off-white ensemble more seasonably appropriate. She took the white-after-Labor-Day-outfit to the next level by pulling the bright white in the cuffs and collar of her shirt and wearing bright white, closed-toed pumps. With a lower slit and a higher neckline, this look would be good for a fall work outfit or to wear out to dinner.
Matching separates: Those embarrassing matching sets you were forced to wear as a kid have made a powerful comeback this summer. No doubt the trend will transcend seasons and white matching separates are a perfect way to rock it. The next few days are supposed to be August hot in Philadelphia so there’s no need to put away your white A-line skirt and matching top just because Labor Day has come and gone.
White tuxedo or a white blazer: Menswear for women is another trend that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere fast. Worn as a tuxedo for women, this trend can be done in white to make a slightly less formal statement. Stella McCartney winterizes the look with dark shoes. With a toned down shirt and close-toed, muted pumps, the look can be worn to work. At the same time, Angelina Jolie wears an off-white blazer. Done with any color underneath, a blazer is the perfect way to rock white in the cooler months that follow Labor Day.
Two for one: This year an unlikely pair made a strong retail resurgence: a pair of overalls. Jenna Lyons wears slightly oversized white overalls with a dark coat and bright shoes for a daringly cool aesthetic. This look works for almost any weekend activity. Dress it down with colorful sneakers or flats to run errands. Dress the look up with bright-colored pumps and a colored, slim blazer for a night out.
The shirtdress: Even after Labor Day, people are never told to put away their crisp white work button down shirts. Rock an oversized shirt as a dress (or just get a shirtdress) with a heavy kimono-style cardigan, tights and boots for a darling, casual outfit you can wear anywhere from class to an autumn brunch.
White hot date night: Last October Kim Kardashian wore a white lace corset top with a matching, knee-length skirt for her 33rd birthday. The outfit draws from the matching separates trend and, with a faux fur coat, perhaps, would be a great winter date night ensemble. The lace almost resembles snowflakes and the pieces can be split up to wear at different times. Rock just the top with high-waist jeans, boots and a coat for a casual day out. The skirt (if it’s not too tight) can be worn to work or church.