I think the first fashion rule I ever remember learning was “Don’t wear white after Labor Day.” Bearing in mind, this was in the 80’s/early 90’s, where anything went. Multi-layers of neon push socks, side ponytails, tight rolled jeans. And as I sloshed the electric blue eyeshadow on my lids and searched for my brightest barbie-pink lipstick, I could hear the rule clanging around in my brain. And even my pre-teen self questioned it: why the heck not?
After a bit of digging, I came up with a few concrete answers and a hilarious tale of society snobbery. Labor Day was established in 1894, and there was a societal understanding that it marked the end of summer and thus, the end of summer fashion. As white is typically known for reflecting light and keeping the wearer cool, it was notoriously a sun drenched clothing option.
Back in the day, as is the human tendency, there was a constant class-battle, with the “old money” desperately needing to feel superior to the “new money.” The very affluent, wanting to separate themselves from the nouveau rich, declared white a major (and completely arbitrary) no-no after Labor Day. This meant those in the know would ardently follow this rule and those outside of the circle of trust would not, thus allowing them to have one more reason turn up their noses at anyone wearing white after the first Monday in September, winning an invisible battle of “my money is better than your money”.
Yeah. Sounds like a rule we should totally be following, no?
I love rules. I particularly love the sharp cracking sound they make when they are broken.
As you can probably tell by today’s look, I’ve certainly never played by this rule and LOVE the crispness of white. White in summer, white in winter, bright white, off-white, ecru, winter white – white year round! I admittedly have to be a bit more careful with my coffee (what is UP with the physics of coffee cups that shoot foam out of that miniature opening??), but white always feels like the color of new beginnings.
This stunning white dress was handmade by a recent discovery (read: new obsession): Heart My Closet. Cynthia, owner and proprietress, hand makes each garment to order, to your specific measurements. The minute I saw this 3D ribbon embroidery dress, I was hooked. With 3-4 weeks from order to my doorstep, I couldn’t be more thrilled. Cynthia made her perfectly to my measurements – including my amazonian-long torso – and the hand-embroidered rose detail on the collar is amazing. Her pieces are of incredible quality – made from a weighty cotton blend with a bit of stretch to really hug your curves – and almost any dress can be a swing or pencil shape. This is actually the third dress from Heart My Closet to grace my wardrobe, and each piece is just as impeccable as the last.
If this dress catches your eye, one thing I would recommend is requesting a circle-skirt lining. With this beauty, the lining of the dress was a bit more narrow than the skirt itself, which meant I wasn’t able to fit my fuller crinolines (gasp! horror!). I was able to solve this issue by opening up the back seam of the lining and inserting another panel, but Cynthia is super accommodating and if you ask her when you place the order, she will expand the lining to let you layer those petticoats to your heart’s content.
I hope you’re all having a lovely week. I’ve officially finished the semester (and thus my first year as a new faculty member) and am feeling pretty proud of everything I accomplished this year. It’s hard to imagine this time last year we had just moved from Australia, were living in an empty house with all of our worldly possessions on a shipping container, and I had three new courses to develop in the coming year. And here we sit on the other side of it, tired and a bit weather worn, but right where we belong.
Seemed like a good day to go rogue and wear white…
Lip Color: Ruby Woo