Dear Manolo: Day of the Labor

September 2, 2011

Labor Day is this weekend. I’m confused about the rule that prohibits the wearing of white after that date. Where does it come from, and why should I pay attention to it? — Miranda

Manolo says it has been two or more years since anyone has asked the Manolo about the white shoes and the Day of Labor, the fact that the Manolo takes as evidence of the final death throes of this old rule.

Its origin lies in the ancient history of Edwardian America, when lightweight suits, hats and shoes in light colors became the preferred summertime clothing of the leisured. When the summers ended, these casual clothings were put away, and black and brown were resumed.

To have several suits of seasonal clothing was considered the mark of refinement, hence it became the rule to which the socially elevated rigorously adhered. White in summer; black and brown the rest of the year.

Now, of the course, we live in the vastly more crass and materialistic culture, and clothing is cheaply made. The rich and famous are distinguished not by their sartorial refinement, but by their outrageous televised antics.

And so the Manolo’s rule is wear what you desire, as long as it is well-made and appropriate to the occasion. If the weather is hot, and you are dining on the patio, wear the white shoes even if it is late September.

Here is the Just a Little Knotty Wedge from Lilly Pulitzer ($178, Zappos), not exactly white, but still the fun and flirty post-Day of Labor rule breaker.

Comments
Show Comments
Most Read
Next Story
Vicky Hallett · September 2, 2011