STYLE & BEAUTY
11/08/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Why Shouldn't We Wear White After Labor Day?

Instead, other historians speculate, the origin of the no-white-after Labor Day rule may be symbolic. In the early 20th century, white was the uniform of choice for Americans well-to-do enough to decamp from their city digs to warmer climes for months at a time: light summer clothing provided a pleasing contrast to drabber urban life. "If you look at any photograph of any city in America in the 1930s, you'll see people in dark clothes," says Scheips, many scurrying to their jobs. By contrast, he adds, the white linen suits and Panama hats at snooty resorts were "a look of leisure."

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