Winter Whites: Why You Don’t Need to Follow Your Grandmother’s Rules

2.20.2014

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We all know the rule. “You can’t wear white after Labor Day. It’s tacky and tasteless.” Breaking this rule used to be one of the most well-known fashion faux pas of the last century. The rule is rumored to originate from wealthy aristocratic women in the early 1900s attempting to distinguish themselves from people who weren’t worthy enough to be in their social circle (like a Jenny Humphrey, obviously). In order to do this, these women made codes and classified them as etiquette norms, kind of like what The Plastics did in Mean Girls. (“On Wednesdays, we wear pink.”)

Nevertheless, we all know that rules are meant to be broken. This rule has seen resistance even from others in the fashion elite since early on. Coco Chanel was known to have worn white year-round as it was a permanent part of her wardrobe. In simplest terms, this rule just doesn’t matter anymore.

Although the rule of not wearing white after Labor Day can be broken, there are, in a way, rules on how you should wear white after Labor Day. First, it needs to be weather appropriate. There are many white lace short summer dresses out there — don’t wear them during the winter. There are ways, however, that you can convert more summer or spring appropriate clothes into a winter closet. The easiest way to do this is by layering. One can mix different sweaters, vests and jackets of knits, wool, leather, etc., to keep warm. The trend also includes more than just plain white. Mixing different shades of white, whether it is eggshell, cream, beige, and even light grays can work. On top of this, you can add white jewelry, whether bangles, earrings, necklaces and rings. Being able to layer effectively is a style skill that everyone can benefit from.

Another reason why white is great — because it naturally evokes a style that is minimalistic. Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Simplicity is white’s essence. Due to this, it is able to have a longer “closet life,” and can be worn year-round depending on how you wear it and what you wear it with. It is a color that can adapt through all seasons.

This trend has been spotted all over the runway, including Creatures of the Wind and Alexandre Herchcovitch‘s fall 2014 ready-to-wear collections.

Now, instead of looking tacky, you can wear white and look sophisticated and chic in an effortless way. If you need more inspiration, check out our Pinterest board or look how we styled winter whites.

For day time:

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For night time:  

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-Kate Watson & Erika Reals

Model: Lana L’Heureux

Photography by Bethany Hughes

Styled by Kate Watson & Erika Reals

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