I tried really hard this morning. I really did!! I even pulled them out and told myself it was ok. No one would really notice. I even looked down and in the mirror and thought they are really cute and go perfectly with what I am wearing. But I just couldn’t do it. Couldn’t even walk out of the bedroom. I knew. What you say? Why these:
Yes, it is still a month until Memorial Day and I just can’t wear white shoes! I had to pull out my cream ones and I felt soooo much better!
I am sure you are probably rolling your eyes or wondering what I am talking about. Yes, it is one of those archaic etiquette rules that is pretty much a thing of the past. You don’t wear white before Memorial Day or after Labor Day. You could wear white tennis shoes or cream, ivory, winter white clothing or shoes. Maybe even get away with a white blouse under something else. But that was it.
No one is even sure exactly where this rule came from. Some say from snobbiness.
The wives of the super-rich ruled high society with an iron fist after the Civil War. As more and more people became millionaires, though, it was difficult to tell the difference between old money, respectable families, and those who only had “vulgar” new money. By the 1880s, in order to tell who was acceptable and who wasn’t, the women who were already “in” felt it necessary to create dozens of fashion rules that everyone in the know had to follow. That way, if a woman showed up at the opera in a dress that cost more than most Americans made in a year, but it had the wrong sleeve length, other women would know not to give her the time of day. Have you read The Help!? It is totally all in that book.
Not wearing white outside the summer months was another one of these rules. Wearing white in the summer makes sense. Desert peoples have known for thousands of years that white clothing seems to keep you a little bit cooler than other colors. White was for weddings and resort wear, not dinner parties in the fall. Of course it could get extremely hot in September, and wearing white might make the most sense, but if you wanted to be appropriately attired you just did not do it. Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894, and society eventually adopted it as the natural endpoint for summer fashion.
Whatever the origins of the idea, restrictions on people who wear white after Labor Day appear to be outmoded except in very traditional society such as the deep south
In warmer areas of the United States, such as Hawaii and Florida, white is also a more acceptable color to wear year round, since unfavorable winter weather is not as much of an issue.
. The rule has been greatly relaxed since the 1950s and 1960s, when it was more heavily enforced
People who choose to wear white into the fall are no longer criticized for the choice. In fact, only a few of us die hards even notice it and we don’t care what others do anyway.
But here is the thing. To me this represents elegance and refinement. You could just see the classiness and graciousness exuding from people. You just look at some of those people who so embodied this feel. Jackie Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Princess Di.
Got to love the gloves!!
Even Paul and Joann looked classy when they were being goofy!
I mean, even today wouldn’t you rather sit down with Kate Middleton than sprawl out with Miley!?
I guess I am just bemoaning the fact that more and more, good manners and etiquette are going out the window. The foundation of etiquette is basically behavior that is accepted as gracious and polite in social situations. Good manners can mean the difference between success and failure in many aspects of life. Remember when we use to be appalled by Honey Boo Boo?
And now Swamp People are just what we want to be!
Now don't get me wrong! Those who know me know I spend most of my time in jeans, sweatshirts, fuzzy socks and farm shoes. But I like to think I remember a little about refinement as I am shoveling the stalls. Oh well, think I will sit down , put my feet up, read Manner for the Modern Southern Belle and just wear my go to white shoes!