Tuesday, September 9, 2014

White hot after Labor Day

Lily & Sparrow dress & necklace / J. Crew scarf (Tory Burch version) & bracelet (I like this one) / Anthropologie shoes (great for pairing with whites) / Express bracelet and stack (similar) / Michael Kors watch / Madewell ring

Can you wear white after Labor Day?

I probably hear this question the most, particularly around this time of year. My official answer? Yes. Kind of. But yes. 

Wearing white after Labor Day is totally possible, but it's all in how, where, and when you wear it. One of my college art professors always said "You can break the rules, but you have to break them beautifully." I think this describes the white dilemma perfectly. Here are some of my tips for wearing white from Labor Day to Easter without creating a major fashion faux pas. 

1. Temperature
If it's a warm enough week to be in the months of June-August, you're probably ok. If you saw me wearing this dress on an 80 degree day in September, would your first thought be "(gasp) she's wearing white after Labor Day"? If the answer is no, it's most likely safe to white out.

2. Date
If the temperature uncharacteristically soars to 80 degrees in December, this dress wouldn't be the first thing I would pull out of my closet. A couple weeks past the first Monday in September and it's still 80 degrees, I think you're in the clear, but tread carefully and read on.

3. Outfitting
You can take your whites further into the season by pairing them with darker colors or heavier materials (coming up next). I do believe "winter whites" are hard to pull off, but I think they can be done quite beautifully. Wearing white denim with an ivory sweater is a gorgeous look, but be sure to keep the look cool by choosing a nude bootie over a sandal, and maybe adding a dark lip, or a scarf with deep tones (as shown). My open toe wedge works here because it's still September, but swapping it out for a bootie a month from now will not make this dress work because...

4. Material
Lightweight whites in the cooler months do not work, or are much much harder to pull off. I would not wear this dress in October. Paired with black tights and boots would definitely be a no. Denim is a little easier because it's a heavier weight material. Pairing it with the thick texture of a sweater is much easier to do than adding black tights to a lightweight summer dress. These rules apply for transitioning a lot of your pieces. Some items can be paired with dark colors and heavier materials if the piece itself can be diversified that way. I am a proponent for stretching your wardrobe and trying new things to extend your clothes beyond one season, but some things need to be left in the season where they belong. 

5. Vacation
If you're vacationing in a much warmer climate, go for it. Rock your whites and soak up the sun.

All of these "rules" work together and should be taken with a grain of salt, because...

Rules can be broken beautifully!

For more ideas on wearing white after Labor Day, here are some cues in InStyle from Hollywood's leading stylists.

Photos by Sarah Howells

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