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Ever wonder why you’re not supposed to wear white after Labor Day? The tradition goes back to the end of the Civil War, when society was ruled by the wealthy wives of old-money elites. As more new-money millionaires entered society, the jealous old regime invented a whole suite of arbitrary fashion rules that only those in the in-crowd would know. Anyone who showed up to an autumn dinner party in a white dress, for example, would be instantly outed as a nouveau riche newbie. That tradition of not wearing white past summer has since trickled down through fashion magazines and into mainstream culture… even for those of us whose ideal dinner party garb is sweatpants. The good news is, most fashion experts agree that there’s no need to follow this elitist rule today.
Thanks to Brandon Specktor, Claire Nowak of Reader’s Digest for that bit of fashion history.