Lisa Ricard Claro – Author

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Labor Laws

Posted on Sep 6, 2009 by Lisa Ricard Claro   4 Comments | Posted in fashion · labor day

Labor Day celebrates American workers, but if we’re honest, it mostly signals the last hurrah of summer. Now, when I was a kid, it also meant my white dress shoes were relegated to the back of the closet because “no one wears white after Labor Day.” I once asked my mom why this was so and her inevitable response was—say it with me—“It just isn’t done.” Labor Day marked the end of white shoes which were to remain in hiding until Easter Sunday and not one second before. This was Fashion Rule #2 in my parents’ house, Fashion Rule #1 being No Mini-Skirts Allowed. (Which leads to the secret addendum regarding the rolling up of skirt waistbands and the surreptitious application of eye shadow, but that’s another subject.)

Wearing white after Labor Day is not the fashion faux pas it once was, but old habits die hard, y’all, and even though the fashionistas no longer enforce this particular Labor Law, as it were, my mother held hard and fast to the practice and I find it impossible to break the cycle. I can see myself attending a *NWSALD-Anon meeting for other fashion disasters like myself: “Hi, I’m Lisa, and I’m afraid to wear white after Labor Day.”

I Googled the subject and learned that the Labor Day fashion rule dates back more than one hundred years and, while no one knows exactly where it originated, it may have started as a class distinction. Well-to-do girls knew to abandon their white shoes and girls of a lesser class were clueless (or were smart enough not to dispose of a perfectly good pair of shoes due to color bias). Eventually, the rule came to include not only shoes but fabric as well. Today, fashion designers use white whenever they please, and Labor Day be damned.

So what is my problem, pray tell? I’m stuck in a NWSALD time warp! It kills, because I have the cutest pair of white Candies and I cannot bring myself to slide my feet into them. If I wear them after Labor Day my toes will rot and fall off, I just know it.

So here I sit, sans white shoes (but with my toes intact), to wish you a happy and heartfelt Labor Day.

Have fun and be safe–

*NWSALD: No White Shoes After Labor Day

4 Responses to "Labor Laws"

  1. Comment by anita
    September 12, 2009 at 5:50 pm  

    I'm with you, Lisa — I'm incapable of wearing white after Labor Day. If I even think of doing it, I picture my mother's disapproving look and the item jumps back into the closet!

  2. Comment by Lisa Lucke
    September 25, 2009 at 1:58 pm  

    Thank god someone addressed the mystery of no white after Labor Day and even more importantly, why mere mortals like myself who don't have paparazzi following them snapping ill-fated outfits seem to think it is important enough of a rule to follow. I am a writer, a teacher, a wife of four, a beagle owner…who do I think I am to care about some arbitrary shoe statute? Somehow, this is my mother's fault…

  3. Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
    October 2, 2009 at 12:06 am  

    LOL I wonder what little gems like this I've passed on to my kids? Because in the end, you know, we all turn into our mothers!

  4. Comment by Lisa Lucke
    October 9, 2009 at 1:18 pm  

    Yes, and if it's not one thing, it's your mother…

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