Valerie Steele from the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology notes that in the late 19th century as more people were entering the middle classes, these newly rich were often unaware of the standards of high society, so they were given specific codified rules to follow in order to fit in–possibly the origin of the tenet not to wear white after Labor Day.
No one seems to know for certain where the edict came from. All I know is that I, for one, love to wear white all late-summer, winter, and early spring. Call me unable to follow the rules to fit into high society, call me a Miss Manners disobeyer, I like white.
Now here’s the rub, I have been avoiding white through all four seasons: I live in a very wonderful but very dirty city; I have two children under the age of 7; I have three dogs; I don’t use bleach. But I’m nothing if not determined. So armed with the following stain-removing tips, this year I intend to forge on through the next few dirty seasons, in my best winter whites and with a sassy shrug to Emily Post.