If you live in the U.S., today is Labor Day, a day to celebrate, a day off work, a day to party, right? But what are we celebrating exactly, and why? And what’s the deal with not wearing white after Labor Day anyhow?
Did you know that the first Labor Day was not a celebration but a protest? The idea was originated in Canada in 1872 when a group held a parade in support of a strike against a 58 hour work week. The first U.S. Labor Day was held on September 5 1882 in New York’s Union Square. It wasn’t until 1894 that Labor Day became a Federal Holiday in the U.S. President Grover Cleveland signed Labor Day into law to appease the workers in the wake of the Pullman Strike.
So we know Labor Day is a day to celebrate the working men and women by recognizing them with a day off. Yay! We all deserve a day off to recognize our hard work. But, where did the color white come in?
In the early 1900’s it was common practice for high society city folk to decamp to beaches, cabins, lakes, or mountains for the summer. Part of the move out of the city included donning a different wardrobe. City clothes tended to be dark and either utilitarian or formal depending of course upon your place in society. But summer clothes were light, airy, and loose. Lighter weight fabrics and light colors or white were de-rigueur. Since summer was defined as the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day, it was not appropriate to wear your summer clothes once you returned to the city after Labor Day. And so the dictum “No white after Labor Day” was born.
Enjoy your Labor Day!