White Shoes Before Memorial Day: Yea or Nay?

Categories: Fashion

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I grew up in a part of the world where, regardless of etiquette, wearing white shoes before Memorial Day was not really an issue; if I wasn't still wearing my snow boots I was certainly stomping around in galoshes. But now I live in relentlessly sunny Houston, and since my most favorite-est pair of high heels is a charming white leather peep-toe covered platform with a stacked wooden heel and a gorgeous flower detail, the temptation to wear them year-round is too great to resist. And so--gasp!--I do. I do, I say, wear these shoes before Memorial Day!

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God wants me to wear these shoes. Often.
I know it's improper--I know that etiquette dictates white shoes not be worn before Memorial Day or after Labor Day, but I must ask: Why? Also, does anyone else still follow this rule, or am I the only white shoe-rocking rebel strutting the streets in flagrant violation of the No White Shoe rule? For answers, I turned to the only reliable source for information known to man: The Internet. First stop, Emily Post.

Emily Post tells me that the overarching rule of not wearing any white between MD & LD originated at the turn of the 20th century, when in fashion the #1 rule was, apparently, the more rules the better. When the high-falutin' folk escaped the city for their holiday destination of choice--for New Yorkers that probably meant "the Island" (as in Long) or the Mountains (as in Adirondack)--they brought along their lighter summer wardrobe. Unfortunately this summer wardrobe just wouldn't do upon returning to the city, and so the "no white" rule was formed.

Another quick Google brings up the EtiquetteGirls.com site, and these Girls wholeheartedly disagree with Emily Post (at least Emily Post online). According to the Etiquette Girls, wearing white shoes before MD and after LD is a major fashion no-no. They address this question in two parts in their FAQ section, where they say no white shoes, linen, sandals, straw handbags, seersucker or warm weather clothing even if you live in a warm-weather climate. At least they give brides and nurses a pass.

Moving on to other Google results, I was pleased to find other sources--like Fancy Notions--who agreed with the Interweb Emily Post--dressing appropriately for the season is the important take-away from the Memorial Day/Labor Day bracket for white clothing. Before ending my search I had to consult with one more source, my favorite blogger on all things preppy and proper, Melissa C. Morris of the May/December Blog. Melissa is a True Prep and I love her personal, preppy style--but she's more than a closetful of Oxford button-downs, I assure you. Melissa weighed in on the white shoe/clothing issue last May, and if Melissa says the Old Rules for white have relaxed, I believe her!

What about you? Have your white shoes already hit the streets or are you waiting for next week?


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