White tailored shirt? Definitely. White denim jeans? Possibly. White linen skirt? Probably not.
While it may come down to fabric, style or even the outside temperature, white after Labor Day continues to spark conversation. And some debates, too. (Just Google it).
Tamara Olivieri grew up in the no-white-after-Labor-Day tradition, but she always interpreted it this way: “No white shoes. I’m going to stick with that, not that I even wear white shoes,” laughed Olivieri, from TYORI, a women’s clothing store at 5841 Transit Road, East Amherst.
And while she noted that fashion rules have loosened up through the years, she said that her more traditional customers also continue to stay away from wearing pure white dresses and pants come September – especially in summer fabrics such as linen.
It just feels – and looks – wrong to them.
Yet as one peruses the new looks for early fall, what’s clear is that white – in particular black and white – is a big look in fashion. Of course color variations for cooler weather include pearl, cream, ivory and, of course, winter white rather than summer’s pristine white.
And the fabrics may have more oomph to them – a heavier weight denim, for example.
Talbots shows its ivory Heritage Fit satin-backed crepe pants with a black textured jacket trimmed in faux leather and a classic black turtleneck.
The new Catherine Malandrino for DesigNation collection arriving later this month at Kohl’s is filled with black-and-white Parisian-inspired pieces, including a pearl-white pullover sweater with a black Eiffel Tower print on the front.
And Macy’s lists black and white as one of its key trends, describing the mood evoked by the mime-inspired look as “romantic, unsuspecting and totally mesmerizing.”
“You’ll see everything from conversational, landscape and surrealist patterns to photo prints and stylized black-and-white florals. Bold contrast banding, color blocking and sheer details come into play as well. There is also a surprising juxtaposition of leather, ciré and velvet,” the fashion team writes in its fall fashion report.
Practically speaking, there’s one big strike against wearing white beyond summer: Western New York’s weather. This is true even for wearing winter whites designed to be worn in cold weather. A wool wrap coat, for example.
“It’s very difficult to wear white here nine months out of the year. In a metropolitan city like New York, you’re not getting a lot of snow, you’re wearing white, you’re safe. But in Buffalo, that’s tough for practical reasons. Come winter, our cars are filthy dirty with salt and snow for so many months,” Olivieri said.
Still, before the snow flies and slush lingers, there are some stylish ways to extend your summer whites in addition to adding to your wardrobe transitional and fall pieces in white hues. Lace tops, white denim and white sweaters in many cases can be worn long after Labor Day, said Dawn Mazur, owner of taylorK, a fashion boutique at 5823 Main St., Williamsville.
But make them work for fall. Pair your white jeans with tan booties or tall boots, a denim shirt or jacket layered over a T-shirt and a scarf in fall colors, Mazur suggested.
Or add a fitted black suit jacket – single-breasted, one button, hitting just below the waist – to a white sleeveless dress with black shoes and accessories, such as black leather bracelets with studs, Oliviera said.
If the white is more of a creamy white, opt for brown accents rather than black, she added.
What doesn’t work now? That white dress with white strappy shoes, Oliviera said.
You’ll just have to set that aside for another eight months or so.