White Shoe Showdown

Its soon to be Spring, and Mimi and Mademoiselle are always questioned about when and where to wear white shoes? Well, we had a bit of a shoe showdown and came to a consensus. Yes, there is really a “rule” or rather a “tradition” commonly interpreted as a post Labor Day to Easter moratorium on wearing white shoes, clothing or accessories. The origins of the “rule” have been debated, defended and even dismissed by the “fashion forward” set.

Mimi says please, don’t be to quick to dismiss a tradition steeped in history and still followed by many. Most style conscious traditionalists commit themselves to no white shoes before Easter or after Labor Day. I’ve heard that some squeeze in a few more days, wearing them from the date of the vernal equinox to the autumnal equinox, buying them about 30 extra days of white! However, every place has a change of seasons and as a traditionalist, I would stick to wearing white shoes only from Easter to Labor Day with no exceptions unless you are going south of the border for the winter. White clothes are up to a lot more interpretation and depend on the season, outfit and type of fabric. A white shirt is never out of style and always appropriate. However, shirting or other clothing in linen, eyelet, terry, etc. are “traditionally” summer fabrics and a no-go after Labor Day. If you must continue to wear white then go for a heavier fabric. Think silk, chambray or denim until winter sets in. Heavier fabrics like wool, cashmere and corduroy in shades of white can be functional and stylish, making quite a fashion statement in the dead of winter.

Mademoiselle is truly progressive and says, while I mostly agree with Mimi, I think there is a little more wiggle room for wearing white clothing in the other seasons, especially when it comes to pants. There is something really edgy about a pair of white denim pants with an oversized Vince black cashmere sweater and Jimmy Choo boots in the winter. I also own a few of the “winter white” pieces of clothing Mimi alluded to and they are an absolute go-to when the summer whites are out. “Winter white?” you ask. Now what on earth is a “winter white” as compared to a non “winter white?” A “winter white” is closer to an ivory, cream, champagne or ecru color where as a more summery white would be much more stark –think the pure white Crayola crayon. Remember, Coco Chanel was well known for wearing white all year long (usually her exquisite suiting), but the fabrics she used were appropriate for the season. 

We both agree the white shoe answer really depends on whom you ask and where you live. White shoes are hard to find and like and really do not look good on anyone, sort of like a bikini. Its better to be safe then sorry so for us, only Easter to Memorial Day, please. And seriously, how many awesome pairs of white shoes has anyone ever seen? Shoes are much more fun in colors!

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