Never wearing white before Memorial Day (unless, of course, you’re getting married) is one of the best-known rules of fashion, but is it even truly a rule anymore? These days, many of these style dos and don’ts are being kicked to the curb, but there are still some ways to wear white that are better than others. Even if you wear white correctly, however, expect some old-fashioned fashion police to tell you you’re making a mistake, but feel free to tell them they’re the ones who are mistaken.
What type of fabric you’re wearing is considerably more important than what color it is, regardless of outside temperatures. Steer clear of traditionally summery fabrics like linens and sheer or lightweight cottons; even a pair of black linen pants is going to look silly when it’s cold and clammy outside. Heavier cottons like canvas or medium-weight sweaters are more appropriate for the transitional temperatures of spring. Lightweight wools and denims are also good choices, as is silk when paired with a heavier jacket, skirt, or pants.
Fitted jackets and blazers are a great way to incorporate white while still looking appropriate to the season, as are sweaters and cardigans. Or, use a non-white jacket or cardigan to give some substance to a more summery white dress, blouse, or skirt. White jeans can be paired with colored sweaters, blouses, or jackets as well. Just make sure you’re not running around on a rainy or cool day in a sleeveless top or dress, not only because you’ll look out of place, you’ll also be uncomfortable.
White doesn’t mean just bright, glaring, white-as-snow white, either. Consider some of the other shades like ivory, cream, and ecru, all of which are easy to wear before Memorial Day. Mix them together for a cool appearance that still looks appropriate in cooler temperatures. If head-to-toe white is a little too much for you, try incorporating some pieces in darker shades, such as black, navy, or brown, to help bring the airiness of white back down to earth. The contrast of dark and light will make a strong style statement, or include some mid-tone neutrals like tan or beige to bridge the color gap. Mixing white with bright colors will also add a punch.
Accessories can make white clothing more seasonally appropriate as well. Wear boots with a white dress, skirt, or skinny jeans and no one will think you’re trying to capture the dog days of summer. Darker shades of stockings will also help de-summer your white outfit. Medium-weight scarves and jackets are practical and fashionable. Steer clear of sandals and straw bags or hats, except on warmer days.
There is one reason wearing white before Memorial Day can be a problem: mud. After all, April showers don’t just bring May flowers; they also bring lots of dirt and grime just waiting to smudge your lovely white dress or pants. When you’re wearing white, be careful when you’re out and about on rainy days. You may want to carry one of the many products available for quick stain removal with you.