How To Wear White Pants Without Discarding Your Dignity


I am not sure how we got the idea that no one should wear white clothing before Memorial Day. It may be a misreckoning of what Miss Manners, in 1990, called “the White Shoe Edict”—the stipulation that the only time it is correct to wear white footwear is in summer. The shoe rule may have made sense at the time, but in 2017, it lies crumbled under the weight of a billion pairs of sneakers.

When it comes to certain staples such as t-shirts, button-ups, and teeth, white is never controversial at any time of year, as Miss Manners again notes. But nothing is truly off-limits anymore: Standards have eroded so thoroughly that propriety scarcely registers as a concept. Even if there were a fashion rule book that the populace could agree to accept as authoritative, we’d need to amend the so-called Memorial Day rule with an eye toward climate change.


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