Thursday, October 04, 2007

Reader Question: Linen after Labor Day?

I recently received a question from a reader asking whether it's acceptable to wear linen after Labor Day. She's attending a wedding in the deep South and is considering wearing a linen dress in fall colors. My initial thought is that, at least in New England, a summer fabric like linen would be unacceptable in any color now that summer is officially over.

But then I thought back to the great responses I got to my post on wearing white after Labor Day, where many of you from warmer climates said that the traditional seasonal rules don't apply when it's warm year-round.


On a related note, there was an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal not too long ago that talked about how global warming is affecting the fashion industry, as people are not dressing seasonally the same way they once were. If consumers stop shopping for new items every season, and designers only show once a year, the implications for designers and retailers are gigantic. We're already seeing a boom in styles that can be adapted for multiple seasons, such as lightweight wools, cashmere and knits, and we can expect companies to invest less in season-specific pieces like heavy coats in the future.

But back to the subject at hand. I thought I'd throw this question out to you guys: is it acceptable to wear light fabrics like linen during fall and winter months?

17 comments:

Cristina said...

Let's be smart here. Linen is a smart fabric for hot weather. I love linen so I wear it whenever possible. In fact, I have no sense of propriety, I'll wear my linen dresses with leather jackets when it's cold and feel perfectly fashionable. Only rules you should worry about are ones of decency and not overshadowing the bride.

Teresa said...

It's a stereotype, but elderly southern women tend to be the queens of things like socially acceptable fabrics and shoe color, and slow to change with the times. If the wedding will have many guests of this type, it would be wise to err on the side of caution to avoid looking like you "don't know any better" (especially if you're, say, meeting a boyfriend's relatives.)

In more laid back atmospheres? Go for it.

One interesting thing about global warming is how it will eventually effect different parts of the world - it's expected to make Britain *colder* due to changing ocean currents.

But, it's usually thinking about snowing where I live this time of year, and it was 92 last week, so I'm phasing out sandals and in tweed a little later than usual, I gotta say. I will be sad if it means we have no fall, but not at all sad if it means we'll have a shorter winter.

Allison said...

It seems that there is no reason clothing cannot be fashionable, and ever so slightly practical. As long as its done with a heavier linen, in fall colours, wearing it to a southern wedding doesn't seem all that inappropriate.

I'm always struck by how clothing companies do not take advantage of local weather when designing and selling clothing. A friend told me of going into a Banana Republic (we're co-workers at one) in Las Vegas, and thinking how ridiculous it was that they were proffering Merino Wool in the desert.

In advertising there is a movement towards making the brand experience personal for the viewer, (or, ick, consumer) it seems to me that this will have to be the future for the fashion industry as well; creating a unique experience, while maintain a cohesive whole.

rachael said...

I think it is totally ok, given that in the south the temperature is still around 90 most days. Granted, I don't think linen in summery colors would be the way to go...but if it's a fall color, go for it!

I also agree that stores should tailor their merchandise to be more in sync with the local climate. I live in Houston (where it is still blazing hot) and when I went to Anthropolgie the other day, it seemed as if all they had was coats or heavy sweaters...not exactly what I want to think about buying when its still so hot outside!!

Andi O'Rourke said...

I agree with Cristina. As long as it isn't a pastel pink linen dress with little eyeletes, that's appropriate. I would just say use your good judgment.

RachelH said...

Seeing as how I'm wearing brown linen pants today (in Chicago no less) I think I have to fall on the "it's OK" side. When it's in the 80's or 90's, sunny, and the occasion isn't terribly formal, why not be comfortable? That said, teresa has a good point - some older southern women are very particular about proper dressing, and it might be a good idea to take a second option just in case (besides, you never know when there will be a freak cold snap).

Alexandra said...

I would definitely think it's ok. If the weather is hot and the wedding is not overly formal,I don't see what the objections could be ( the date on the calendar? Come on!!)

Noël said...

I'd like to defend pastels. I would rather wear a mint green linen shirt than a forest green one as the Sacramento, CA heat beats on my back in what passes for fall. It's funny how people get hung up on colors; the rules seem to be specific to a certain climate.

Miss Janey said...

As a matter of fact, Miss Janey is wearing a linen blend suit today. It's very warm here in SoCal and Miss J is guided by that. Also, the fabric is a pale brown & ivory tiny herringbone and season appropriate. "Appropriate" seems key here.

Yet Another Heather said...

Go for it! It is really hot down here, it still feels like August and it is officially fall. So I'd say wear a linen dress as long as it is an appropriate color for a fall wedding. And maybe bring a little light cardigan to throw over your shoulders if it gets cool in the evening (here's to hoping). And wear sunscreen! Because I apparently have this stuck in my head as an outdoor wedding....

Rapunzel said...

Dress for the weather not for the date. Especialy in the deep south, it's ok to prolong wearing those summer weight fabrics. If it's in a fall palate, all the better. I know i'll be wearing my brown linen pant both in AZ and in Boston until it gets too cold there.

Anita said...

I live in a part of the country where I should definitely be wearing boots & wool sweaters by now, yet it's 87 degrees this afternoon (yes, I'm miserable, as a love fall). So, a linen dress in fall colors sounds perfectly appropriate to me in the south - it's the kind of thing I'm wearing now, in the north.

Anonymous said...

Did you notice that lizy's "comment" is actually a sophisticated form of SPAM? The internal link goes to a store having nothing to do with linen or the topic at hand. Her link goes to a fake (and "private") blogger registration. Very unpleasant.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Cristina about not overshadowing the bride. Otherwise, no linen after Labor Day seems like one of the stupider rules in fashion. Even when it's cold, there's not reason not to wear a linen item if you're layered for warmth. ... I live somewhere that's warm for much of the year, and I love linen. I hate ironing. If my linen clothes come out too wrinkly, I hang them in the shower, spray them down and hang dry. Woohoo.

Jo said...

Fall-colored linen is definitely okay in my book. I own quite a lot of it, actually, since "fall" in my part of Texas is defined as "90 degrees at noon rather than 100".

Anonymous said...

Just wore all white linen today. Take that, stupid fashion rules.

Anonymous said...

No, it is never appropriate to break old rules about fashion in the Deep South. Unless you want to risk being seen as tacky, I strongly suggest following the old rules. Linen wrinkles terribly anyway and there are plenty of other fabric choices for a warm fall climate. Dress for the season AND the climate.

s.l.d. cowen