At this time of year, many of us look at the clothes, shoes and accessories our friends and peers choose to wear and wonder: when is it time to put away our summer styles? In recent years, the “fashion rules” have become more lenient in respect to when we can wear certain items or colours and still look sharp and presentable; for example, fashion experts now say that we can wear white, without fear of their ridicule, well past Labour Day. However, this does not mean we can throw all rules and common sense out the window. There are basic, and often practical, guidelines we should follow to avoid playing the fool, like so many fashion violators we see everyday at work or school.
Some white items are still off limits after the September long weekend, namely, white pants or skirts and white shoes and belts. White dresses can be worn a few weeks into September, depending on the weather. For instance, if worn with a colourful cardigan, white dresses can be pulled off in a warm, sunny September. White tops, however, can now be worn almost all year long, unless you have an aversion to mimicking the desolate white landscape that the winter weather has delivered. You should start thinking about putting your shorts and short skirts away after the Labour Day weekend and only bring them out if the weather remains higher than mid-20 degrees Celsius (high-70 degrees F). For the most part, flip-flops and open-toe shoes are still acceptable in September. This is a good time to bring out light scarves and jackets. If you are a lover of plaid like I am, live it up, the tricky pattern looks better now than any other time of the year.
At this time, all open-toe shoes, shorts, mini skirts and white dresses should be packed away for next year. Personally, I never wear flip-flops past October 1st, no matter the weather, and I secretly judge the people that do (‘their feet must be so cold… maybe they can’t feel their feet… maybe… those aren’t even real feet!’). October is a great time to bring out all of your cute tights, stockings, leggings, and knee socks that help you extend the lives of your dresses and skirts into the colder part of the season. Hats and gloves (even white ones!) can also come out in now. Most boots also start looking really fashionable in October.
Showing bare knees, shoulders or toes past November 1st would be considered a major fashion faux pas. This means that any skirts that fall above the knee should be put away or worn with tights and sleeveless dresses should be worn with cardigans. Your feet will thank you now that it is kosher to wear thin black socks with your flats. By November, if you live in the North of North American like I do, you have probably seen the first snow, I always take this as the first sign that it is ok to bring out my biggest, warmest, woolliest coats, hats, scarves and mittens.
Of course, these rules are never hard and fast, they are merely a guideline. You should always use your best judgement when trying to decide if a certain item is appropriate, though truthfully, if you are taking the time to wonder about a specific piece, it is probably time to put it away.