Monday, May 10, 2010

White after when?

Last week I got a call from a friend, who was asking about the proper time of year to wear white shoes. She was confused by the rules, and instead of committing a shoe faux paux, decided to change her whole outfit and wear different shoes.

Having not seen the shoes, I can't judge their whiteness, but my mom's rule is you only wear white shoes (or pants if you're the daring type) between Easter and Labor Day. Her mom's rule was Memorial Day and Labor Day, which is even less time to rock the light colors. But in recent years the rules have become more relaxed. Cream and eggshells don't count as white, and a few years ago the fashion industry introduced "winter white" as a brazen "f-you" to the old rules.

Some people still have issue with the old rules and new rules. My Mom is convinced that red and pink don't match, but has to concede that my pink shoes with red suede flowers from Chinese Laundry are amazing. And I personally don't wear white before Easter or after Labor Day, but I don't own anything white, so I don't wear it between Easter and Labor Day anyway. I do have a "winter white" (cream) suit with a faux fur collar, but that's only good a few months a year because of the fur, and you have to be careful what business events you wear it to. Not all corporate environments are as fashionably adventurous as I am, and I have had people frown upon faux fur at business events.

Maybe it's because it was fake and they were a bunch of rich, uppity, snobs.

Back to white though. It just proves that the old rules are no longer rules, they're more suggestions, and dare to be defied by the fashion forward.

Shoes are the best place to defy some of these rules because of the great patterns and crazy colors available. I wear my pink and red shoes to the office with hot pink sweaters (and yes, I am constantly referred to as Barbie), but I also wear tweed shoes, plaid shoes, and everything in between.

Regardless of how daring you feel you can be, the basic rules still apply- look in the mirror before you go out and if you look dumb, change. And just because you bought something yesterday or this weekend, doesn't mean you have to wear it immediately. If you do that everyone knows. I love finding those people. It's like seeing their personal grooming habits and getting a peek in their closet.

Sometimes you have to buy an outfit to go with your shoes, and not vice versa. No sense in committing fashion tragedies and making people think you don't own a mirror just because you bought new shoes.

"Oh, look. She bought new shoes yesterday. Too bad she didn't get a top to match them or learn how to walk in them."

We've all seen it. I'm just mean enough to point it out to everyone I'm with.

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