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Patio-crop-suz-borderDear Reader,

A column I wrote about wearing white generated a lot of comments from my readers. In addition to the correct time to wear white, readers sent me their views on whether it’s acceptable to wear panty hose with sandals, use straw purses in the winter, and a couple of readers suggested that we should bring back the fashion trend of wearing gloves. They have my vote. I did wear a pair of off-white crocheted gloves, with small white pearls, to a wedding that I attended as a guest.

Below are some of  their comments.

Suzanne Beecher


Watch for Suzanne’s new book, Muffins & Mayhem available in June published by Touchstone, an imprint of Simon and Schuster. Inspired by one of her readers, Suzanne shares her recipes acquired from loved ones and the touching stories associated with them.

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White Isn’t Always Right?

Yes, avoiding wearing white anywhere except on a tennis court between Labor Day and Memorial Day is absolutely still "enforced" where I live (Palmdale, CA). But we also still frown on mixing blue and brown, which is really silly since leather shoes like Topsiders (my favorite) are brown, and Levi's 501's (my other favorite) are blue, and the two together not only look quite nice, they are the best uniform for almost all outdoor activities.

When I was young (quite a few years ago), I was also taught the "white" rule. But it is one of many of the outmoded concepts that are still in our minds. I still feel a little 'funny' wearing white in the winter months, but I do. Also, I was brought up by a strict Catholic grandmother and always had to wear a hat and our Sunday best to church. That sure has changed with the times. — Barbara

I am a senior citizen who lives n New York, and I remember "the rules" quite well. However, the probem of wearng white was solved some years back by the clothing manufacturers themselves. A slightly yellowed white was given the designation "Winter White".—Ruth

I love white! But unfortunately I guess I am somewhat of a relic from a bygone day. White still remains something to look forward to wearing after Memorial Day, after those long winter months of dark and uninspiring colors, you receive the gift of white.—Mary Jane

White after Memorial Day is a hard and fast rule in the South. But I have been told repeatedly that Florida is not part of the South. So don't worry. —Melanie

I think this rule has gone the way of many other rules...out. I've asked my very fashion aware nieces about the "white rule" and they had never heard of it!—Lori

I remember telling my teenage daughter about ten years ago that it was not appropriate to wear white except in the designated period. She gave me "the look" and went on her merry way wearing white sandals. Fashion rules can be so silly, I vote for whatever feels right!—Jennifer

I was born and raised in Houston by a southern parents (Mississippi and Arkansas). We did not wear white until after Easter and NEVER after labor day, the same with sandals and straw hats and bags. When I moved to California 20 years ago I was shocked to see women wearing white shoes in the winter. I have gotten over my shock, but I still will not wear white shoes in winter. I believe in individuality and that people should wear what makes them happy. —Barbara

If the fashion police come after you, they will almost certainly have me in tow when they arrive. I wear white year round!—Ruby

On white caps, all the good cowboys wore white hats so why not?—Bob Mello

I am wearing a short sleeve WHITE Columbia T-Top with my jazzy new Columbia hiking pants today. We still have snow on the ground (there was a blizzard about a week ago) and it is raining out. If we can still get WHITE stuff from the sky in May I guess I can wear it too.—Gwen

Does it really matter what these two women think? I'll bet they have plastic slip covers on their sofas and lampshades.—Mark, in St. Louis.

I grew up, and still live in Columbia, South Carolina. We learned that you could not wear white shoes before Easter or after Labor Day. Here is a story to illustrate how seriously my mother took this rule:

The Carolina Cup (a horse race held in Camden, SC ) was held the DAY before Easter one year. The Carolina Cup is a very small version of the Kentucky Derby, where everyone dresses in their best new fashions. My sister had an outfit picked out, but had white (gasp) shoes to go with it. My mother gave her money to go out and buy a new pair of shoes to wear, knowing that they would probably be ruined by my sister wandering around outdoors, rather than have her wear white shoes the DAY BEFORE Easter.

We take our accessories seriously here in the south! This event took place about 20 years ago! I think that the rules have relaxed somewhat since then, but most people in our community (locals, anyway) still wouldn't be caught dead in white shoes at the wrong time.—Suzanne

I live in NC and I attended a charity function at a golf resort just outside of Atlanta last week. I was told the attire would be Country Club casual. I wore a springy print ensemble with (gasp) white shoes.. I was mortified to find that everyone else there was wearing black from head to toe...—Jackie

My mom was one of those who had to be whitely correct and it was a taboo. While growing up in NYC (of course I was very young then) I thought it was because I might just get lost in a city snow storm and never be found. That was a child's reasoning.—Helen

I do think the white thing has eased up a bit. But here in Kentucky, we use Derby Day as the official weekend to bring out the white. Always the first weekend in May. —Soni

In Tennessee the time to bring out the white shoes and hats is Easter Sunday. After that Sunday it's open season for white until Labor Day. By then you're ready to change your wardrobe anyway.— Ann

I avoid wearing white prior to most Memorial Days for one reason only. Until I can build up a safe and healthy-looking tan I resemble a sickly Casper. After Labor Day, I am still basking in summer's glow and all the rules are mine.— Aunt

The fashion police???? I'm at an age that I can ignore them. —Joyce

In the small town that I grew up in, you wore white from Easter until Halloween. Then black or dark clothes until Easter again. Today, I don't see people following this anymore. In fact, I myself wore dark shoes to church just this past Sunday. (Don't tell my mother.)— Mary

I love your e-mail about white. I still adhere to that one too being from the south, Mississippi. The only exeption is that here my momma always said you could wear white after Easter for that was when you bought those pretty white Mary Janes to go with your new Easter dress. —Maribeth

I think that rule was created in the southern states because of the heat in summer. (White reflects heat) Now that we have air conditioning everywhere, the rule is no longer valid. —Beth

I'm wearing white shoes. And I expect, at any moment, that something will come up out of the floor and bite them off my feet! I always feel guilty when wearing white before Memorial Day.—Jen

I have been a faithful reader for quite a while, but this is the first time I am writing. When to wear white is such an important topic, I just had to respond!! I grew up in Central New York as did my mother. Growing up, the rule for when to start wearing white was Easter. That way you could wear your new white patent shoes with your new Easter dress!! Labor Day was the cutoff for end of the white season. I have been living in Florida for over 12 years and I also thought the rules had softened. However, I still think if I saw someone wearing white heels ( especially with black hose, YUCK) on a cold January day I would snicker a bit under my breath!! Keep up the good work!!—Bonnie

The rule of wearing white is now more a mark of your age and maybe it always has been so. My age is almost sixty and I would not wear white "out of season" but it is not even a consideration to my daughter who is age 21. —Linda

There is a commercial on TV with Kathy Ireland ,that has her saying it is ok to wear white anytime. But here is WI, we follow the old rules except for weddings.—Dawn

I was raised by a mother that came of age when it was an out-and-out SIN to wear white during the winter months. I myself have modified that rule somewhat...the only white things I'll wear are my sneakers, scarves, and warm woolen hats. Call me old fashioned, but that's the way I feel. On a related topic, do you think it would be possible to bring back the wearing of gloves? :) —Lisa

I was raised in a house with strict rules of conduct and ettiquette. Most of the rules were stiff and I was glad to shed them but one of the habits I retained is the wearing of gloves. The reactions I get from people when I wear them is amusing. Verbal digs such as, "Are you related to Michael Jackson?" "Poor thing, do you have some disease on your hands?" are a few common queries.

I usually smile and politely reply, "I just like to wear them." This resolves most inquiries.

To the woman who asked (in a very loud voice while we at an exclusive gathering) "Do you wear those because you have a communicable disease?" (Dozens of heads turned to stare at me.)

I admit replying in a whisper..."Leprosy." It was hard to keep a straight face while she skuttered away.—Nan

My view on wearing white after Labor Day is this: The reason that used to be the rule is so "rich folks" would not be confused with their serving staff; only "working folks" wore white after Labor Day and before Memorial Day. Well, get this...I have a fulltime job, which makes me a "working folk," therefore I wear white whenever I want to!!—Ms. Tracy

What the hell, wear what you want.—Rosemary T.

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