Hello, did you survive Memorial Day? Did you spend it somewhere nice?
I’ll tell you where I spent Memorial Day: burrowed in my closet. Some atavistic part of my brain told me to get back in there and dig out all the white clothes, like a swallow returning to San Juan Capistrano. After finding a pair of grossly unflattering white clam-diggers, still with a guacamole stain from a many-moons-ago dinner with my niece, and several linen shirts which had acquired a yellowy tinge during their hibernation, I thought it was time to face a home truth about the color most associated with summer. That is: white doesn’t work.
It doesn’t store well, marks easily, and is the worst enemy of any extra pounds you may have stacked on over winter. Unless you’re Diane Keaton, who seems to wear the same pale outfits in her film roles as her private life and is still scoring L’Oreal beauty contracts into her sixties, wearing white in summer is outdated and over-rated.
White is one of those non-trends that style magazines periodically insist (like here, here and here) that all the celebrities are wearing. P. Diddy rescued it from Tom Wolfe and gave it some urban cool with his famous white parties, which turned into an exercise in 300-lb bouncers turning disappointed guests away from the door for wearing beige or ecru.
I even have a white suit hanging in my wardrobe from Ivana Trump’s wedding last spring, when the dress code for men (as well as the bride!) was white from head to toe. While it was an amusing idea, you’ve never seen 200 less comfortable-looking men in your life.
So do yourself a favor and wear color this summer. (Especially you New Yorkers, whose wardrobe for the other nine months of the year is 90% black.) Reds, pinks, blues: bring them all on. I don’t want to see you in white again until after Labor Day—and even then, only because other people tell you that you can’t.