I don’t know what it is. None of us do. But when the snow piles turn into tulips and leaves begin reappearing in all of their green glory, there’s a change. Sure, it may have to do with the temperature. It could be affected by the events of the year — Kentucky Derby, al fresco lunches, Easter — but when spring has sprung and summer is upon us, we’re graced with a build up that results in summer’s greatest offering: white pants.
Away go the jeans and riding boots of winter’s past; gone are the leggings and yoga pants that appeared during the colder months. Whether it’s business casual or simply a replacement for the sundress considered to be far too formal for the occasion, white pants become the standard for women, big and small, far and wide. Their marriage with summer is something we’ve all learned to cherish, but we’re not entirely sure why. The cut? Perhaps. Their festive nature? Possibly. Our first glimpse at form-fitting apparel since bathing suits of the summer prior? Conceivably. But, whatever it is, they serve almost every woman well.
If you find me a six in dark wash jeans, I’ll show you an eight in white pants. Bring me a “far from good” wearing a skirt and I’ll return you a “close to would” in whitewashed denim. It’s an inexact science that doesn’t need any exploration simply because the conclusion we have is the only conclusion we need: White pants are perfect.
God giveth the white pants for Memorial Day; God taketh them away every Labor Day. Why? We’ll never know, but it was written:
[In] the nineteen 00s, 10s and 20s… the summer season was bracketed by Memorial Day and Labor Day. Society flocked en masse from town house to seaside “cottage” or mountain “cabin” to escape the heat. City clothes were left behind in exchange for lighter, whiter, summer costumes. Come fall and the return to the city, summer clothes were put away and more formal city clothes donned once more.
Yes, societal norms have insinuated that it could possibly be acceptable to wear white outside of the prescribed months, but most don’t. To be on the receiving end of a “no one wears white after Labor Day” remark is almost as bad as being the person who initiated the banter. Is it a silly, baseless sartorial rule? Yes, but it’s a rule we all still seem to follow.
The color, a manifestation of the season, becomes taboo only to be replaced by the hunter greens and the dark navys that emerge for autumn. The flats and sandals that exposed the feet of the white pants-wearing goddesses become rubber soled rain boots that leave all too much to the imagination. No longer do we turn our heads at restaurants when a flock of blankly-bottomed birds pass, as they are now adorned with long coats and greyscale color schemes. With every snowfall, we’re reminded of the clean seams that grace a freshly purchased pair of jeans seen in the wild for the first time.
But in this life, there are ebbs and there are flows. Too much of a good thing never feels like enough, but if we oversaturate ourselves with the color-absent apparel we crave, it, too, will tire. As Old Man Winter embraces us in his arms over the coming months, we’ll forget just how lucky we were to have these colorless wonders gracing our daily lives. But, as we all know, they will return as they always do.
Sure, in the dog days of August, we became numb to seeing them out and about. But from white parties to rehearsal dinners, from baby showers to Fourth Of July cookouts, we were blessed with them. Here’s to you, white pants, and thank you for all you did for us this summer. We’re forever indebted to you.
Rest in peace, White Pants Season. You’ll be sorely missed..
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