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The Rules: White, Seersucker, Linen, Straw Bags and White Dinner Jackets


The Rules: White, Seersucker, Linen, Straw Bags and White Dinner Jackets


BEVERLY HILLS, CA – JULY 04: Actor Ashton Kutcher and actress Demi Moore arrive at the White Party hosted by Sean “Diddy” Combs and Ashton Kutcher to help raise awareness for Malaria No More held at a Private Residence on July 4, 2009 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images)




Dear Miss A,

Traditionally we don’t wear white shoes/handbag’s before Easter, some say before Memorial Day. Now that I mention it, I wonder which one it is? My question is in regards to straw handbags. Would the same rule apply?



Dear Confused,

Let me start off by saying  that I do not claim to be an expert. My opinion comes from growing up in the South and doing things like Junior Assembly where we were all taught manners, etiquette, how to dance and write thank you notes. My opinions also come from my experience being a debutante and making my debut twice.

The rule is that you only wear stark white from Easter until Labor Day. Period. Outside of this time, winter whites and off-whites are acceptable, but no white white. This includes white shoes, and white purses. Honestly, I don’t do white shoes unless I’m on the tennis court. I’d rather wear dark brown, black, red or metallic (shown on Demi at left). I’m just not big on white shoes personally. While we’re on the subject of these rules. Seersucker and Linen should only be worn between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Obviously, if you live in Australia your rules would be different based on the seasons. If you are vacationing in the tropics, feel free to bring your whites along.

In regard to your straw bag, I would consider it to be a tropical accessory which should only be worn on vacation someplace warm and sunny, or between Memorial Day and Labor Day in the continental United States. Again, this is just my opinion. Speaking of tropical climates, the white dinner jacket was originally created as formal wear for those in warm climates. I wrote a piece a while back on when it’s appropriate to wear a white dinner jacket, which I wish Tareq Salahi would read.  I’ve never seen one man wear the white dinner jacket more frequently, and more inappropriately. He wears his so much it actually reeks– not only of pretention but of body odor. Men, please remember that when you wear a tuxedo with either a black or white dinner jacket, you must wear the matching pants with the stripe on the side. I have a feeling that some men gain weight and rather than spend the money on a new tuxedo, they think they can get away with wearing regular black pants. Well, you can’t! So don’t! Also, please note a white dinner jacket isn’t stark white, it’s more off white, as I mentioned in my other article.

Perhaps people aren’t as vocal about others breaking these rules as they were several decades ago, and I’m sure these rules are followed more strictly in certain circles than others, but you should keep this all in mind. Impressions are made in just a few minutes, if not seconds, and these things are noticed. Whether you’re meeting your boyfriend’s parents for the first time, or interviewing for a job, do keep this in mind as you’ll want to make the best impression.

– Miss A


In 2008, I launched AskMissA.com which grew from my personal blog into a site with 700 writers, covering the intersection of charity & lifestyle in 20 U.S. cities. With Charity + Life, I am going back to a personal blog where I can share my favorite things, and continue to shine a light on nonprofits, and cause marketing campaigns to inspire others to give as they live.

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