Does Jennifer Lopez stop wearing white after Labor Day? Does the Pope? Do doctors switch to madras or pink after Labor Day? Of course not.

By the way, Lopez looks amazing in white.

I’ve seen actor Jeff Goldblum in a white linen suit after Labor Day, and he looked terrific. My father wore a white linen suit all summer after he retired from the Navy. I think it was just because he missed his old uniform. I’m going to research this white thing and get back to you on this.

OK, I’m back, and here is what I found.

“Back in the days before air conditioning, white attire was simply cooler to wear.” 

For me, temperature is not a major factor. I believe in Billy Crystal’s line: “It’s better to look good than feel good.”  And don’t we all feel and look better in white than we do in business black or corporate gray? Of course we do.

I’ll bet French President Emmanuel Macron and Canada’s Justin Trudeau would look great in nice white summer suits. How come we can’t elect a president who looks good in white?

You’re right. I have to mention a woman candidate. 

Elizabeth Warren I’m sure doesn’t own anything white.

Amy Klobuchar is too much the business woman. Williamson, given a white dress to wear, would insist on adding appliqué wings.

Kamala Harris looks best in black. It reflects her  tenacity.

Whom did I miss? What’s that? Tulsi Gabbard? Oh yeah, Tulsi in white. Bar the doors. 

Trump’s Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, who looks like an ad for crematorium services, once showed up at a wedding in a white jacket and looked like a retired milkman.

Robert De Niro, who doesn’t look good in anything, looks good in a white suit.

I remember the days when the late Tony Curtis and Michael Caine would come into my bookstore in Beverly Hills, still wearing all white costumes from their fencing class. They looked stunning, and the women costumers couldn’t breathe, and it was in December. That’s when I started wearing white linen.

A quick true story. In my first live television drama back in New York in the ’50s, I was cast in a bit part as a doomed count in a French Revolution drama.

They put me in a period white silk suit and threw me into a straw floor cell with the late, great Delores del Rio. The also departed and great actor Walter Slezak was, as usual, the villain. 

It was a sweltering 86 in New York, and while we were waiting for Slezak and the director to kill each other, Ms. del Rio whispered  to me, “You should always wear white. You look so handsome.” I still tell that story to anyone who will listen. I just told you.

Movie stars for decades would trot around in white even in the dead of winter. The late Jean Harlow wouldn’t go out of the house in anything but white no matter the season.

She was famous for showing up at parties wearing white wool slacks with white cashmere sweaters, topped off with a huge belted white wool ankle length coat. That was class. Rosemary De Branco was like that. Her white Angora sweater was my very favorite.

Some say the “after Labor Day” thing started back in the late 1900s  as a way for the very rich such as the Rockefellers, Astors and Vanderbilts to “separate themselves” from the working class. So that’s how they separated themselves from the working class?

In my research, I came upon an article that says Gucci “currently offers a $2,300 appliqué cotton hoodie.” Now we’re talking hoodie. 

I just checked. I have 12 hoodies, all but one in gray or black. That’s how far I’ve fallen out of style.

When asked what She thinks of a Gucci hoodie for my big Christmas gift, She replied, “Of course you can wear a white appliqué hoodie. You can wear white appliqué anything, but you’ll have to stop eating anything Italian or chocolate and start using your napkin instead of your shirt.”

My mother was like that. It never ends.


J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.

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