Release the White Shoes!

Girls wear white for a Whit Monday march in England, c. 1935

Today is Whit Monday, a Christian calendar holiday occurring the day after Whit Sunday, which is the seventh Sunday after Easter. The date marks the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples. The date became a holiday in Europe and became associated with the unofficial start of summer. As the date moves around according to Easter, which also moves around, Whit Monday can occur anywhere from mid May to mid June. Christ appears in white robes according to New Testament writings, and so the donning of white clothing for the holiday that is also the ideal colour for beating the heat. This is the origin of wearing white for the summer season, which ends, unofficially on Labour Day — and don’t even think about wearing white shoes after Labour Day!

No White Shoes after Labour Day Scene from Serial Mom, 1994

About Jonathan

Jonathan Walford is a fashion historian and co-founder of the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. The FHM maintains a collection of nearly 12,000 artifacts dating from the mid 17th century to the present. Jonathan has authored various books and museum catalogues, including The Seductive Shoe, Shoes A-Z, Forties Fashion, 1950s American Fashion, and Sixties Fashion.
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