There are various schools of thought on wearing white bucks and spectators (which ill collectively refer to as ‘white shoes’), no doubt. Since my interest in men’s style took hold a few years ago I have heard murmurings about the differences in the rule on the subject between the north and the south. Something I had always attributed to the warmer climate of our southern states. However, a recent reading up on the subject, including an article from To The Manor Born, has shed some new light onto the subject.
It is opined that this difference between the North and South perhaps relates to the Civil War, which is not surprising in the least because it seems that most current day differences stem from the war (for all of you non-American readers you may want to quickly read up on the subject if you are not familiar). In the Northeast, it is permissible to wear white shoes between Memorial and Labor Days, which is the white shoe rule that I have always followed. Many people follow these rules for white pants and shorts as well. However, I have always thought that whites season started earlier in the South, around Easter. Again, due to the warmer climate.
In the TTMB piece, David Bagwell argues that the difference in Southern custom, which favors white season starting at Easter, results more from Memorial Day honoring fallen Union, and not Confederate, soldiers. And for any Southern gentlemen to honor Union soldiers is apparently an anathema, so Memorial Day is apparently not a real holiday in more traditional parts of the South. Thus, it would be illogical to start whites season on such a ‘holiday,’ or so I have interpreted it. But then again, I am just a Yankee with some Southern roots; so what do I know…
Well anyway, for those of us above the Mason Dixon tomorrow is a great day, for we can wear our white bucks yet again. Well, at least until Labor day, that is.
God Bless America,
Justin L. Jeffers