Monday, September 5, 2016

Before Labor Day, of course - Women in White with Parasols for Sun & Umbrellas for Rain

Frank Duveneck (American artist, 1848-1919) Woman with Red Hat and Parasol

 Claude Monet (French painter, 1840-1926)  Women in the Garden

Robert Thegerström (Swedish artist, 1857–1919) Laziness 1887

Rae Sloan Bredin (American artist, 1881-1933) Sunlight and Shadow

Claude Monet (French painter, 1840-1926) Woman with Parasol

Julius LeBlanc Stewart (American-born French painter, 1855-1919)  In the Garden 1896

Heinrich Lossow (German artist, 1843-1897) An Afternoon Stroll

Julius LeBlanc Stewart (American-born French painter, 1855-1919) Portrait of a Woman  1908

Claude Monet (French painter, 1840-1926) Woman with a Parasol

Pierre Auguste Renoir (French Impressionist Painter, 1841-1919) Lise with Umbrella 1867

Ramos Jose Garcia (Spanish artist, 1852-1912) The Red Parasol

Frank Weston Benson (American artist, 1862-1951) Against the Sky 1906

William Thomas Smedley (American painter, 1858-1920) The White Dress Portrait of a Young Woman in a Park 1903

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (French painter, 1841-1919) Femme à l’ombrelle assise dans le jardin (Lise Tréhot), 1872

John George Brown (American artist, 1831-1913)  Waiting for William

Gennaro Befanio (Italian artist, 1866-1911) The Parasol

Pierre-Auguste Renoir (French painter, 1841-1919) Woman with a Parasol

 John Lavery (Irish artist, 1856-1941) Mrs Lavery, Sketching 1910

Charles Courtney Curran (American artist, 1861-1942)   Lotus Lilies 1888

Jacques-Joseph Tissot (French artist, 1836-1902)  In an English Garden

The American dictum that women shouldn't wear white clothing before Memorial Day & after Labor Day has been around at least since the Civil War. The wives of the super-rich dominated high society after the Civil War. As more & more people became financially successful, though, it was difficult to tell the difference between "old money" in elite families & those who only had "new money." By the 1880s, in order to tell who was "acceptable" & who wasn’t, some elite women felt it necessary to create fashion "rules," that everyone "in the know" knew to follow. Not wearing white outside the summer months was one of these rules. In the non-air-conditioned early 20C, the summer "season" was defined by Memorial Day & Labor Day, when those-who-could flocked from town house to seaside "cottage" or mountain "cabin" to escape the oppressive summer heat. City clothes were left behind in exchange for lighter, whiter, summer costumes. Come fall, as well-to-do families returned to the city, more formal, darker city clothes were donned once more. And many in the large cities heated their environs with coal. The soot from the coal spread through the heated indoor spaces & coal dust quickly would stain light garbs. So folks changed to a darker wardrobe around Labor Day. This coincided with the growth of fashion magazines available to all levels of society. The magazines reflected the no white after Labor Day rule in the glossy, seductive pages of Harper's Bazaar & Vogue, which set the fashion tone for the country. This practice progressed from tradition, into rule, & finally into an identifiable cultural faux pas for decades into the 20C. 

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