The Essential Guide To What To Toss (And Keep) After Labor Day

August 29, 2014 | By | Comments (6)
Instant Classic: Sun Hat

Photo by Hector Sanchez

Southerners have an affinity for rules, etiquette, and guidelines—and our mothers and grandmothers especially honored the ones regarding fashion and seasonality. Today’s hipsters and fashionistas are far more resistant (and downright rebellious) when it comes to being told what to do, but even the more open-minded of us still get a twitch at the thought of wearing white pants after Labor Day.

While pondering these important end-of-summer wardrobe dilemmas, it occurred to me the seasonal rules go way beyond style. There are quite a few things we Southerners eschew this time of year:

Southern Living

Photo by Greg Dupree

Put Away:

1. Seersucker. It’s the universal symbol of Southern summer. We must respect it and tuck it away at the proper time.

2. Strappy sandals. We wear open toes until the holidays, but the skin-baring, strappy numbers go back in the box early September.

3. Rosé. Time to switch to Chardonnay, girls.

4. Linen. Unless you’re headed to the beach this fall (and all rules are off at the coast), get your linens cleaned, pressed, and put away until Easter.

5. Fruity beers. So long, cucumber-infused saison. Hello, ales and porters.

6. Shimmery pastel lip gloss. Time for those luscious plum and red mattes.

Seven Chimneys Farm near Clarksdale, MS in the Mississippi Delta.

Photo by Rush Jagoe

7. Watermelon and peaches. No offense to our down-farther-south friends in Chile, but we really prefer certain summer produce to be fresh and local.

8. Lawn sprinklers. The grass stays green until November, but we get less obsessive about our turf after August.

9. Sundresses. The fashion mags tell us to layer them with cardigans and long-sleeve T-shirts underneath, but the truth is we’ve worn these things to death and we are ready to move ON.

10. White bucks. No explanation needed, fellas. It’s just done.


On the flip side, some summery things never go away in the South—even on the most frigid 50-degree day:


Photo by Lisa Romerein

1. Outdoor furniture. Stoke the fire pit—it’s football season!

2. Flipflops. Unfortunately, yes.

3. Gin & Tonic. Our fave cocktail doesn’t hibernate when temps drop, it just moves to the side of the bar to make room for more bourbon.

4. White jeans. I personally struggle with this one (that Southern drawl inside my head), but I do love them on other gals with chunky sweaters and jewel-toned silk blouses. Even with boots (gasp!).

5. Shorts. Runners and other fitness junkies don’t have to pull on the universally unflattering exercise tights until February—thank goodness.


Photo by Robbie Caponetto

6. Grills. It’s a widely known and accepted cliché that we barbecue all year. And we do.

7. Pedicures. Can’t have unpolished toes in yoga class, or anywhere else.

8. Convertibles. Actually, convertible season begins on Labor Day down here.

9. Garden shears. Those September roses need to be clipped and brought inside to enjoy.

10. The beach. Our coasts are a short drive for most of us, so off-season beach weekends are easy and frequent—and warm.

Coming in April: Year-round wool—Whaa?



  1. Drusalina

    In Florida all old rules and the comments above are OFF! We have summer year around here. Where what you want!

    September 3, 2014 at 12:53 pm
  2. Spinach, Apple & Mushroom Salad with Maple Vinaigrette & What we are Eating | Let's Have Mixture

    […] pumpkins. It may not be fall per the calendar as yet, but in the South we have rules.  I just love this that I found while perusing my social media last night. I guess I really am a southern girl as I do […]

    September 2, 2014 at 7:00 am
  3. roxy

    Eileen Fisher linens- especially in grays, tans, blacks never need to be put away.

    September 2, 2014 at 6:34 am
  4. CJ

    My summer clothes don’t go away until the heat does.

    September 1, 2014 at 9:51 pm
  5. Anita

    I love the keep list!

    September 1, 2014 at 6:37 pm
  6. Terri

    If you enjoy any of these regardless of the month you should partake in them.

    September 1, 2014 at 5:38 pm

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