Why Are We Wearing White? The Fashion Traditions of Memorial Day

Everyone loves Memorial Day because it is the unofficial start of the summer season and for most of you (hopefully) a time for barbeque parties. But did you know that this holiday has it’s own fashion rules? These days the fashion world is much more relaxed about what colors to wear and when, but every year you can still hear people talking about fashion rules for this upcoming season.

The History of White Clothing and Summer:

It is believed that we should wear white pants on Memorial Day. Where did this rule come from? In the past people believed that wearing white is allowed only during the summer season and as Memorial Day is considered an unofficial beginning to the summer season,  it is the right time to search in your closet for all of your white clothing. Our fashion tip is to style your white pants with a red top and blue pumps, to show your patriotism :)

Memorial Day Fashion


White clothing during the rest of the year was for some people considered unacceptable. White was for weddings and to wear during vacation, not for fall dinner parties. This rule was originally enforced by only a small group women, mostly rich and snobby types, but over time it has trickled down to the rest of society and remains a tradition to this day.

Of course, not everyone followed this rule. Most famously Coco Chanel, loved wearing white and wore it year-round.

Barbeque Party

The End of Summer Holiday:

So, we should pull out our white pants on Memorial Day and then what? When is the official end of “white summer season?”

In the 1950s, women’s fashion magazines made it clear: white clothes came out on Memorial Day and went away on Labor Day, the first Monday of September. Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894, and society adopted it as the natural endpoint for summer fashion because September for most of us symbolizes the start of the fall season.


So, no matter what your plans for Memorial Day are, rock your white pants, but don’t forget what the old fashion rules say:

No White Before Memorial Day or After Labor Day.

Thanks to MentalFloss.com for providing more background on the subject:

8 Reasons to Wear Vintage Clothing on Earth Day

ClothingRecyclingThe care of our environment is so important that we no longer have just Earth Day, it is now Earth Month. Vintage clothing, as well as reusing and re-purposing clothing in general is a great way to do your part for the environment this Earth Day. As we enter April, Earth Month, I thought an article exploring environmentally conscious fashion options, and those establishments in Miami that are doing their part to be environmentally responsible, would be of interest.

Fashion And the Environment

Options could include wearing vintage clothing, clothing made from organically grown fabrics, or clothing made from recycled products. Here are some facts on how fashion damages the environment:

1. The average American throws away about 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per year.

Clothing In Landfill

2. 10% of all agricultural chemicals and 25% of insecticides in the U.S. are used to grow cotton.

3. It takes almost 1/3 of a pound of chemicals (pesticides and fertilizers) to grow enough cotton for just ONE T-shirt

4. Seven of the fifteen pesticides used on cotton are considered “possible”, “likely”, “probable”, or “known” human carcinogens (acephate, dichloropropene, diuron, fluometuron, pendimethalin, tribufos, and trifluralin) according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Cotton Field

5. Some studies have shown that organic farmed soils have a better ability to absorb and retain carbon, which would be beneficial in the fight to reduce global warming.

6. Organically grown crops also use less fossil fuel than conventional crops, another benefit in the fight to reduce global warming.

7. Pesticides are suspected to be responsible the severe drop in honeybees, the increase in frogs with extra legs and eyes, and annual death of 67 million birds.

Fashion Recylcing

8. The U.S. textile “recycling industry” (which actually re-purposes rather than recycles), with some 2,000 companies, removes annually from the solid waste stream 2.5 billion pounds of post consumer textile product waste.

Charter Recycling: Recycling Facts
• Environmental Health Perspectives: Waste Couture: Environmental Impact of the Clothing Industry; Luz Claudio; September 2007
• Recycled Clothing Facts, National Geographic

Bonus Resources:

Here are some local establishments that are keeping it Green:

10 Fun Lilly Pulitzer Facts We Bet You Didn’t Know

It’s no secret that Lilly Pulitzer is one of our favorite designers here at BackInStyle.com.  Her whimsical, yet down to Earth approach to life is reflected in her bright prints, and simple designs. In honor of her new product line at Target launching this Sunday, we wanted to learn everything we could about her, and so we came across these Lilly Pulitzer facts that we wanted to share, plus a couple bonus quotes!

Lilly Pulitzer Logo

1. It was because of a nervous breakdown the Lilly Pulitzer was started.

A well-to-do housewife and mother of three humming along in her comfortable but evidently unsatisfying life in the 1950s, Lilly Pulitzer suffered, unexpectedly, what has been described as a nervous breakdown. A doctor advised her to get a hobby…

2. On at least one occasion, Vanity Fair reported, the Lilly dress performed a most unexpected function.

Mrs. Pulitzer and Clark, her business partner, were in a plane crash while traveling to Key West. Their aircraft in the water, Clark removed her orange frock and waved it at a helicopter. From the air, the pilot spotted it.

Lilly Pulitzer Dress Hemlines

3. While entertaining in her home, Lilly Pulitzer would douse the floor with water to facilitate dancing.

4. In accordance with Mrs. Pulitzer’s reported preferences, the dress was to be worn with bare feet and was lined, in order not to require underwear.

Lilly Party

5. Lilly never wanted to produce clothing that was suited for the colder months. “It’s always summer somewhere,” she was quoted as saying.

6. Lilly Pulitzer filed for bankruptcy in 1984.

Lilly Pulitzer Store

7. Lilly Pulitzer dropped out of college and worked as a midwife’s assistant and as a volunteer at veterans’ hospitals.

8. She Had her own Personal Philosophy on Life:

“Style isn’t just about what you wear, it’s about how you live,” Pulitzer said in 2004. “We focus on the best, fun and happy things, and people want that. Being happy never goes out of style.”

Vintage Lilly Store

9. The word “Lilly” is always written and often hidden in all of her prints.

10. She changed Branding and Merchandising:

In 1966, The Washington Post reported that the dresses were “so popular that at the Southampton Lilly shop on Job’s Lane they are proudly put in clear plastic bags tied gaily with ribbons so that all the world may see the Lilly of your choice. It’s like carrying your own racing colors or flying a yacht flag for identification.”

Lilly Today

Bonus! More Lilly on life:

“That’s what life is all about: Let’s have a party. Let’s have it tonight,” she said

And how she changed summer fashion:

“Now if there is one special thing Lilly Pulitzer should be given credit for,” read a 1966 Washington Post article, “it is this: She changed the summer uniform of countless thousands of American women who once wore flower printed cotton shirts, wrap around skirts and big, klonky, thick-soled loafers.The total look was usually that of a shirt tail flapping out awkwardly in the back. “Lilly Pulitzer,” the article continued, “neatly put a stop to all that.”

Lilly Selection

If you can’t get enough Lilly Pulitzer, feel free to learn more about her clothing on our Vintage Lilly Pulitzer page.  You’ll also want to check out these other great Lilly Pulitzer Blog Articles:

Designer Spotlight: Lilly Pulitzer

BackInStyle.com exhibits Lilly Pulitzer at Museum of Lifestyle and Fashion History

Iconic fashion designer Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau dies at 81

Let’s Do Coachella, Woodstock Style

This Friday marks the beginning of Coachella an annual Music Festival that began back in 1999. Located in Indio, CA the multi-genre, multi-staged festival spans two three-day weekends, with many people camping for the duration of their stay.

Big music festivals always remind us of the mother of all music festivals, Woodstock.  So we thought it would be fun to show just how vintage friendly Coachella can be.

Coachella Fashion



The Vintage Sundress:

Much like Woodstock and many other music festivals, Coachella is a celebration of life, and for many years that communal celebration has been associated with the hippies of the sixties and seventies.  In that tradition, vintage sundresses make great pieces for the festival atmosphere.  They are simple, comfortable, and help you stay cool in the sun.

The Vintage Romper:

Also associated with the seventies is the romper.  These are great for those of us that really get into the dance because it allows for lots of movement without exposing your self. Also very good for romping and an occasional frolic.

The Vintage Jacket:

As they day winds down and it starts to cool off, a jacket makes it easy for you to cover up and get back to the party. This is a great opportunity to stand out and go with something a bit more unusual, so look for bright prints, unusual materials, cut-outs and embellishments. If you are more classically inclined then denim, leather, and the military style jacket are your go-to pieces.

Vintage Woodstock Fashion ExampleFootwear:

This is where it can get tricky. Sometimes the most functional choices like boots are not the most comfortable, and more comfortable choices like flip flops will leave you feeling very unclean at the end of the day.  Your best bet is to strive for a balance, or pack an extra pair of shoes to swap out as needed.

Vintage Accessories:

Sunglasses are a must, and beyond that it is all up to your personal style and where your outfit led you.  For a true Woodstock experience, think lots of bangles, bracelets, mood rings, and bandanas.  The possibilities are endless and can really polish off an otherwise basic outfit.

Springtime Hats, Where is my Easter Bonnet?

Easter Bonnets, Hats for Easter.

The Origin of the Easter Bonnet

Like all fashionable women, I will use any excuse to go shopping. Apparently this is nothing new. Easter Bonnets became a popular tradition as an excuse to buy something new and luxurious for two reasons:

First, women wanted to celebrate the end of lent, a time usually associated with sacrifice or withholding with a splurge and indulgence. What better splurge than to purchase a new hat from the local milliner?

Secondly, wearing a new item of clothing at Easter represented the renewal of the year and the promise of spiritual redemption. So the Easter hat or bonnet in this case is a 2 for 1!

The Easter Bonnet’s status was forever cemented into American culture with Irving Berlin’s song “Easter Parade”, about a festive walkabout in New York City that made its way down Fifth Avenue from St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The lyrics are:

In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it,

you’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade.

Easter Bonnets


A Vintage Hat for Easter

Vintage Hats make especially good Easter Bonnets because of their excellent craftsmanship and unique styling, not to mention their affordable price tag. The hat itself went out of favor as more women entered the workforce, but is making a comeback as of late with pop culture icons such as Kate Middleton, The Duchess of Windsor wearing them back into the limelight.In addition to it being a fashionable accessory, the hat is coming back in style because it is a practical way to protect your skin from the sun. Wider brims make bigger statements and give you a portable source of shade! For extra style, look for exotic feathers, colorful ribbons, or any other eye-catching “fascinator.”

Shop our entire Vintage Hat Collection and for more inspiration look at our Easter Bonnet Pinterest Board where we have hand selected our favorites for this year.

Time For A Miss Vintage USA?


MrnMsVintageLast month, Holly Foster hit the headlines in the UK for her comments about vintage fashion’s link to respect and propriety while contrasting it with Miley Cyrus. While most people concentrated on her comments, it raised awareness of something more interesting to readers of Back In Style, the existence of an official Miss Vintage UK. That’s the title Holly Foster won last August at the Twinwood Festival and the reason for her coverage. Thinking about great, vintage fashion, isn’t it time we had a Miss Vintage USA? And a Mr Vintage USA too!

The Twinwood Festival


For the last 13 years, the Twinwood festival in Bedfordshire, has been celebrating both the music and fashion of the 1930s, 40s and 50s. Set in an old RAF airbase, the festival includes Vintage clothing stalls, museums, music venues, and accommodation. Everything is authentic and only music in the style of those decades is allowed. This includes, for 2015, acts like The Jive Aces, The Downtown Daddyo’s and The Swing Museum. The festival takes place over three days at the end of August and is one of many British vintage festivals including Goodwood Revival, Atomic Festival and Rhythm Riot.

Miss Vintage UK


In 2014, it was decided that the festival should host its first Mr Vintage and Miss Vintage UK competition. 10 ladies entered to become Miss Vintage, while 4 men vied to be Mr Vintage. The judging panel, including Head Judge Lola Lamour. Foster won the inaugural contest and will hold the title until this August, when there will be another. She shot to prominence in February, however, when she said that dressing in such attire was “the only way to demand respect from men.” She went on to say that modern fashion left girls feeling vulnerable and that it encouraged them to dress in such ways in order to find fame and fortune.

mrvintageDoes Holly Foster have a point? The fashion people wear may change the opinion others have of them, but it should not really. What a person chooses to wear should not define their personality and availability in such simplistic terms. This feeds into the idea that people, especially women, need to fit certain criteria. Foster may have a point about aspiring to be like idols who set bad examples, but more of a problem is that such idols, who are often photoshopped, set bad precedents for body image and health. They have been linked, along with unrealistic dolls like Barbie, with eating disorders in girls of all ages including first graders. That should be of more concern. Vintage fashion like at Twinwood is about embracing who you are and how you want to dress. Personal choice is a great thing, if it’s a free one.


The Twinwood festival runs at the end of August and you can find out more information here.


Spring is Here! Stand out in Pucci Resort Wear

It is almost spring break and you are longing for warmer weather. The Emilio Pucci for Formfit Rogers (EPFR) label was originally intended to be a lingerie line, but we think it is better as Emilio Pucci for Resorts (still EPFR!).  Get ready to pack your bags (including your vintage Pucci resort wear) and read on to find out why.

So, Why Emilio Pucci for Resorts?

Emilio Pucci began in fashion by designing the uniforms for the Reed College skiing team.  The durable, colorful printed fabrics paved the way for his travel friendly designs in the 1960s and 1970s.  He also ventured into lingerie under the Emilio Pucci for Formfit Rogers label. Today, the Emilo Pucci label stays true to the bright colors and bold prints.  Pucci’s designs made for excellent travel and resort wear for several reasons:

  • Fabrics were lightweight and unstructured so they didn’t weigh down your suitcase and you could pack lots of them!
  • Fabrics breathed so you could stay cool in warmer climes or layer over the piece to warm up.
  • Pucci EPFR items were usually made of Nylon which doesn’t wrinkle and is machine washable.
  • Pucci prints were bright and colorful, and often inspired by the ocean

Make Any Outfit More Interesting with a Pucci Scarf

You can take any simple, comfortable outfit and make it come alive with a Pucci Scarf.  The broad color palettes and bright patterns mean that you can match several outfits with only one or two scarves in complementary colors.  The patterns also make great accent pieces to draw people’s attention, and add some unique style to any look.

We have seen these scarves used as everything from belts, to bandanas, even used as artwork! These works of art are easy to travel with as they take up very little space, and are so versatile.  A vintage pucci scarf is a practical must have on your packing list!

Simplify your Vacation by Wearing a Vintage EPFR Dress (as a Coverup!)

As mentioned above, Pucci made the ultimate pieces for travel, not only because of their light weight fabrics, but also because of their versatility.  A vintage EPFR slip dress makes a great coverup when getting out of the pool, heading to the spa, or enjoying a cocktail at the cabana.

Bonus! It also works well for sight seeing or in the evening while dining “al fresco”.  For daytime, throw on a slip dress over shorts and your bikini top or swimsuit.  For evening wear a vintage EPFR robe unbuttoned as a tunic over slacks and a tank.  An EPFR Slip dress or robe when styled correctly can be a great outfit, just make sure to be appropriately covered up!

Vintage Pucci looks so Modern

Although they are vintage, Pucci resort wear prints look very current.  Style.com breaks down the Spring 2015 Pucci ready to wear lineup and you can see the vintage influence in the contemporary designs.  Need more inspiration, head over to our Vintage Pucci Pinterest Page.  Not yet convinced?  Check out some of our example polyvore sets below.

Cruise Collection by Emilio Pucci


Cruise Collection by Emilio Pucci


Emilio Pucci vintage robe

Vintage clip on earrings

Vintage glasses



Emilio Pucci white skirt

Kate Spade summer sandals

Beach hat

New York Fashion Week 2015: That 70s Show

New York SkylineVintage Trends at NYFW

New York’s Fashion Week is well underway and the new trends are, well, trending.  Social media, and TV alike are buzzing about several designer collections that were inspired by the 1970s, and many influential style icons who were dresses in the Boho Chic look.

Olivia Palermo’s Seventies Look

Olivia Palermo 1970's StyleCelebrity and Socialite Olivia Palermo showed off a very 1970s styled wardrobe throughout the week.  Here her long wide leg pants, and ethnic print jacket are create a look that is very boho chic.  Olivia is often considered an early adopter of trends, if not a trend-setter in her own right, so we should all keep a watchful eye on what she is wearing.  Notice how long her legs look in all of the photos in Vogue’s NYFW Street Style Post!

Boho Chic Takes Over New York

Rebecca Minkoff's 1970s Inspired Runway Collection NYFW 2015Besides Olivia, the bohemian theme was very strong this year as you can see from the above snapshot of Rebecca Minkoff’s Runway.  Vintage Chic Boho dresses in particular were on display everywhere from Anna Sui to Tory Burch, and we are really happy about that. We have often felt that Boho style was under-appreciated as it is so much fun and easy to wear.  Loose fitting shapes with lots of movement allow for creativity and whimsy.  And with so many options from wide leg pants, and flowing maxi dresses, to cropped tops, and floppy hats, the trend is flattering on everyone.  Shop all 1970s Vintage Clothing here.

A New York Fashion Week First

No fashion week would be complete with some firsts.  Our favorite of this year is Jamie Brewer becoming the first model with Down syndrome to walk at NYFW. Brewer modeled as part of Carrie Hammer’s “Role Models Not Runway Models” campaign, wearing an original design by Hammer. Check out the whole article on People.com.

Learn More About 1970s Fashion

Now that you are ready embrace your inner 70’s girl. Be sure to check out our 1970s Fashion post from our Dressing for the Decades Series

Fun Fashion Fact Friday: Valentines Day



Who knew that the holiday of love has a fashionable history? Though Valentines Day didn’t become an official holiday until the early 20th century, the traditions that come with the holiday began in the Middle Ages. Did you know that the phrase “Wear your heart on your sleeve” began as a Valentines Day tradition?

The Middle Age Valentines Day celebration included young men and women pulling out paper hearts from a bowl. The paper hearts had a name written on it. They would wear this heart pinned on their sleeves for a week heart and claim that person as their Valentine.

Valentines Day traditions have definitely changed a lot from this early tradition. Today, this one holiday is an industry in itself, with a dramatic $19 billion spent on the holiday. But the spirit of the holiday is the same, though people don’t literally wear their hearts on their sleeves anymore.

Red Carpet Recap: Grammys Style 2015

The 2015 Grammys Awards Show was an exciting event last night, with many shocks and surprises. Of course, the Vintage Fashionistas’ favorite part was the red carpet glam of Grammys style. Here are some of our favorite and most talked about looks from the red carpet:

The Best of 2015’s Grammys Style…



Beyonce always stuns on the red carpet, but we were initially surprised by her choice this year. For this year’s Grammys, she opted for a Proenze Schouler gown. The dress seemed like the standard all black attire of the red carpet, but at a closer glance, the beading and embroidery of the semi-sheer dress were captivating. Her beachy waves almost hid a pair of emerald chandelier earrings that added even more glam to her fierce look.

To get a similar look, check out Back In Style’s vintage pick: A Vintage 1980’s Pantagis Black Jersey Dress. The sequined waist is reminiscent of Beyonce’s Grammys look, as well as the silhouette, cinching at the waist for the coveted hourglass figure silhouette and including a similar plunging neckline for the daring fashionista. The jersey material makes this vintage 1980s cocktail dress a comfortable option for your next formal occasion, without sacrificing Beyonce’s signature chic red carpet glam.

Getty Images for NARAS Larry Busacca

Getty Images for NARAS Larry Busacca

Taylor Swift wore Ellie Saab to this year’s Grammy Awards show. We love the playful coloring of the dress. The blues and teals are a fun and sophisticated option in a sea of black dresses. The silhouette of the dress was unique but suited to Swift, who loves a leggy but classy look. The balance of a reserved neckline with the surprise hem make it a classy but sassy look. We love the extra pop of color of her fuchsia shoes. Swift is becoming a fashion icon to look out for, especially for young, vintage lovers.

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Chrissy Teigen wore Pucci to this years award show. Her Grammys style took a subtle silhouette and added a fun flair with the cutouts of the gown. The loosely stitched cut-outs made this Pucci dress the perfect amount of wild for the Grammys, which is known for its quirky red carpet looks. Her beachy, natural waves were the perfect complement to the dress, showing that red carpet glam doesn’t always need to be overdone to be stylish.

…And the Worst

Getty Images for NARAS Larry Busacca

Getty Images for NARAS Larry Busacca

Madonna never fails to surprise us with her red carpet style. She chose to wear Givenchy Haute Couture, to channel her “Living for Love” music video. But while this material girl shocked the red carpet, it wasn’t the most flattering option. While we admire Madonna’s ability to wear such an ensemble at 56, we don’t think the dominatrix/matador look was the best choice for the red carpet and should be reserved just for her stage act.



While we applaud Kim Kardashian for always trying to be chic, this Jean Paul Gaultier felt more like a robe than a Grammys gown. The gold and beading of the dress, while impressive, seemed a bit excessive. While the artists are competing for a Grammy award, she should not be trying to compete with the physical gold award itself.

What were your favorite Grammys red carpet looks?


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