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Manolo the Columnist | Manolo's Shoe Blog

Manolo the Columnist

Manolo says, here is the Manolo’s latest column for the Express of the Washington Post.

Naturally as this it is the Day of Labor Weekend, there is only one topic that can be addressed.

Dear Manolo,

I’m from South Carolina and my mother would die if I wore white shoes after Labor Day.


Manolo says, it is that time of the year again, when the Manolo, like the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil, is required by custom and tradition to emerge from his burrow and opine on the wearing of the white shoes after the Day of Labor.

As in the previous years, the Manolo must disappoint all of the Daughters of the Confederacy by saying that there is nothing wrong with the white shoes after the end of the summer.

Petty and inconsequential fashion dictums were meant to be broken. If they were not, all of the southern ladies would still be sporting the white gloves and extending their pinkies when they sipped the tea.

We are not the fashion automatons who shift our uniforms in lockstep with the seasons. We are the liberated fashion beings who are obliged to look our best, even if this violates the “rules”.

In the fact, the Manolo has only the single rule: If the shoe looks good, the shoe must be worn!

Here is the white peep-toe from the Via Spiga that will still look good next week.

Spruce by Via Spiga.   Manolo Likes Even After Labor Day! Click!

33 Responses to “Manolo the Columnist”

  1. Dani September 1, 2006 at 7:24 am #

    Ha! This beautiful shoe is really a spectator in disguise.

  2. Erin G September 1, 2006 at 9:04 am #

    I have this shoe in a black with white trim. The Manolo he is all knowing, but my Mummy a New England Blue Blood would still pass out at white shoes after Monday….Dare I chance it….


  3. Fatfashionista September 1, 2006 at 12:17 pm #

    After thirty five years of good Southern upbringing, I could never make myself wear white after Labor Day. Or before Easter. And I follow the same rules for suede shoes and bags. It’s hard to be a delicate flower of the south with the temptation of those fab Via Spiga’s but I shall be strong.

  4. Flypaper September 1, 2006 at 12:29 pm #

    It’s not like us ladies are tromping around in the mud all fall long — what’s the big deal?

  5. patient one September 1, 2006 at 12:51 pm #

    As a lifetime resident of Florida, I can say those dress code rules generally don’t apply here. Not only do we wear white after Labor Day, but we often wear shorts into October.

  6. candice September 1, 2006 at 3:19 pm #

    Florida isn’t the south in the same way that the carolinas are.
    (I say this living in New Orleans, which is also not the same kind of south, but the kind of place where one of my clients sometimes shows up to his office in a seersucker suit and white shoes (and looks great, actually) and isn’t out of place.)

  7. kbk September 1, 2006 at 3:35 pm #

    It’s tempting–much like slurping soup or giving adorable pets as christmas gifts. But just because you can, does not mean that you should. A little discipline, ladies! The Manolo is wise but must come to accept that white has its place.

  8. Miss Jane September 1, 2006 at 5:02 pm #

    Oh, Manolo, Please believe something Miss Manners (a fellow WaPo columnist?) said – something like, ‘Of course you can wear white shoes after Labor Day. If you are a nurse or a bride.’ Ah, Manolo, you have no idea how iron-willed we Southern women can be. Bless your heart, we just love you to pieces Manolo, but we cannot go along with this one.

  9. Valerie September 1, 2006 at 6:09 pm #

    I don’t understand where this rule came from anyway. Shouldn’t rules make some kind of sense if they are to be followed without question?

    This is all hypothetical for me though because I don’t even own any white shoes. What’s the rule for silver?

  10. annie September 1, 2006 at 6:20 pm #

    Come Labor Day, Summer White is tired and wants to rest. Now comes a new season and autumn colors look so good.

  11. Cat September 1, 2006 at 9:28 pm #

    I’m with Valerie on this one — I don’t understand the logic behind this rule, and I don’t even own any white shoes, because (1) they show dirt too easily, and (2) they tend to make one’s feet look larger than they really are. My feet are not large (size 7), but the last time I tried on a pair of white shoes, they made my feet look huge. Although, I must say, the ones the Manolo has pictured here are stunning.

  12. Miss Jane September 1, 2006 at 10:06 pm #

    The rule for silver is that forks go on the left, knives on the right, spoons to the right of that. As the courses are served, start using the silver from the outside and work your way in.

    Oh, you mean silver shoes? Wear with disco dress and lots of lip gloss.

  13. izzy September 2, 2006 at 1:23 am #

    I could not agree more with Manolo. As long as the white shoes look good they should be worn all year long. I bought a pair of white heels midsummer and have only worn them twice. It would be a shame for the shoes to just sit gathering dust all year long. Yes fall colors are pretty but we should not punish white.

  14. Dani September 2, 2006 at 9:16 am #

    patient one-
    That’s what I thought about Florida- then I went to Palm Beach for a week. It never crossed my mind to bring black heels on a beach vacation- but obviously every one else thought to! Another traumatic faux-pas that scars my fashion past.

  15. la petite chou chou September 2, 2006 at 10:26 am #

    Oi! Even at work (Banana Republic) we are told not to wear white pants or shoes after Labor Day. Though I think it might be stupid, I think it is a weird fashion convention we may never evolve past…at least not before we have an outfit for the whole race. Ya know? Like Star Trek…

  16. patient one September 2, 2006 at 2:06 pm #

    Then again, I suppose it depends on the fashion circles you run in. I only recently graduated from college where flip-flops are considered year round shoe options and people wear pajama bottoms to bed.

    So, I suppose my fashion circle would be: None.

    But that is why I read the Manolo, to learn.

  17. Dani September 2, 2006 at 3:32 pm #

    I think you’re smart to do that. I posted on a different thread about the trauma of being right out of school, and accidentally NOT dressing to impress, when I really did need to fit in with a certain conservative profession. I recovered, but let’s just say life is not like “Legally Blonde,” though I adore that movie.

    “Don’t stomp your little last season Prada shoes at me, honey.” Bwahahaha

  18. Bon Mot September 2, 2006 at 4:49 pm #

    In San Francisco, only the tourists wear white shoes. Or white pants. Ever. We like our clothing as foggy as our landscape.

  19. Annalucia September 3, 2006 at 11:13 am #

    “…silver shoes? Wear with disco dress and lots of lip gloss. ”

    Or with the black silk dinner dress, the silver hoop earrings and the makeup suitable to the lady of the certain age, as the Annalucia does.

    As for the white shoes, the Annalucia wears hers as long as the Chicago weather permits (that is to say, as long as it is brutally hot and sunny in the manner of our summers here) and puts them away when dear sweet Autumn makes it clear that she has come to stay awhile.

  20. much love September 4, 2006 at 1:13 pm #

    Manolo, do you want to give my dear mama a heart attack? Because that’s what would happen in a world so anarchic that people felt free to wear white shoes after today. Unless, of course, they are nurses or cricket players.

  21. belle September 4, 2006 at 2:54 pm #

    you americans are so conservative. the reason you dont wear shoes that are white in winter is because the look ridiculous.i agree that you should wear shoes that look good, but these shoes wont look good covered in muck after stepping in a puddle! what and when is labor day anyway?

  22. Karen September 6, 2006 at 3:00 am #

    This is a really weird faux-sophisticated rule. In Europe we know that is the muddy conditions it is possible to wear nice boots while outside and slip into delicate heels in any color while inside.

    So, I’m with Manolo :-)

  23. stilettogirl September 6, 2006 at 8:21 am #

    My problem with those shoes is that they are a knockoff of Prada’s spring 2006 Runway shoes- and they look a good deal cheaper. I’d love to see some that were cheaper- but didn’t look it.

    about white shoes after labor day, well I don’t really like the look of white shoes ever. They tend to look cheap or tacky in general

    but as for suede, to me suede looks really good with fall things, so long as you don’t wear it when it’s wet out, I don’t see a problem

  24. melondrama September 8, 2006 at 9:37 am #

    Manolo, I love your attitude! I think it’s the same spirit of Coco Chanel, who set the ladies free from corsets and smelling salts and gave us a beautiful alternative (not that I was even remotely alive at that time).

    Being from the South myself I know all these rules and they are certainly meant to be broken.

    And in South Texas where it’s summer 9 months out of the year what sense do these things make anyway?

  25. Karen September 9, 2006 at 4:49 pm #

    I got some really cute shoes at the end of the summer season; and I hate that I feel I shoudn’t wear them when it’s 93 degrees in September. I could go for October 1st as the cut off date for wearing white, but Labor Day is just too early in my neck of the woods; and yes, I’m a Carolina Girl!

  26. Karen September 9, 2006 at 4:50 pm #

    I got some really cute shoes at the end of the summer season; and I hate that I feel I shoudn’t wear them when it’s 93 degrees in September. I could go for October 1st as the cut off date for wearing white, but Labor Day is just too early in my neck of the woods; and yes, I’m a Carolina Girl!

  27. Rita September 3, 2007 at 4:57 pm #

    I love my white shoes and feel so comfortable in them. I have so many of them (shoe fetish) and I hate the thought of putting them away due to the color and not being able to wear then to work. (I’m a school teacher) What ever happened to “express yourself”? I feel such things should be left up to the individual. After-all, I would not wear then when temps drop, but would not shun them aside due to color.

  28. Sandi Gann September 18, 2007 at 12:08 pm #

    I came here to see what everyone was saying about white shoes after Sept. 1, because that’s a no no in Va. but I’m going to anyways because the shoes look so feminine with the dress I have. the shoes don’t match the dress but for some odd reason it looks flashy and feminine at the same time. i like it…. Thanks for the cool post from the Floridians, well everyone really, even tha Southern Belle who’s breaking the mold. Thanks for this site

  29. Betsy February 8, 2009 at 8:05 am #

    In Palm Beach, no matter how hot the weather is , the rule is firm, no white after labor day , pants or shoes, and no white again until after Easter! If you do you’ll be sorry, you’ll be snubbed!! Awful.