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For fear of tomato stains

I am dressed in a stylish, comfortable outfit I would never dare venture out in public wearing. The problem isn't that it's too elegant or not elegant enough for everyday use; the problem isn't with the washability of the fabric - it's all machine washable; nor have I any issues with the cut and fit of the clothing. The problem is that it is all white.

White is a hazardous color to wear, unless your primary worry is whether or not you'll spill baby powder all over yourself. It doesn't get dirty any more easily than other colors, but it shows it more readily than most. The only clothing I have lost to permanent tomato staining were white: the lovely, densely embroidered Yugoslavian blouse I was given when I was young was made of an extremely thin, light fabric which refused to yield its tomoto stain, once attached to it. In full-outfit form, white is suitable for christenings, weddings, Ivy Day*, (all of which are formal and ceremonial events) and anyone who is accustomed to carrying around a full-length coat with them at all times, just in case.

Yet, now that it is summer, now and again I will see someone who is dressed entirely in white: white cocktail dresses and tuxedos seem to be stylish displays of summer luxury, proof that the owner can afford to only wear the outfit once, if need be, or has sworn to only eat cream sauces and vanilla ice cream for the evening, and has the ability to avoid leaning against anything, just in case.

Poll #316743 On wearing white

What is your opinion on the subject of wearing white clothing? (Pick as many as you like.)

I know exactly what you mean - I worry about wearing white too.
You're making a mountain out of a molehill.
White's no harder to care for than any other color of clothing.
I only ever eat vanilla ice cream/cream sauces/white food and always carry around a long coat.
I love my christening/confirmation/wedding/Ivy Day dress so much, I wear it regularly.
I let my dry cleaner worry about stains and wear white with abandon.
If you bleached all your white clothing before washing it, wouldn't have a problem.
If any of your white clothing wouldn't be harmed by bleach, you could wear white regularly.
I would never wear white - it clashes with my wardrobe.
Too many options! If you ever write another poll, make it shorter.

* A Smith tradition involving a collegeful of young women all dressed in all-white outfits. Thanks to maxineofarc, mine was a lovely Tudor-style confection.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 5th, 2004 10:36 am (UTC)
Of course I would never wear all white but I do have one very light coloured silk jacket so I understand the problem. I think white dinner jackets are rather naff unless one lives in the tropics.
Jul. 5th, 2004 10:43 am (UTC)
Scripps has Ivy day too!
Jul. 5th, 2004 10:47 am (UTC)
What does it do for it? Planting of ivy plants and lots of white dresses and long-stemmed roses, or anything more practical?

To be fair, it's also the day on which all the big student awards are given out.
Jul. 5th, 2004 11:37 am (UTC)
well, it happens during our graduation. Juniors dress in white dresses and carry part of a long chain of ivy and bouquets of flowers. On the way to graduation, the seniors walk in between the ivy chains. It really looks beautiful!
Jul. 5th, 2004 11:50 am (UTC)
Interesting - at Smith, Ivy Day was the day before graduation and the seniors and all alumnae were dressed in white, with the seniors all carrying long-stemmed roses. The juniors do carry an ivy chain in ours, but do so while dressed in other colors (can't remember if it's standardized or not). Ivy Day is the day for alumnae and student awards, which helps reduce the length of graduation the next day.

So similar, so different.
Jul. 5th, 2004 12:58 pm (UTC)
I completely agree about the whole issue with white. My main fear is that I'm going to sit on/lean against something, stain my outfit, and then not realize it for hours! I actually really liked my Ivy Day dress, but haven't worn it since for that very reason. It's actually only the last few years that I'll even wear khaki-coloured pants.

So yeah, good to know I'm not the only one that worries about this. :)
Jul. 5th, 2004 08:59 pm (UTC)
I've had a few chances to wear my Ivy Day dress, but only because I went back for my sister's graduation and then her two year reunion/my mother's 35th so I had other Ivy Days to be in. At least if it rains on Ivy Day and there's mud everywhere and the white gets muddy, it's not so much of a problem since there are so many people in the exact same circumstances. Part of the problem with white is that everyone doesn't usually wear it all at once and suffer together.
Jul. 6th, 2004 10:03 am (UTC)
I love my christening/confirmation/wedding/Ivy Day dress so much, I wear it regularly.

I answered this in the poll but I feel I have to explain. I'm always worried about wearing white, ESPECIALLY on the bottom (what if I sit in something?)...but for the (ack!) 5 year reunion this year I needed white for the alumni parade so I got a really nice, and casual, white skirt. And I love it. A lot. So I have to wear it. I can't keep away from it, in fact. It's teaching me that wearing white is really not all that bad.

Anyway, so that's it. Wear white all you want. It's just clothing afterall. Totally replaceable, even if it is expensive. :-)
Jul. 6th, 2004 10:40 am (UTC)
Thank you for the perspective. If I owned more white clothing, perhaps I would be less intimidated by it - especially if more of it were machine washable. I'm not afraid of wearing largely white t-shirts, after all, even if I did do in my very favorite one shortly after acquiring it with tomato sauce, and it's only a short step from mostly white shirts to all-white ones.

Part of my problem is sentimentality. I hate it when clothing I'm fond of wears out, becomes irreparably stained or ripped, or otherwise becomes less or un-usable because I can almost never replace it. Still, what good is owning clothing you don't have any reason to use again? There are a very few things I've kept after they've worn out because they'll make a good pattern for a future rough approximation of the same thing. But most things.. well.. better to have had the fun of wearing them, I suspect.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )