MARTY RUSSELL: Does that mean I have to change underwear?



More than 100,000 Americans, including an estimated 1,000 members of the Ku Klux Klan in full, hooded uniforms, were rounded up in a nationwide crackdown Tuesday by the federal Fashion Police and ordered to undergo conversion therapy.

Those arrested were led fully clothed into specially built showers where they were doused with dyes representing a rainbow of colors.

The detainees were then released but ordered to report to their parole officers what they were wearing that day for a period not to exceed the beginning of spring 2015.

This weekend, we celebrate Labor Day, a federal holiday originally set aside to honor the working men and women of this country. It began out of the labor movement of the late 19th century when people often worked 12- to 14-hour days, seven days a week in poor conditions and for little pay. Its impetus was a march on Sept. 5, 1882, in which 10,000 workers in New York City left their jobs without pay to converge on City Hall to demand better conditions. In 1894, it was declared a federal holiday.

Of course today the holiday has little to do with the labor movement as most labor unions are now on the endangered species list especially here in the South.

Today we mark the holiday as the end of summer, the beginning of the football and hunting seasons and as an excuse for retailers to host sales events.

It also marks the boundary between when it is and is not acceptable to wear white, or so we’re told. I’ve heard that in some of the more tony parts of the country anyone caught wearing white after Labor Day is branded on the forehead with the initials “ID” for Inappropriate Dresser.

So how did all this nonsense come about? Well, as usual, blame it on rich people and the media and New York City.

Apparently summer was the season when all the rich folks in New York retired to their retreats in the Hamptons or Martha’s Vineyard or other prestigious vacation spots where white was the accepted color of attire for frolicking on the beach or mercilessly crushing a business adversary while sitting on your veranda.

But when summer ended, traditionally on Labor Day, and the rich returned to the city, wearing white was considered a major fashion faux pas stoked by all the big fashion magazines which originated in New York.

Apparently exceptions were only allowed for brides and doctors.

Even the first big event following Labor Day had to be called Black Friday despite it being a huge white sale.

Of course, none of this makes any sense these days and the Fashion Police aren’t really going to arrest you for wearing white after Labor Day. However, there is one obvious advantage to the rule: Not wearing white after Labor Day makes it easier to find you if you get lost in the snow.

Marty Russell writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at

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