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Labor Day

08/28/08 5:55PM By Deborah Luskin
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(HOST) In Vermont, temperatures can fluctuate by forty degrees in the course of a single September day, so commentator Deborah Luskin has devised her own Fashion protocol for what to wear after Labor Day.

(LUSKIN) Samuel Gompers, founder and longtime president of the American Federation of Labor, noted that Labor Day differs from most national holidays which, he said, are all "connected with conflicts and battles... for greed and power. Labor Day... is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation."
I agree. In my book, Labor Day is dedicated to Fashion.
Traditionally, Labor Day is the last day for straw hats, white shoes and sleeveless dresses. When I was a kid, Labor Day was when I retired my threadbare, canvas sneakers and laced up my new saddle shoes for school.
Labor Day was first celebrated in the United States in 1882.  It was originally a holiday of parades, picnics and politics, but it gradually morphed from a celebration of working people into national day of leisure. Times change: Teachers and children now return to their classrooms in August; few people wear hats - straw or otherwise - and fashionistas wear "winter white" three seasons of the year. To be sure, The New York Times continues to publish a Fashion supplement, but the designer clothes aren't anything I'd wear in Vermont.
Okay, I was never a clotheshorse, even when I lived in New York City, although I did pay a certain attention to fashion. My change of attitude has more to do with climate and lifestyle.    
When I lived in New York, I used to spend a certain amount of time mothballing winter clothes in early May and airing them out in September. No longer. In Vermont, I never put my winter clothes away; I just don't wear them as often. But fleece comes in handy, even in August. I regularly wear a hat and gloves at ridgeline in August.
Just as I keep my winter clothes handy all summer, when September rolls around, I don't pack up my summer clothes. In fact, I put them on first thing in the morning, then pull fleece leggings on over my shorts, and a polypro top, even a vest. I can usually shed the vest by mid-morning, and after lunch, with the sun beating down, I peel off another layer - right down to my shorts - or my bathing suit, if the temperatures reach the eighties. It can get that hot in September - just not for long. Invariably, I'm wearing long sleeves by the time I cook dinner, and long pants by the time I eat it.
Gradually - by October, no doubt - the bathing suit and shorts will settle to the bottom of the heap at the back of my closet, and the polypro, fleece and wool will rise to the top. All winter, I'll chide myself about putting my summer clothes away, but most likely, they'll still be there when I go looking for them next May.
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