According to the US Department of Labor, Labor Day was first celebrated unofficially by labor activists and individual states in the late 1800s. New York was the first state to introduce a bill recognizing Labor Day, but Oregon was the first to incorporate it into law in 1887.

According to Valerie Steele, fashion historian and director of The Museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology, this rule was among the many style conventions used to distinguish between the upper and middle classes in the 19th century.

Labor Day represents the "re-entry" into city life and the retirement of the white summer dress after the summer retirement of the upper classes.

But authoritarian rule disappeared in the 1970s, Steele said. The "Youthquake" of the 1960s allowed young people to challenge old stylistic norms, including those of Labor Day.