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Breaking the (white) law

"Never wear white shoes between Labor Day and Memorial Day (no, not even in Florida)," reads one of Miss Manners' etiquette commandments. If that fashion rule isn't asinine enough, somewhere along the line it expanded to banning white clothing altogether.

I hope no one abides by this dated fluff in the 21st century, but just in case you are still trudging through life by the words of Miss Manners, I hereby give you consent to wear white whenever it strikes your fancy.

White is the standout amid the vibrant colors of spring. From the classic Hanes "wife-beater" style tank to a tailored pantsuit, white can go anywhere anytime ... even before May 31. White can be fresh and girly. Take the ruffle and scallop-trim dresses offset with pastel ribbon at Nanette Lepore, or the side-button shorts with puckered pockets at FrostFrench. It can be toughened up in a denim motocross jacket at Club Monaco. Speaking of denim, the hardest type to pull off — white jeans — has made a comeback this season. Design house As Four featured structured white one-shoulder overalls at their spring 2004 show. White handbags are a big hit this season, with Botkier's leather trigger bag my personal favorite.

And of course, I cannot leave out the root of all evil (in the mind of Miss Manners): white shoes. Pure white ballet flats, high-heeled woven strappy sandals and patent leather stilettos are just a few of the white shoes on the streets before their sanctioned day. I've been wearing my pointy-toe white flats since last Labor Day.

I guess that means I am going straight to etiquette hell. In a white handbasket, of course.

If you have a tip or have noticed a trend you think our resident fashionista should know about, e-mail your comments to product@creativeloafing.com.