The Guide: Seersucker
We saved the last article in our spring/summer suiting series for one of the boldest textiles known to man: seersucker.
Many associate seersucker with Southern dandies on Derby Day, but its origins stretch back to Ancient Persia. In fact, the word “seersucker” is a mash-up of the Persian words “sheer” and “shakar,” which respectively mean “milk” and “sugar.” These words describe the cotton fabric’s unique texture, which is alternatively smooth and rough.
That puckered texture is the result of a weaving process that makes certain threads bunch together. This causes parts of the fabric to sit above the skin, allowing for greater breathability and air circulation. In short, seersucker isn’t just for show: it’s like an ancient, wearable version of air conditioning.
Seersucker most commonly appears in a blue-and-white stripe pattern. Sometimes it is available in a “fine stripe” that shrinks down stripes for a slightly more formal look. However, even this more refined type of seersucker is a hard sell in business environments, unless your business involves prize-winning horses or long, mint julep-infused lunches.
But the same qualities that disqualify it from the boardroom make it an absolute blast to wear for weddings, cocktail parties, and—yes—Derby Day celebrations. It may seem intimidating at first, but all you need to wear seersucker is a bit of gumption and some simple styling advice.
Firstly, keep the shirt solid. If you’re going full seersucker suit, you won’t need to worry about adding more pattern. A simple white, blue or pink works well. While a solid tie is a safe choice, you can manage a patterned tie if it’s not too busy and offers a contrast to the seersucker. For instance, a classic microdot.
You can also take a more mellow approach by wearing a seersucker suit with separates. A seersucker suit jacket with chinos leaves its mark without making you the ultimate center of attention, and seersucker trousers with a solid-colored shirt is a classic move borrowed from Southern prep.
As for ironing? Don’t even think about it. The permanently puckered texture of seersucker forbids it: quite fitting for the most laid-back fabric of summer.