It’s officially summer.
And boy, did it come in with a vengence. Today it’s going to be 93. And tomorrow as well.
What’s a gentleman to do in temperatures like this? That heavy suit and long sleeved shirt just isn’t going to cut it on some days.
No, we aren’t advocating for men to trade in their suits for shorts at the office; there is a far more stylish option: seersucker.
Seersucker is that very light-weighted, puckered, usually striped or checkered material (Bengal blue and white is the most popular design, but it does come in other colors like green, yellow, gray, and red stripes). Because of the puckering, it naturally pulls away from the skin, which makes the cloth the perfect summertime material.
It actually has a pretty interesting history. Throughout the last century, it has been considered a patrician fabric. However, it was originally worn by the working poor in the 19th century, until college students began wearing it in an air of reverse snobbery in the 1920s. Damon Runyon is quoted as saying that his new habit for wearing the material “was causing much confusion among my friends.
They cannot decide whether I am broke or just setting a new vogue.”
Traditionally it’s worn in the deep south, but even the U.S. Senate has Seersucker Thursdays in June. Humidity is something not uncommon for our area. However, not many people wear it.
Local attorney and native New Orleanian, Cary Craig, wears it often in the summer and even has a few seersucker suits himself.
“Because it is different, most people tend to comment,” he said.
“And the comments are usually positive.”
He agrees it’s the perfect material to wear here in Winchester, a surefire way to beat the heat from traditional men’s suits. He’s been wearing it for years.
“I started wearing seersucker in college. Growing up in New Orleans and going to school in Baton Rouge, seersucker is a nice, light weight dress fabric to wear in the summer heat,” he said.
“It is a low maintenance material that is comfortable and light weight.”
If the full-on look is too much for you, or you don’t want to invest in an entire suit as your first piece, start small, says Cary.
“I think that people do not wear it because it isn’t the normal fabric that people are used to. But, I do see more and more people wearing it, especially in the summer months,” he said.
“If you are not used to it, you can start with single pieces like a tie, a shirt, or pants. As you get used to wearing it, then you can go for the whole suit!”
So men, take a break from the regular heavy suit, or at least your summertime khakis, and try out something a bit more stylish with seersucker. You may just earn yourself a few compliments.
Story by Jenny Brockwell