Seersucker suits are comfortable, breathable and imbued with Southern style. Gregory Peck wore a three-piece seersucker suit when he played Southern lawyer Atticus Finch in the 1962 film version of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and the fabric was preferred by famous Southerners like Mark Twain. To wear a seersucker suit requires panache and style, as well as the observance of some very particular rules.
Seersucker Wedding Attire
A seersucker suit is appropriate only at weddings that take place between the end of May and the beginning of September, and even then the wedding must be a casual affair. It may take place in July, but a seersucker suit would not be appropriate at an evening wedding where formal dress is required of all guests. In parts of the southern United States, the seersucker suit is appropriate until the beginning of October, but it would be wise to consult your hosts before wearing seersucker to an event after Labor Day.
A seersucker suit is best worn with an ironed, white, collared button-down shirt with either button or French cuffs. Ties are appropriate in solid, complementary colors, but avoid adding additional stripes to the mix. White bucks are the traditional shoe of choice with seersucker suits, but tasseled loafers or spectator-style shoes provide a whimsical, retro touch. Match your socks to the color of either stripe in the suit’s fabric, or forgo socks entirely. You may add a straw boater or fedora, but beware as this touch can tip the seersucker suit from elegant to eccentric very quickly.
Care and Cleaning
Do not worry if you cannot get your seersucker suit pressed once you arrive at your destination, as the garment looks its best and most authentic if it is slightly rumpled. Stains will show easily on seersucker, so be aware when eating or drinking. Stash stain-removing wipes in your wallet to quickly dispatch small stains, but avoid wipes with bleach, as they may discolor the garment.
History of Seersucker
Seersucker is a cotton or cotton-blend fabric that is slack-woven with a pattern of small, closely-spaced stripes. These stripes allow the fabric to stretch and air to circulate, making seersucker ideal for warm-weather attire. Seersucker is typically made with blue-and-white stripes, though grey-and-white is another classic color combination. Vegetable dyes are usually used to create seersucker’s iconic look. Although the word “seersucker” is thought to come from Persian words that meant "milk and sugar" (“shir-o-shakir”), the first seersucker suit was produced by a New Orleans tailor in 1907. The United States Senate observes "Seersucker Thursday" once a year in June to celebrate the 1950s custom of wearing seersucker suits to Senate sessions when the capitol buildings lacked air-conditioners.