For well over a hundred years, seersucker has been a well-known trick to beat the summer heat. The Wall Street Journal recently included seersucker in a short list of classic cool fabrics together will linen and fresco wool. While seersucker is best known for suits and blazers, Vice magazine in its recent “best summer shirts for men” featured a short-sleeved open-neck seersucker shirt that is anything but formal. The United States Congress even has a Seersucker Day when Senators and Representatives wear seersucker suits to promote the fabric.
Milk and sugar
What exactly is seersucker? It’s a material made from all or mostly cotton, woven in such as way that the cloth has a puckered, slightly bumpy texture. This means that less of the material is in contact with the wearer’s body at any one time, and also allows air to circulate and form pockets. The word seersucker comes from Persian for “milk and sugar,” a nod to its unique combined textures of both smooth and bumpy.
Seersucker suits have long been popular in the south of the United States, where temperatures get quite high. The warped cloth has enjoyed a resurgence since the 1910s, partly thanks to the 2013 remake of the film The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
In all colors and stripes
As well as suits, blazers and shirts, seersucker is also used to make curtains, dresses, bathrobes, hats and even shoes, all ideal for summer wear. Historically its most commonly seen color scheme was a pin stripe of blue, green or gray and white. American train drivers would often wear overalls of a blue-and-white striped seersucker known as railroad stripe, while nurses wore a red and white seersucker known as candy stripe. However, these days a broader palette of seersucker can be seen. London’s Savile Row tailor Terry Haste is quoted in the Financial Times as remarking that “seersucker is having a real renaissance and it is down to the colors – there’s blue and green, blue and gold, blue and brown, there are checks and block stripes.”
As the mercury climbs above thirty degrees Celsius for more and more summer days each year, it seems likely that men and women alike will reach inside their wardrobe for an outfit made of seersucker cotton to stay cool in the blistering heat.
The items shown above are all available at Samsung C&T’s online SSF Shop.