Sunday, June 18, 2006

Summer Fabric Interview: Seersucker

One of the fashionable fabrics for this summer is the on-again off-again style trend known as seersucker. It is a wonderful way for the wearer to convey a dashing transatlantic look that is a little bit David Beckham with a touch of F. Scott Fitzgerald. In other words, a bit of trendy pizazz with the undertones of the early 1930's classic flair. Originally, seersucker was striped Indian Cotton (circa 18th C.). You can tell that from the original name, the Persian shir o shakar, literally “milk and sugar”, in reference to what we now see as the defining feature. The puckered and wrinkled look comes from the fact that the fabric threads that are used shrink at different heats...thus giving it an uneven tone. Brooks Brothers was actually one of the first major US retail companies to carry the seersucker, and single-handedly helped to start the 1930s pinstriping phase. Personally, seersucker is one of my favorite summer fabrics because it is dressy but still feels like you are wearing pajama pants.

The only requirement for wearing this lightweight fabric is that you are confident in it. The personality makes the suit or outfit. If you are going to venture out in this bold pattern, do it with flair and pastel colors. Since seersucker suiting only comes in about 3 main colors (pink, grey, blue) it makes this hard to wear if you are very fair skinned. When in doubt, the navy is the best choice since it looks great with dark leather accents. Women have many more choices when it comes to seersucker and thus it is a more versatile fabric. Even if the fabric comes in other colors, I would encourage men to steer away from them unless it is for casual shirting (oh yes, you can get it in shirt form). Seersucker looks best, for men, when it is used for the basic suiting or pants...don't get carried away with the shirts and belts, although it does work well for a casual tie. If you haven't stepped out in this style I highly recommend it, so what are you waiting for? Get out and get some...seersucker that is.