As temperatures climb, it’s time to revisit every gentleman’s favorite warm-weather staple: seersucker.
It’s light and cool, sophisticated and classic - and perfect for summertime events. There’s even a National Seersucker Day every June!
But many who wear seersucker are unaware of its history, aren’t totally confident in wearing it, and need tips on how to keep it fresh and crisp.
At R. Hanauer, we know a thing or two about seersucker - and by the end of this guide, you will too.
What is Seersucker?
Seersucker is a lightweight, all-cotton fabric that boasts a distinctive pucker across vertical stripes or a checkered pattern.
Traditionally, seersucker material is presented in just four colors - either blue, gray, red or tan, on a white background. Of course, less predictable combinations have also come into fashion.
“Sīrsakar” - as it was known in Hindi - was originally crafted from silk in India. Following its introduction to the Louisiana Low Country in the 1900s, it was swiftly reinterpreted - and immediately appreciated - in much cooler cotton, and thereafter was known as seersucker.
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How to Wear Seersucker
As a general rule, seersucker is worn between Memorial Day and Labor Day - but with temperatures soaring earlier in the calendar these days, it’s a rule often broken.
There’s nothing so charming as a seersucker suit for late spring and summer weddings, Low Country boils, and garden parties. Newcomers to a head-to-toe look will feel confident in pairing a traditional blue and white seersucker with a crisp white shirt, a solid or patterned navy necktie, and brown leather shoes and accessories.
Seersucker separates like sport coats and trousers also make for a timeless, easy win, as do terrifically handsome seersucker bow ties and fine accessories. These details do wonders for a casual or business casual ensemble that needs to step it up for a meeting or event.
As an example, consider adding a seersucker sport coat over a white shirt with khaki pants or jeans - or donning a seersucker tie (or seersucker pocket square) with a lightweight sport coat - just not both. Unless put together as a suit, seersucker’s understated pattern and texture create a surprisingly impactful statement.
Tips for Keeping your Seersucker Sharp
There’s a misconception that sweet-looking seersucker is delicate, but it’s most typically durable and very simple to care for. Perhaps the two most common questions in seersucker land are: Does seersucker need ironing? and Does seersucker shrink? The short answer to both is "No" - as long as you care for it properly.
Be sure to consult the cleaning instructions on your garment label, but as a general rule seersucker should be machine-washed in cold water and hung, or machine-dried on medium heat -- that’s it! No iron or steam needed!
A few important notes, here -
- Seersucker is cotton, so minimal shrinkage may be seen following its first wash.
- Stay away from bleach as it may yellow the fabric.
- If your garment calls for dry cleaning, it’s probably due to lining or shoulder pads that would suffer in the machine; follow the instructions.
Seersucker Safety Masks
Just as seersucker is comfortable to wear on your body, it's also a great choice for light, breathable face masks.