The Seersucker Suit

Seersucker Suit - Photo via Sleepy Neko

The seersucker suit is often worn by men in the American South during the summer months.  The suit is made from an all-cotton, woven fabric in which some threads are crimped together to give the striped fabric a half-wrinkled appearance that requires no ironing.  This wrinkling allows the fabric to be held away from the skin, making it well suited for hot and humid climates.

Seersucker - Photo via We Are The Market

Since its origins during the 19th century, seersucker was widely worn during the British colonial period as a cheap alternative to Indian silk. From the 1920-1940s, seersucker suits were donned by stylish undergraduates as a statement of reverse snobbery.  American writer Damon Runyon stated that wearing seersucker suits was “causing much confusion among my friends.  They cannot decide whether I am broke or just setting a new vogue.”

Through the years, seersucker has also been a popular material for warm weather and military environments.  During World War II, nurses and female Marine Corps’ summer uniforms were made of the lightweight fabric.

J. Press Seersuckers: A "Southland Favorite" - Photo via A Continuous Lean

Today, seersucker is worn by people all over the U.S. who want a comfortable, lightweight fabric for a smart summer look.  Even the United States Senate holds “Seersucker Thursday” in June, where the participants dress in their favorite clothes made of the light summer fabric.

Seersucker Thursday at the U.S. Senate - Photo via United States Library of Congress

© Copyright 2010 Americana

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Filed under Seersucker Suit

6 responses to “The Seersucker Suit

  1. Ina

    Brilliant! Finally it’s so warm also in Finland, that I can use my new seersucker skirt 🙂

  2. Hello Gina! Allways a delight to learn about what and why of all different types of clothing! I wonder if you have written about the “patio dress / patio set” yet? I don’t know if it is still in use, but I just LOVE the ones from the 50’s with rickrack on the skirt and bodice…
    I think I have read all posts here, but maybee I have missed it… A request if that is allowed? 😉

  3. Ah, I’ve stumbled upon dresses and shirt in that fabric only not knowing the name nor history of it!

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