That crinkly striped suit? Yes, that’s aseersucker suit. Its purpose is to be breathable and lightweight, so it’s perfect for hot summer days and humid summer nights. Though it’s traditionally worn in the South, men in the Northeast have adopted the seersucker suit for festive spring and summer occasions. It’s an excellent option for summer weddings.
What Is Seersucker?
What distinguishes seersucker from other cotton fabrics is its signature bumpy texture. The raised bumps of the fabric are meant to promote air circulation. Seersucker fabric is traditionally striped or checked. It should always be 100% cotton so that it breathes and wicks sweat away from the body. Synthetic seersucker (or blends) would defeat the purpose of wearing it – only choose 100% cotton seersucker.
[Image of seersucker fabric via Proper Cloth.]
Signs of a Quality Seersucker Suit
The fabric of a quality seersucker suit, likethe ones that we carry, should be 100% cotton, substantial, and very bumpy. Imitation or look-alike fabric, that looks like seersucker but is not bumpy, will not circulate air around the body. The jacket of a quality seersucker suit should be unlined or partially lined. A full lining would void the cooling benefit of wearing seersucker. The pants should be slightly looser than slim suit pants to allow for air movement.
[Our Emigre Blue and White Seersucker Suit]
Where to Wear a Seersucker Suit
Seersucker suits were traditionally worn by lawyers in southern courtrooms, and still are. It’s not gauche to wear a seersucker suit in business settings in the South. In the North, it’s still rare to see seersucker suits in business settings. Where the seersucker suit has carved out a niche for itself in northern states is as a fashion piece for casual and festive summer occasions. For casual occasions, like a slightly dressed-up barbecue, you can wear a seersucker suit jacket over jeans and a polo shirt. A quality seersucker suit is the perfect suit for summer weddings and beach parties. Also, the seersucker suit has distinguished itself as the “it” suit of the Kentucky Derby.
How to Style a Seersucker Suit
Start with a proper fit: The seersucker suit should have a classic fit, not a slim fit. If you prefer to wear slim-fit suits, wear your seersucker suit at least a little wider than your typical suit. Too slim and air will not circulate under the suit and you won’t get the benefits of this classically cooling fabric. Seersucker suit pants should not have a fold at the bottom – they should be slightly shorter than traditional suit pants for breathability. In terms of the jacket, two button is best for staying cool. While double breasted seersucker jackets exist, the double layer retains body heat. Ditto for the three piece suit.
Choose the right color:Classic blue and white stripe, pink or red and white stripe, tan and white striped (all of which we carry), and checked are all fair game. Green and white striped seersucker suits have also entered the market. While black and white seersucker is available, we don’t recommend it for summer wear, since black is not traditionally a summer suit color. If you want to wear a black and white seersucker suit, choose gray and white for a summer-appropriate look.
Pair the right shirt with a seersucker suit: Your best bet is a classic white shirt. Patterned and colored shirts rarely look good with the suit’s stripes. For an edgy modern look, you can wear a solid-colored T-shirt under the suit jacket.
Which tie to wear with a seersucker suit: The simplest way to match a tie to your seersucker suit is to choose a tie in the same color family as the suit’s stripes. For instance, wear a dark navy tie with a blue and white striped suit. The same color family is not the only way – contrast could work well with a seersucker suit. Try out contrast if you are familiar with coordinating colors. Wear a striped tie only if the stripes are wider than the stripes of the suit. Knit or jacquard ties are fine, but do not wear a satin tie with a seersucker suit.
Choose the right shoes: Bucks or nubuck shoes are traditionally worn with seersucker suits, but they are not your only option. Cognac or blue shoes are an excellent choice, but they should not be chunky or winter-weight – keep your shoes lightweight for summer. Leather sandals work in a less formal environment, like a beach wedding. White sneakers are not traditional but look really good with seersucker suits – wear them with a T-shirt under your suit jacket for a contemporary statement look.
The belt: It is appropriate to wear a fabric belt with a seersucker suit if it ties into your shoe color. You can also wear a traditional leather belt (the kind you’d wear with a wool suit) in a leather that matches your shoes. For a formal look and to add interest to the suit when your jacket is off, trade a belt for suspenders.
Finish with the right socks: Socks should match the color of your seersucker suit (blue stripes, blue socks), or they can match the tie (navy tie, navy socks).