SEERSUCKER

An old rule of masculine elegance states that it can be worn only between Memorial Day and Labor Day: from late May to early September.

From British trading posts in India to the shoulders of the English bourgeoisie

Seersucker is a fabric native to India. The word seersucker is taken from the Persian shir o shakka, which means “milk and sugar”: its stripes being both smooth as milk and rough as sugar. British settlers bringing this fabric back to Europe anglicized the word to give it the shape we know today Seersucker was first worn by the English bourgeoisie in the 18th century during their Grand Tour in Italy.

Seersucker is historically woven with cotton fibers, however the more luxurious fabrics can be made of silk. The fabric is woven at very lightly alternating speeds. This weaving results in a waffled fabric: allowing better air circulation inside the garment because less fabric is in direct contact with the skin. This embossing makes seersucker ideal for warmer weather.

Codification of the seersucker suit in the United States

In the South of the United States, seersucker was worn by the working classes: it is often found in the outfits of railway workers from the beginning of the 20th century. It wasn’t until 1909 that a New Orleans tailor, Joseph Haspel, invented the first seersucker suit. Despite his efforts to dress businessmen in the warmer months, seersucker remained shunned from the upper classes because of its popular resonance.

In 1920, seersucker was worn by Princeton students, who enjoyed the contrast between this common fabric and their belonging to a privileged class. Ivy League students democratized the wearing of the seersucker suit among the upper classes of society. While university professors wore seersucker suits, students preferred to wear the jacket mismatched with loose chinos. These future bankers, engineers, lawyers or artists will continue to wear their seersucker suits on weekends.

JONES, Bryan. London, United Kingdom. 1964. 

ERNST, Max. September 1961. 

HOCKNEY, David. California, United States. 1967. 

GEMSER, Laura, act. Tinti, Gabriele, act. D’AMATO, Joe, dir. Eva Nera. 1975. 80 min. 

DAVIS, Miles. Newport, United States. 1958.

YOUNG, Neil. Los Angeles, United States. 1975. 

NOIRET, Philippe, act. DE BROCA, Philippe, dir. Tendre Poulet. 1978. 105min.

  • THE SHOULDER
    « tailors also see it as the place of their uniqueness»
  • KITANO, THREE MOVEMENTS
    « His countenance and clothes then become the way to read him.»
  • THE PICK STITCH
    « historically done by hand, with a striking visual detail in lighter, brighter fabrics »
  • THE MEN OF MODIANO
    «Writer of memory, Patrick Modiano is also the writer of fabrics.»
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