I have a confession to make. Don’t worry, it’s nowhere near as bad as admitting I’m a menswear junkie but it’s still something that I need to get off my chest. This edition of spring/summer essential fabrics isn’t going to be on madras, as promised, but on seersucker…

I know, I’m sorry. I can imagine how gutted you all are but there’s a simple explanation for this: I’m all about seersucker at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, I love madras too – it was my go-to last summer – but with the new breed of seersucker that is being released I’ve begun turning to this fabric more and more as the warm weather makes its slow approach.

Remember: if you are to stand a chance of beating the sweat this summer, then you need to start thinking about seasonal dressing. Once the sun puts his hat on, it means thinking not only smarter but lighter too. Do away with those thick, heavy weaves such as tweed, corduroy and wool and start looking into pieces that feature open weaves and are lightweight in nature.

In part one we discussed the benefits of linen, so let’s move on to its far more interesting cousin.

Seersucker Fabric

We might as well start with what seersucker is:

“The material was popular during the British Colonial period in warmer countries such as India. Its slack-tension weave makes some threads collect together, creating the wrinkled, puckered appearance that is a signature characteristic of seersucker. It’s made entirely from cotton and, due to the puckering, hangs away from the skin – allowing that all important breeze and heat circulation to take place during the summer months.”

Source: Wikipedia

It traditionally comes in stripes or checks but the new breed of seersucker that was showcased on the runways for SS13 (and is now slowly surfacing in stores) is available in solids too. This is ideal for anyone looking to make their first seersucker purchase, as the traditional blue and white stripe is a bold statement for even the most fashion-conscious of men.

So, without any more geeky fabric talk, here are the key seersucker items you should be looking to integrate into your summer wardrobe this year…

Seersucker Lookbook

Before we start, here is a selection of outfits that incorporate seersucker – whether in the form of tailoring, shorts or trousers:

Nordstrom Faconnable Ss12 Faconnable Ss12 ermenegildo zegna ss12 h&m 2011 el burgues ss13 POLO RALPH LAUREN henry cottons ss13 henry cottons ss13

1. Seersucker Suits

This could very well be the new summer power suit. Look for it in a solid navy or grey for the most business-like aesthetic and pair it with simple elegant pieces such as broadcloth white/blue shirts and linen striped ties.

Alternatively, you could go for a striped version in any combination you like. I’ve already seen grey/white, brown/cream and navy/white this season, to name a few. The key here is to have fun with it. It’s easy to dress up for the work place as the stripes aren’t that bold, whilst it is just as easy to wear to a BBQ with a polo and some suede Derby shoes.

But above all – and it goes without saying – make sure you nail the fit. Tailoring can make or break your summer suits, just like any other.

Finally, don’t forget that you can wear them as separates. Wear the jacket as a blazer for business-casual events and the trousers as a statement piece on a sweat-free night out.

Example Pieces

Unfortunately there are not many full seersucker suits available online currently, but this should hopefully change as we move further into high summer. However, there are plenty of superb blazer alternatives:

  • Topman Vito Corfix Stripe Blazer
  • Vito Seersucker Blazer
  • Austin Reed Nick Hart Navy Seersucker Blazer
  • Richard James Unstructured Cotton-blend Seersucker Blazer
  • Gant Striped Seersucker Blazer
  • Hentsch Man Dickie Unstructured Cotton-blend Seersucker Blazer
  • Beams Plus Unstructured Cotton-blend Seersucker Blazer
  • Sartorial Luxury Pure Cotton Seersucker Striped Jacket
  • Maison Martin Margiela Seersucker Tri-colour Stripe Jacket 141886
  • Seersucker Striped Blazer
  • Asos Slim Fit Stripe Blazer
  • Paul Costelloe Seersucker Stripe Jacket
2. Seersucker Shorts

They are the ideal summer shorts: light, cool and work well with anything.

For this piece I’d pick the traditional blue and white stripe combination, and wear them with anything. I tend to rock my pair with solid polo shirts in white, grey or navy and a pair of brown Sperry Topsiders.

They’re pretty much perfect for a day down the park or in a beer garden sipping on cider.

Example Pieces
  • Topman Vito Stripe Shorts
  • Etro Striped Seersucker Shorts
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Suffield Seersucker Shorts
  • Austin Reed Nick Hart Navy Seersucker Shorts
  • Todd Snyder Check Cotton-blend Seersucker Shorts
  • Slowear Incotex Slim-fit Cotton-seersucker Shorts
  • Brooks Brothers Seersucker Stripe Short 155398
  • American Apparel Cotton Seersucker Kennedy Short
  • Brooks Brothers Seersucker Stripe-print Shorts 146562
3. Seersucker Ties

Or just seersucker accessories in general, really. They are awesome. I have a handful of seersucker ties in a variety of subtle striped colours that are ideal for the warmest of weather, especially when a tie is still a necessity – job interviews, weddings, funerals and the like.

Due to the fabric’s lightweight quality, you’ll barely know that you’ve got it knotted round your neck.

Seersucker pocket squares are another great addition to your wardrobe. They add a nice touch of texture to any tailored look, and reinforce the lightweight, seasonally appropriate aesthetic you should all be coming round to by now.

Example Pieces
  • Thom Browne Mens Stripe Seersucker Tie
  • John Lewis Seersucker Tie  blue
  • Gucci Silk And Cotton-blend Seersucker Tie
  • Seersucker Tie
  • Carven Seersucker Navy Tie
  • Carven Seersucker Sulphur Yellow Tie
Final Word

So there you have it, a few reasons to consider purchasing more seersucker items this season, and how to wear them when you do.

Of course, it does have its cons – it can be a bold statement; some won’t like the wrinkles; seersucker pieces can be hard to find – but the trade-off for being sweat-free and comfortable in your clothes when it’s hot outside is a small price to pay, if you ask me.

Next time – madras… I promise. Madras and tropical wools, I swear.

Matt Allinson