Since this week has quickly become seersucker week after selling more seersucker bow ties than we thought possible, I thought I’d share a little about this special fabric. Maybe I’m a geek, but I think it is pretty cool. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say:
Seersucker is a thin, puckered, all-cotton fabric, commonly striped or chequered, used to make clothing for spring and summer wear. The word came into English from Hindustani (Urdu and Hindi), which originates from the Persian words “shir o shekar”, meaning “milk and sugar”, probably from the resemblance of its smooth and rough stripes to the smooth texture of milk and the bumpy texture of sugar.
During the British colonial period, seersucker was a popular material in Britain’s warm weather colonies like British India. When Seersucker was first introduced in the United States, it was used for a broad array of clothing items. For suits, the material was considered a mainstay of the summer wardrobe of gentlemen, especially in the South, who favored the light fabric in the high heat and humidity of the summer, especially prior to the arrival of air conditioning.
The fabric was originally worn by the poor in the U.S. until undergraduate students in the 1920s, in an air of reverse snobbery, began to wear the fabric. Damon Runyon wrote that his new habit for wearing seersucker was “causing much confusion among my friends. They cannot decide whether I am broke or just setting a new vogue.”