Seersucker is an American classic, but it carries a lot of baggage. A few years ago, as a joke, Missouri state senator Ryan McKenna added something to the end of an education bill that would ban people from wearing seersucker suits. His ad-hoc, handwritten amendment read:
Any person living in this state aged 8 and under may wear seersucker suits at their leisure. Any person over the age of 8 living in this state may not wear seersucker suits because adults look ridiculous in seersucker suits.
The amendment was later withdrawn (it was never intended to be serious), but the fact remains, seersucker in today’s age can conjure up old time-y ideas of Southern gentility. Men chomping on fat cigars and cucumber sandwiches, swilling their mint juleps while attending lawn parties. It’s an association that appeals to certain people for the same reason it repels others. If you like that sort of look, shops such as Brooks Brothers, J. Press, Ralph Lauren, O’Connell’s, and Andover Shop can get you sorted with whatever you need.
If you like the texture and cool wearing properties of seersucker, however, and want to modernize it, there are smart ways of wearing the material without looking like you belong on a sprawling Southern estate.
One is to wear a suit in something other than the usual blue-and-white colorway. Something in a tonal blue-on-blue stripe, for example, can look refreshingly modern, while still having that crinkly texture that makes this fabric charming. J. Crew and Camoshita have some tonal seersucker suits this season (the second of which is available at No Man Walks Alone and Mr. Porter). The Armoury also carries an exclusive Ring Jacket model made in a Loro Piana wool-silk blend. Cotton blends here will feel more casual, while wool blends will hold their color better over time. Eidos even has Ghruka pants in a tonal seersucker, which look awesome in that wider cut. Wear it with a loose button-up in a casual white fabric.
Alternatively, you can get a seersucker shirt, which can be a great way to add visual interest to any outfit (particularly in all-white, which is basically like your standard dress shirt, but with more texture). I like the custom options at Michael Spencer and Proper Cloth. Michael Spencer’s shirts fit similar to Brooks Brothers, but they make everything in the US and allow you to customize any detail. Proper Cloth, on the other hand, does online made-to-measure – the best maker I’ve used for this sort of thing, which can admittedly get dicey when you’re self-measuring. Proper Cloth simply gets the fit right better than most, and they allow for free remakes on the first order.
For a more affordable alternative, check J. Crew. Their collars are usually too skimpy to wear with ties, but seersucker shirts look better with open collars anyway.
You can also get a seersucker shirt with more unusual details, which will in turn make it feel more casual. Portuguese Flannel has short-sleeved seersucker popovers; Battenwear makes something with a camp collar. For wear with tailored jackets, I like these band collar designs from Camoshita and Club Monaco.
Additionally, you can break a seersucker suit up into separates. A seersucker sport coat can be worn with khaki chinos, while seersucker trousers go well with navy jackets. There’s still a bit of preppy connotation here, but one that feels less aggressive than a full suit. Swap the white bucks out here for something low key, such as penny loafers.
Yasuto Kamoshita at the top of this post looks great in his a seersucker suit, black Belgian loafers, and Nigerian print tie. Alternatively, you could wear something like this, but with a popover or band collar shirt. Something in French blue shirt here would anchor the ensemble without making you look washed out from all that white (good if you’re not wearing a dark tie).
Lastly, for the truly timid, consider a tie made from the crinkly material. You can find them this season from makers such as Drake’s, Vanda Fine Clothing, and J. Press. Any of those would look good sitting against a navy sport coat, and they’d be a nice way of adding texture to a summer outfit. An easy option for almost anyone, no matter their puckered stripe.