Q And Answer: When Can I Wear Seersucker?

June 2, 2010

Q and Answer: When can I wear seersucker?

Sam writes: I know the traditional advice that one should only wear a seersucker suit after Memorial Day, but I’m also aware that seersucker tends to be a traditionally southern style of dress. I am now presented with the opportunity to attend a post-Memorial day wedding in the Northeast. I intend to wear my suit in an entirely un-ironic way. Can I get away with this?

Seersucker is a very, very bold statement.  As a general rule, it’s best to avoid very, very bold statements at weddings, on the theory that the attention at a wedding should be on the bride, not on the guests.

That said, I think there is room for seersucker at a wedding, particularly considering the contemporary resurgence of the fashion nationwide.  The basics are pretty simple. 

  • As you’ve already figured out, you should follow the weather.  I’d be comfortable going as far back in the year as Easter if it’s hot outside. 
  • You should also follow the time of day – seersucker is at home in the sun, not so much the night.  It’s fine if you’re going to an event that starts at 2, but not so much one that starts at 6.
  • It should fit the occasion.  Don’t show up all Colonel Sanders-ed out to a wedding where everyone else is wearing t-shirts they got from sending in cigarette UPCs.
  • You should do it right.  It should fit and look good.  This advice is a bit more nebulous, but it has to be that way.  It’s key for it not to look like a goofy costume, and that requires some panache on your part, some comfort in the role, and some great execution.

Fulfill those goals and you’ll be golden.  My pal Rob wore seersucker to my San Francisco wedding, and he looked like a million dollars.  It can be done.