My first encounter with seersucker was in high school. I found a really nice seersucker shirt to wear on those extra hot school days that seem to pop up at the end of every Michigan school year. I was really proud of that shirt until everyone kept coming up to me and telling me that I needed to iron my shirt! Now, it could have been that I normally dress in a slightly disheveled state, and everyone just assumed this was further proof of this, or as I like to remember it, seersucker is just not part of our current culture.
So following the train of thought behind my delusion, I think we need to talk about seersucker and fashion. First off, the #1 rule of fashion is always that it works better once a certain critical mass is hit… so this summer’s Seersucker Ride is the perfect time for a group of us to make a statement, and look fashionable as a group. By reading the previous sentence you are contractually bound to participate in The Alpena Seersucker Ride, AND wear some sort of retro summer wear (I will have my lawyer look at that, but I am pretty sure that will stick). So now that we are all participating, we will talk about specific trends. (We will deal with linen, and other summer wear in a later post.)
To recap, seersucker is a cotton based cloth that is woven in a way to make it look like a waffle. The function of these “waffles” is to hold pockets of air between the skin and cloth, resulting in better circulation and therefor a cooler cucumber… or cloth wearer. The classic look of seersucker (at least on men) is the light colored white and blue (or gray, green or the like) pinstripe, though you can have any pattern or solid color you like. In my head, I associate it with Barbershop Quartets and the movie The Music Man. In fact The Music Man, maybe mixed in with the summer outfits in Mary Poppins, might be the perfect template for the look we are talking about! (Leave the penguins and 76 trombones at home please.)
For men, this means a crisp suit (or maybe just a vest if you don’t mind people seeing you half dressed) that is not overly baggy or too snug, a cotton shirt, and a neck tie of some description. Through in a nice pair of shoes, maybe a straw hat or flat cap and you are set. For the ladies, the possibilities are endless. You have more formal dresses (seersucker was a common fabric for nursing uniforms in the early part of the century), sundresses, skirts, or even pant suits that can look great. Please remember that you will be riding a bike, so make sure it is something that you are comfortable with, and have maybe taken for a test drive before the event.
We hope to see all of our fashionable friends this summer!