Friday, April 27, 2012

Non-Seersucker for the Seersucker

So a few posts ago we made a promise that we would shortly (cough, cough) post something about non-seersucker options for the Seersucker Ride. So here it is! So you may ask, “What can I wear to The Alpena Seersucker Ride?” The best answer, “Anything you like!” Now if you want to know, “What are some options?” Here we go…

Historically speaking, the summer cloth of choice in the western world has not been cotton, but in fact linen. Linen is spun from the fibers found on the stem of the flax plant. Besides using this fiber to make cloth, other grades of the thread are used to make everything from paper to cord; the seeds can be eaten, or used to make oil (linseed oil), dye, medicines, and soap.  Add to this the fact that flax also grows in more diverse areas, it was not until cotton got a boost from slavery, colonialism, and the advent of Eli Whitney’s Cotton Gin that cotton was able to take the top seat. Remember, the classic name for sheets, shirt collars, under garments and the like are still termed “linen” and stored in “linen closets.”

While I do not have a lot of firsthand knowledge of seersucker, I do have a fair handle on linen, and I can say from experience that it does keep you cool in the summer. In fact the only thing it does better than keep you cool, is probably its ability to spontaneously wrinkle. Honestly, a few wrinkles are worth the comfort under the sun. The only side note on Linen Suits for men is that in my experience they tend to be rather form fitting (in the modern cut), and probably not conducive to bicycle riding. Yet if you can find one that will work, you should snatch it up.

Light Wool-
While this may sound crazy to most people, something many traditional hikers and sports people know is that light weight wool is actually comfortable in the sun. Don’t overlook this great option.

Linen-like, and Synthetics-
One of the great things about modernity (though we begrudgingly admit it) is that we now have some great alternatives that look authentic, but are lighter, wrinkle less, and are easier to care for (though also often hold odors better). Now while under close inspection someone could tell the difference, you have to remember that we are Midwesterners in Alpena, and most likely will not run our fingers over your loincloth to check out what it is made from.  We really just want you to come and ride with us, so wear something that is comfortable, and join us for a great time.

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