All About Seersucker Suits

With the sweltering summer months practically knocking down the door and all those formal summertime events ahead, you may be experiencing that familiar feeling of dread. “What can I possibly wear in the heat,” You cry, “Without sacrificing my appearance or experiencing a heat stroke?” Enter: The seersucker suit.

Don’t let the name fool you – this piece isn’t quit as flamboyant and ‘out there’ as it sounds! When it comes to summer-ready suits, this bad boy is as classic as it gets.

 

What is Seersucker, Anyways?

Crated using a unique cotton with a woven puckered appearance, seersucker fabric often features vertical pinstripes. It is lightweight and breathable enough to wear in the hot, hot heat. The puckering allows for better air circulation while you wear it – who would’ve thought?

man in blue seersucker suit

 

Originally made popular during the British Colonial Period, seersucker was once worn by laborers and servants in India to fight the heat. The name seersucker actually comes from the Persian “shir o shakkar” or “shir o sheker,” meaning “milk and sugar.”  This comes from the alternating smooth and textured stripes that naturally occur in seersucker fabric.

After it was brought to the Americas in the 19th century, it first became associated with blue collar workers, as it was often railroad and oil workers who sported this fabric on the job. However, this whole opinion on seersucker was turned on its head when designer Joseph Haspel crafted the first seersucker suit in a sharp style that high-class gentlemen could wear around sweltering New Orleans. Soon the style evolved and became accessible for all classes and was sported by white and blue-collar workers alike.

 

How to Style a Seersucker Suit

Like all clothing, it all really comes down to how you wear it. When styled incorrectly, a seersucker suit can quickly take a downward turn, looking more like fancy pajamas or an outdated costume. But when done right, you’d be hard-pressed to find something that looks more clean-cut and debonair, regardless of the occasion.

So, let’s discuss some areas where it’s common for gents to trip up in styling their seersucker suit…

 

ISSUE #1 – THE FIT

Having an improper fit is the easiest way to make the nicest seersucker suit look cheap and haggard. Like any suit, always opt to have it tailored to fit your body in a flattering way to keep your appearance sharp and polished.

 

ISSUE #2 – THE FABRIC QUALITY

Because of the manufacturing process, true seersucker is very difficult and expensive to make. Some companies do try to cheat this system, creating cheap imitations that look horribly bargain-basement. Always make sure that you are buying the real deal when it comes to seersucker – the fabric texture, print, and pucker will tell the real story.

Seersucker fabric should feel soft to the touch with a slight pucker to it. If you find yourself trying on a stiff seersucker suit or one that looks overly rumpled, it’s probably not the highest quality. Additionally, pay attention to the print – seersucker suits typically have a preppy striped pattern to them. If the striping of the suit looks mismatched or warped due to the pucker, it could be just another imitation.

 

ISSUE #3 – NOT PAIRING YOUR PIECES CORRECTLY

When it comes to sporting a seersucker suit, there are a few key pieces that you should be wearing: a blazer, pants, and a simple white shirt. Of course, you can switch up the white shirt depending on how casual you want your appearance to be, but this paired with a white shirt should be the default way to wear a seersucker suit.

man in blue seersucker suit sitting on table

 

ISSUE #4 – THE WRONG ACCESSORIES

When it comes to wearing a seersucker suit, how you coordinate your accessories can make or break your look. Here are some quick and easy tips for pairing them perfectly with your favorite seersucker suit.

 

Shoes and Socks

Look for something more traditional and understated with this type of suit or else you’ll risk looking costume-y.  Spectators or penny loafers are a great option when it comes to footwear. If you want to go super casual, throw on a pair of clean sneakers.

With this type of suit, you can totally skip the traditional ‘match your socks to the color of your suit’ rule. Because it’s so casual, feel free to bust out those crazy patterned socks that otherwise wouldn’t get too much love. Whatever you do, don’t skip the socks – you are wearing a suit, after all!

 

Belts and Suspenders

Feel free to go as casual or as formal as you’d like here – seersucker goes with any type of belt!

man in light blue seersucker suit outside with hatIf your pants don’t come with the traditional belt loops, you can definitely rock suspenders here. Look for traditional colors that don’t clash with your suit, such as red or black.

 

Bowties and Ties

Good news, guys – you can totally pick either here. A bowtie has a more traditional look where a tie will have you looking more dapper and subdued. Whichever your poison, they’ll work like a charm with a seersucker suit.

 

ISSUE #5 – WHERE YOU WEAR IT

Not so much a fit or styling issue, where you wear your seersucker suit can be a one-way street to problem city. This piece will likely be out of place in most modern professional offices unless you’re somewhere a little more laidback with the dress code. Try wearing this style of suit to an outdoor event, such as a semi-formal summertime wedding or graduation instead. 

 

All in all, it really doesn’t take any sort of special flair to pull off a seersucker suit. This totally versatile fabric is perfect for the heat of the summer months ahead and offers endless mix-and-match opportunities. Just be yourself and don’t be afraid to play around with your look and you’re totally set for anything that comes your way.

 

Editor’s Note: This blog post was updated August 7, 2018.

 

35 Comments

  1. I just wanted to concur with all comments on the Seer Sucker Suit. I own six of them and they are one of the most versitle suits I own. They’re practically maintenance free, keep you cool and never fail to set me apart whenever I decide to wear one. In my opinion every man should own at least one.

  2. This style used to be a Summer staple. After last year it seems to have regained it’s respect and fashion to stylish gents. Not only suits, but trousers & shorts as well! Has been a staple for me for years!

  3. Thank you for sharing your feedback with us, Wil and Teddy!

    We are happy to hear that you are both fans of Seersucker.

  4. Could anyone suggest color and style of footwear for the blue and white Seer sucker suit?

  5. Great question, Dirk!

    We recommend wearing a brown or a cordovan colored shoe with our blue seersucker suit. Please click on the links below to see a few examples of what style shoe we recommend.

    Italian Spectator Shoe
    http://bit.ly/gYvAuD

    Italian Leather Performance Oxford Shoe
    http://bit.ly/gNcACw

    Italian Leather Woven Oxford Shoe
    http://bit.ly/gp0TIN

    If we can be of any further assistance, please let us know!

  6. Could you suggest a nice tie and footwear for the black seersucker suit on your website. The tie on the picture matches beautifully but is not in stock. Thanks

  7. Will someone please tell me the name of the model on Paul Fredrick’s summer catalog. I see him everywhere, and he is super sharp!!!

  8. Thank you for your question, princess!

    We agree that the model on the cover of our Summer catalog is very sharp; however, we are not able to disclose his name.

  9. Good information….I have two s/s…….stylish all the way

  10. Thanks for sharing, Jazz!

  11. What is a good shoe for a red and white seersucker suit? I was thinking a black and white specatator or loafer. Any thoughts?

  12. Great question, Bryan!

    You could actually wear either black or brown shoes with the red and white seersucker suit. It is really a matter of personal preference as to which color you like better with the suit.

    Our Spectator shoe in either grey or brown would be perfect for the seersucker suit. To view this shoe, please click here.

    If you prefer to stay with shades of black/grey but do not wish to wear a Spectator shoe, we would recommend a Monk Strap shoe – such as our item #FPF107D in grey or item #FSF101D in black.

    If we can be of any further assistance, please let us know!

  13. Do you know where I can get a tan or darker khaki seersucker, preferably a 3-piece?

  14. Thank you for your inquiry, JBrown! Unfortunately, we do not have a tan or darker khaki seersucker suit available at this time.

    I viewed a few different websites and was unable to locate a darker tan or khaki seersucker suit. Most clothing companies, including us, are getting ready to introduce their new collections for the Holiday season. Seersucker is usually only offered in the Spring and Summer seasons.

    I’m sorry we were unable to provide you with what you were looking for. If you have any additional questions, please let us know.

  15. Will you be offering your full line of seersucker suits again in 2012?

  16. Thank you for your question, Matt! We will be offering our full line of Seersucker suits again in our upcoming Summer Collection, which will be introduced on our website and in our catalogs in mid-April.

    If you have any additional questions, please let us know!

  17. I’m heading to a wedding and need some advice on a seersucker question. I want to wear my jacket (white/blue stripe) with dark navy blue pinstripe trousers. Does this work? It looks like it does but I always like a second opinion on my first attempt combos.

  18. Thank you for your question, Josiah!

    We do not recommend mixing the stripe of the Seersucker jacket with a different striped trouser as this unfortunately will not be the best match. When choosing not to wear the matching Seersucker suit trousers, your best option will be to wear a solid pair of trousers.

    If we can be of any further assistance, please let us know!

  19. Would a brown/cognac colored shoe go with a gray/white seersucker suit?

  20. I have a tan and white seersucker suit. I am looking for a good shirt and tie combination. was thinking some sort of ligther green shirt and not sure about tie. Any suggestions?

  21. Thank you for your question, John! A pair of cognac colored shoes would certainly be acceptable to wear with a grey/white suit.

    If you have any additional questions, please let us know!

  22. Thank you for your question, Joe! Unfortunately, we do not have a solid green dress shirt available at this time.

    It is difficult to make suggestions without seeing the exact shade of tan the suit is. However, here are two options that should work for you:

    Any of our solid white dress shirts with our Pink Textured Stripe Necktie. To tie it all together you could also wear the matching Pink Geometric Pocket Square.

    The second option would be our Lavender Textured Herringbone Stripe Dress Shirt and the matching Orange Plaid Necktie.

    I hope one of these options appeals to you. If you have any questions or need further assistance, please feel free to call us at 1-800-247-1417. Any of our representatives will be happy to assist you.

  23. I’m going to an outdoor wedding in New England and have chosen a blue & white seersucker suit to wear to the occasion. It has a dark blue pocket square, and I chose two ties to go with it – one dark blue and the other lighter blue. Since “hats and other bygone flourishes” are encouraged at this particular event I’ve picked out a straw trilby with a thin dark brown hatband.

    The question I have is: what color shoes should I purchase? I’ve read dozens of opinions online that say only white or brown is acceptable. But I’ve also seen a few that say solid black is ok too. Since I can’t imagine ever buying a white dress shoe, my choices are brown or black. Is one choice ‘better’ than the other?

  24. Great question, Greg!

    We feel that a medium brown shoe will be the best match for you since the straw hat you are wearing has a dark brown band. Black would work with the suit if your hat had a black band and you played off of that; however, we would stay with a brown shoe since you already set the tone with your accessory.

    If you have any other questions, please let us know!

  25. Can you make a recommendation or guidelines on socks, belt or suspenders and tie for a basic blue seer sucker suit.

  26. We would be happy to help with some recommendations! We have both the light blue Botanical Silk Suspenders or the white Italian Textured Leather Belt. For the tie, we have two options that would match back to the suit, the pink Seersucker Stripe Woven Silk Tie or the pink and blue Seersucker Stripe Woven Silk Pre-tied Bow Tie.

  27. What color shirt(s) match a bule pinstriped seersucker suit?

  28. Thank you for your question, Ron! You actually have many options that will match the blue seersucker suit. Of course, our basic white and light blue dress shirts would match; however, you could also wear a light yellow, light pink or even a light purple dress shirt as well.

    If wearing a white dress shirt, you could also wear a sweater (like our Pima cotton in either the vest or the long sleeve v-neck) in yellow or blue over the dress shirt.

    If you have any additional questions, please feel free to email us at custserv@paulfredrick.com or call us at 1-800-247-1417. Any of our representatives will be happy to assist you.

  29. I have a red seersucker suite and will being wearing brown saddle shoes. I wanted to know if any other color shirts, besides white, are exceptable? Also; this will be for a wedding and was wondering if a tie or bowtie is more excepatable, along with the preferred colors? Thank you.

  30. Thanks for the questions, Jason! With a red seersucker, we would recommend either a white shirt or a light (powder) blue. Either a bow tie or standard neck tie would work. With a white shirt, a red or red and white tie would work. With a blue shirt, you could wear a blue and red tie or a blue and white tie.

  31. My brother suggested I might like this blog.

    He was entirely right. This post actually made my day.
    You cann’t imagine just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  32. Thank you, Lashawnda! We are happy to hear that you enjoyed our post.

  33. Will Paul Frederick be carrying the pink doublebreasted seersucker for the spring on 2016?

  34. Hi Jimmy! Unfortunately, we will not be offering the pink color in our seersucker suit collection this spring. The colors being offered are blue and brown. You can view them on our website by clicking here.

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