Although the seersucker suit and jacket were once a thing of the past, they seem to be making a comeback recently. If you pay any attention to male celebrity looks on the red carpet, you’ll see that these suits can not only be fashionable, but they can also make men look very gentlemanly.
However, the suits aren’t as common as they once were, so it can be a struggle to learn how to wear one. They don’t fit quite the same as a regular suit and it can be easy to go overwhelm a look with the wrong tie or shoes.
Fortunately, we’re giving you this guide to teach you how to wear a seersucker suit the right way, including the right shoes, ties, and other accessories to add to complete your manly look.
- What is a Seersucker Suit?
- History of Seersucker Suits
- How to Wear a Seersucker Suit
- How to Wear a Seersucker Jacket
- Caring for Your Seersucker Suit and Jacket
- Helpful Designer Tips
What is a Seersucker Suit?
Just what is a seersucker suit, exactly? Many people today have never heard of a seersucker suit or jacket, let alone how to wear a seersucker suit!
The seersucker looks like a typical suit in the way it’s designed, but the difference is in its weave. You’ll notice that a seersucker suit has an interesting 100% cotton fabric that puckers in some places, causing it to be bumpy and have a striped appearance. Some seersucker jackets have more of a checkered pattern than striped, but stripes are most common.
Seersucker – a lightweight fabric with a crimped or puckered surface.
The puckering of the material causes it to drape a bit differently over the body. In fact, it’s usually a bit looser on men than other suits, which can make it feel roomier and more breathable, but it can also tend to hang off the body if you don’t have it fitted correctly.
Some men choose to wear the seersucker when they know they’re going somewhere that might be hot, like a cramped wedding reception, or during the summer months. That’s because the puckered material keeps more of the fabric off the body to make room for air. Many suits of this type are, therefore, pretty colorful, matching the warmer seasons of spring and summer.
History of Seersucker Suits
The seersucker has roots that trace back to the British colonial era. You’ve probably seen a few illustrations of men wearing this type of suit in school history books. The warm weather British colonies, especially, loved how lightweight the fabric was, perfect for keeping them cool when the sun was hot.
It wasn’t until closer to the early 20th century, though, that the United States started seeing these suits more often on men. In fact, when you think of the way men dressed in the 10s and 20s, you probably think of them in a seersucker jacket and dress pants.
Seersuckers weren’t just for those who wanted to dress up though. Railroad and oil workers also got in on the action, typically wearing blue and white seersucker fabric for their jackets and hats. The most notable train operator symbol, a blue and white striped hat, was made from seersucker.
The southern United States particularly enjoyed this fashion trend because of the area’s warm climate. Around the same time, more political figures began demonstrating how to wear a seersucker jacket properly when you’re in a position of power. Not surprisingly, though, as technology made air conditioning readily available, fewer men opted for the lighter suit options.
How to Wear a Seersucker Suit
Now that you know what a seersucker jacket and suit are, it’s time to learn how to wear a seersucker suit. There are a lot of ways one can work, but the truth is that this suit can be tricky for men to pull off. The fit will be different than what you’re used to with other suits, and it can be easy to go from manly and fashion-forward to boyish with the wrong accessories.
The Modern Seersucker Suit
Modern seersucker suits break from the traditional blue and white striping that you’re used to seeing on old-fashioned suits. They now incorporate a variety of color, from bright pinks to pastel greens to neutral browns and beiges. Some men opt for a black or gray striping that can look quite debonair on celebrities and businessmen.
When the trend first originated in the United States, it was common to see men wearing a bow tie with their suits. Now, the trend is either to wear a coordinating tie for dressing up the suit or making it more casual while going tieless. Some men even opt to wear just a seersucker blazer with regular dress pants, or a seersucker shirt without a blazer rather than going full-on with a seersucker suit.
You’ll also notice that the fit of these suits has changed over the years and is more important than ever. It was once acceptable for a seersucker suit to be a bit loose. However, the modern seersucker is as fitted as can be. Fortunately, the material can still keep you cool, but you may need to opt for a tailor to keep the suit snug and sleek.
Where to Buy a Seersucker Suit
If you’re ready to shell out some cash for a seersucker suit, then be prepared to have a good chunk of money saved. These suits can be expensive, but higher-priced suits often reflect the high quality you get.
Less expensive suits may warp to the point that they look wrinkled and sloppy, whereas a quality seersucker will maintain its shape and fit.
It’s also not an easy task to find seersuckers today because the material is time-consuming and costly to make. Below are some of the manufacturers that still produce seersucker clothing:
Brooks Brothers makes a few seersucker suits that are priced around $500 and lean toward a classic, somewhat relaxed fit. You can also purchase shirts, pants, and blazers made of the material.
JoS. A. Bank
JoS. A. Bank offers some of the highest quality seersucker suits that you can find for the price. If you’re not 100% confident in how you’ll feel about one once you buy it, you might want to start here. Pick up an inexpensive one and try it out before shelling out the big bucks.
Haspel is the original creator of the seersucker suit in the United States, founded back in 1909! You can find suits in a variety of colors here, but Haspel has also branched out into creating other favorite menswear items, like shirts and shorts, with the fabric.
Some department stores in your local mall may also carry seersucker suits. Macy’s, for example, offers both classic and slim-fitting suits in different price ranges to match your budget.
When to Wear Seersucker
Since the origin of the seersucker suit began to combat warm weather, men usually only wore the material during warm months. However, new trends prove that you can wear seersucker whenever you feel like it, and for practically any occasion.
Haspel, for example, has seersucker shirts that double as activewear that you can wear while walking or biking.
Some men keep their look dressed down by opting for a seersucker shirt paired with jeans. Others go for a full seersucker look with pants, a shirt, and blazer using the material. When it’s cold outside, a regular suit blazer over a seersucker shirt can also work.
These suits can also fit in well in the office, depending on how formal or casual your workplace is.
It’s a common misconception that seersuckers can seem too playful for the workplace. Although that can be true if you aren’t careful, it is possible to create a pulled-together look that looks just as professional as a regular suit.
Seersuckers are made from 100% cotton fabric, which lends to its breathability and comfort. You just won’t find the suits made with anything else.
You also won’t typically see a seersucker jacket with an internal lining like you would on other blazers. The lining would contradict the lightweight breathability that we know and love seersucker for. However, some of these suits do have lining available, so if that’s something you’re specifically looking for, you’re not out of luck.
Seersucker pants are typically a bit heavier than the jackets. This will help them keep their shape over time and not feel flimsy. The good thing about this fabric is that it’s supposed not to look perfect. Small wrinkles and creases are what give it its endearing quality, so don’t be worried if your pants get a bit crinkled.
Shirts to wear with a seersucker suit can vary in material based on your preferences and the look you’re going for. If you want to keep the natural cooling effect of a seersucker jacket, though, it’s a good idea to also opt for a 100% cotton shirt underneath.
Some men love the look of an all-over seersucker suit by adding a shirt with the same fabric, but others like to let the jacket and pants do the talking instead.
The Importance of Fit
We cannot stress enough the importance of achieving the right fit with your suit. Any suit requires the right fit so that it doesn’t squeeze you or make you look as though you’re swimming in it. When seersucker suits aren’t appropriately tailored, though, you’ll end up looking more droopy than suave.
This material fits more loosely than other suit materials, so it doesn’t have a natural form-fitting ability like other suits. You might find that, even though it’s in your usual size, it hangs off you more than the suits you’re used to.
It’s important to note, though, that any seersucker suit is going to feel a bit baggier on you than a regular one. It’s more lightweight and has less structure than other jackets, so it will feel different even when you have it tailored.
If you’re not sure if you have the right fit when you try on your suit, you should head to a trusted tailor for a professional opinion. You might need a little bit more cuffing in the pants and slightly more tailoring in the jacket to create a fit that’s relaxed, but not baggy.
Stripe Color and Width
Some seersucker manufacturers stick with the classic colors of blue and white that people who wore the suits in their trendiest years opted for. However, some branch out into other colors that can really stand out at a wedding or other formal event, like red, green, and yellow.
It’s a good idea to leave the bold colors for fun events and stick with more neutral colors for professional events. A brown, beige, or gray will probably be a better option for a business meeting than a bright purple striped pattern.
The width of your striping can make a difference, too, especially when you’re wearing a suit with a pop of color. Some seersuckers have wide stripes that make the white stripe very noticeable. These suits tend to be more playful and work better for parties and fun events.
A narrower striping has the power to make a suit look a bit more serious. Sometimes, the striping is so thin that your suit may look like a solid color from a distance.
Your choice boils down to both personal preference and your primary purpose for the suit.
The way that you accessorize your seersucker suit can be the difference between a wowing look and one that’s gone wrong. With this type of look, the suit itself should be the standout piece. Everything else should lend to, and support, the look without overpowering it.
This can be challenging to accomplish when you want to look professional or gentlemanly but not go overboard. Since seersuckers already have a natural striped pattern, it’s sometimes tricky matching striped or patterned accessories to the suit.
Here are a few of the most common things to add to your look and how to style them properly:
Seersucker can be relatively versatile, so a lot of different shoe styles can work with the material. Your choice will depend on what overall look you want to achieve: dressed up or dressed down?
A seersucker suit is generally less formal than a tuxedo but more formal than a button-up shirt and slacks. You should aim to have your shoes meet in the middle between casual and formal if you’re opting for a dressed-up look.
Some men can pull off a nice pair of white sneakers when wearing a more casual seersucker look. But, you might want to stay away from going too casual with boat shoes and sandals, which can make the pants look a little awkward around the ankles.
The traditional seersucker style includes matching your socks to one of the stripe colors in your suit for a more uniform look. Choosing a different color can throw the look off if you’re not careful.
If you want to achieve a playful look with your suit, though, you can always play it up by choosing a bright pop of color for your socks. A traditional blue and white suit with a colorful red sock that matches a red tie could lend some fun to your look without making it look haphazard.
However, you might want to stay away from striped or patterned socks that could clash with the striping on your suit. Solid sock colors are usually the best choice for these suits.
For summer looks, going without any socks is an option too.
Almost any kind of belt can go with a seersucker suit. Brown, black, and white belts can match nearly any color suit, or you can match your belt to your shirt, tie, or socks for more pops of color.
Cloth and braided belts that you wouldn’t usually consider wearing with a traditional suit can work with a seersucker if you’re going for a casual look.
Wearing a tie with a seersucker suit isn’t always necessary, especially if you want to dress down your outfit. However, if a tie is a must for the occasion, you’ll need to know what works best with this suit.
The answer? Either a bowtie or necktie can work, but the modern seersucker tends to see more neckties. If you want a more fun, playful look, a bowtie can bring that traditional Southern charm to your look. A necktie is more appropriate for formal or professional events than a bowtie.
The great part is that just about any tie pattern can work with your suit, depending on how you accessorize the rest of your look. It’s not uncommon for men to wear a patterned shirt and tie with similar colors, but they usually keep their belt and shoes more understated.
When it comes to pocket squares for your suit, almost anything goes.
Some men wear pocket squares made of seersucker material in a different color than their suit. Others opt for a solid color that stands out from the rest of the suit, or one that matches one of the suit’s stripe colors. If you don’t have a lot of patterns in your look already, you can even wear a boldly patterned pocket square.
How to Wear a Seersucker Jacket
If wearing a full suit isn’t quite your style, you might want to know when to wear a seersucker blazer on its own instead. Some men do opt for a jacket instead of a suit, and you’ll typically see this trend for casual occasions.
A seersucker jacket is incredibly versatile on its own, giving you a similar look if you were to wear a traditional blazer, but with more of a playful vibe. You can wear a blazer with a cotton shirt and some khakis, for example, for a perfect summer look.
One of the best ways to wear a seersucker blazer is by choosing white jeans or pants and matching your shirt color to the other stripe color in the blazer. Keep it a solid color and lightweight material. The right shoes, tie, and belt can either dress up or down the look for your occasion.
Caring for Your Seersucker Suit and Jacket
Some of the charm of the seersucker suit is in its puckered fabric. This fabric also makes it easy to hide small wrinkles and creases, which can lessen the time you need to spend perfecting your suit before you can wear it. In fact, unlike traditional suits, you’ll probably never have to worry about ironing your seersucker.
Every brand will have specific washing instructions for its suits, so be sure to check the label before washing or drying the suit yourself. Here’s some general advice for washing and drying quality seersuckers:
Since seersucker is made from 100% cotton, the material behaves much like any other cotton piece you have. They’re generally safe to wash in the washing machine using cold water only and a gentle cleanser.
Be sure to wash it on its own because other colors can bleed into the fabric, leaving your white stripes looking dingy.
If you’re concerned about washing the suit yourself, you can always take it to the dry cleaner to ensure that no shrinkage or warping happens during the washing process.
You can usually safely dry your suit on low heat in your dryer. Remove the suit promptly, though, because it can wrinkle quickly. Although some wrinkles are fine, you won’t want your suit to look sloppy. As soon as you remove it, hang it up to prevent further wrinkling.
Alternatively, you can lay your suit flat to dry if you’re concerned about it shrinking in the dryer.
It’s common to have sweat stains appear on your seersucker over time if you didn’t use proper washing methods after every use. Some stain removers may not be appropriate for your suit, though, so it’s best to check with the suit’s manufacturer to determine the best stain-removing route.
Helpful Designer Tips
The true masters of the seersucker suits are the designers who bring them from their creative minds to your home.
Seersucker designers continuously find ways to make this incredible trend work with modern styling so that men can appreciate the seersucker throughout generations.
These styling tips for seersucker suits and pieces are straight from the mouths of designers and manufacturers themselves.
Tips from Laurie Haspel, President of Haspel
Laurie Haspel spoke with The Manual about the modern seersucker and what she believes are some of the best trends with it right now. According to Haspel, one of the key points to remember in fitting your seersucker is its finished shape.
The suit should be slim-fitting without hugging the body too much but should also have some shape to them rather than hang off your body.
As for accessorizing and styling, Haspel believes that almost anything can go with a seersucker if you’re creative enough and do it well.
For example, Haspel recommends wearing your suit pieces separately when an occasion doesn’t call for a full suit and thinking outside the box with something like seersucker pants, a white polo, and a denim jacket.
Tips from Sam Shipley, Designer for Haspel
In a GQ interview, Haspel designer Sam Shipley talked about some of the dos and don’ts when it comes to a seersucker look.
According to Shipley, seersucker shorts can part of a great outfit, but they have to look a certain way to work. Shipley recommends that you break in your shorts a bit before wearing them, or they can end up looking clunky instead of comfortable. A blazer, on the other hand, is something you’ll want to be more fitted, but it should still look comfortable instead of stiff.
Shipley also recommends that, if you want to style separate seersucker pieces with different pants, a shirt, or a blazer of a different material, that you wear one that’s thicker than seersucker. Overdoing the lightweight fabrics can create a sloppy look. The same holds true for accessories like belts, ties, and hats.
JoS. A. Bank, Seersucker Manufacturer
JoS. A. Bank provides some styling tips for men to wear their seersuckers properly for summer styles.
During the summer, the seersucker trend moves from formal to more casual. According to Jos. A. Bank, you may want to choose a more traditional seersucker color for your first one, like blue, white, or tan, to get you used to styling with it.
The idea for summer styles is to keep your overall look casual and comfortable using lightweight fabrics paired with the suit.
Although the traditional seersucker style has been wearing the material as a full suit, JoS. A. Bank says that pairing a stand-out seersucker blazer with understated pants and a shirt is a sure-fire way to make a statement in your summer wardrobe.
If you need something a little dressier for a summer event, you can opt for seersucker pants with a solid polo or dress shirt that matches one of your stripe colors for a pulled-together look.
Be sure, as always, to have your separates appropriately fitted to avoid making your seersucker pieces look baggy.