Sunday, May 3, 2009

Southern Souvenirs: Day 3 - Seersucker

In 1907, a New Orleans clothier created a light-weight suit made from blue and white striped cotton which he named "seersucker", from the Persian words ‘milk and sugar’. The fabric was originally worn only by the poor in the U.S. until it was made popular by college students. Soon after, it quickly became mandatory summer attire for Southerners.

Seersucker even made it’s way to Washington as a result from the need to make hot Washington summers bearable for Southern senators. During the summer months in Washington, Southern senators would trade in their dark wool suits for lighter garments made of linen and cotton. With the introduction of air-conditioning the wearing of seersucker in Washington was forgotten until the late 1990s when Mississippi Senator Trent Lott decided to revive the tradition by selecting a "nice and warm" day in the beginning of June he named Seersucker Thursday. Seersucker Thursday is still honored by all Southern senators each June in Washington.

In the South, it is only appropriate to wear seersucker between Easter and Labor Day and widely considered a fashion faux-pas to wear it any other time. The most common color for seersucker is white and blue, although there are other colors available.

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