Know Your Terms: Seersucker

Because dropping the lingo is half the fun of dressing well.

Milk and Sugar, magnified.

Contrary to popular belief, seersucker is not a pattern but a type of fabric. Traditionally made of cotton (though now frequently rendered in rayon or other synthetics), the famously puckered texture of the vertical stripes (or, occasionally, gingham) is achieved by a strenuous method called slack tension weaving. The alternating smooth and rough “hand” of the stripes is the source of the name—which comes from the Persian (via Hindi) shirushekar, meaning “milk and sugar,” and has been used historically to describe the way fabrics that alternate between smooth (like milk) and rough (like sugar) feel to the touch. Us? Pulling on a seersucker suit makes us thirsty for summertime and a pink gin.

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