When Can a Southerner Break Out the Seersucker?

The men behind Gilt MANual answer your most pressing style questions.

If you live in the Deep South, when can you start wearing seersucker and poplin suits?

The vast majority of clothing fabrics were originally developed, and have historically been worn, to complement the elements of a particular climate. It’s no coincidence, for example, that some of the warmest wools in the world come from the freezing, windswept islands of the British archipelago. Seersucker and poplin, two cotton fabrics that originated in sweltering India and the south of France, respectively, handle the unique form of heat and humidity that’s also found in the Deep South quite well. No arbitrary Gregorian calendar should really determine what you’re wearing, although custom has it that Memorial Day and Labor Day mark the appropriate beginning and end of warm-weather fabrics (and colors). With all due respect to New England, the South tends to be a bit more reverential toward tradition than other parts of the continent. Thus, you may want to hold back on going full seersucker in mid-April. Instead, throw on the poplin when the cold temps first break, and ease into the seersucker as Memorial Day approaches. Remember: Seersucker stands out. Get it fitted close and avoid pastels; stick with rich, primary colors. Unless, of course, you’re headed to the Derby—in that case, have a julep and go seersucker crazy.

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  1. Paul says:

    We always went by the rule of Easter being the day you can break it out… that’s when I’m going for it.

  2. Matthew says:

    Concur with Paul, Easter’s traditionally the day. Though I will add that if you’re a Southerner and have to ask a bunch of Yankees when you’re allowed to wear seersucker then your seersucker rights should probably be revoked.

  3. Matt says:

    I agree. As a Georgian living in south Carolina, the only rule I have ever heard is Easter. Also, you need to clarify which memorial day. In the South we have 2.

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