Thursday, June 18, 2009

It's Seersucker Thursday Y'all

And you thought it was just another Thursday...pish!

Anyone who has spent a summer moment in D.C. knows how the heat can be downright oppressive. Prior to the God-send of air conditioning, senators hailing from the South shed their wool black frock coats for lighter linen and cotton attire. Northern colleagues took note.

In 1909, New Orleans clothier Joseph Haspel made summer wear more comfortable by designing a light-weight suit in pale blue and white striped rumpled cotton fabric.

He named that fabric "seersucker," a cotton that was based on a silk derivation from India popular during the British colonial period. In Persian it is called "Shir Shakkar," which loosely translates into "milk and sugar." The milk described the smooth parts of the material, while the sugar was a metaphor for the texture commonly referred to as "dimples" or "puckers."

Seersucker suits became widely popular because of their wash and wearability, made very necessary in the humid summer.

In the late 1990s, Mississippi Senator Trent Lott revived the long-forgotten Senate tradition. Selecting a day in June to be designated Seersucker Thursday, Senator Lott along with several other Southern Senators donned their seersucker. Three cheers for Trent!

Trent third from left. Lovin' that pink tie!

Today, senators happily make this annual fashion statement in the spirit of harmony. Imagine that? It is also a gentle reminder to their colleagues of what Senates from days past considered proper (read: required) summer attire. Ahem.

All in favor...?

Yours relishing this fashion/political history moment,

Mrs. News Readin'

We now return to your regularly scheduled program.


leslie ruth said...

This reminds me that I do not currently own any seersucker items of my own. A tragedy, no? Now if only I could get my TX cowboy of a husband into a seersucker suit...

{Thanks for the comment on my "Heartbreak" post...I'm with you. A hiatus should have been taken at some point. I pretty much plan on boycotting TLC at this point too. They did nothing but encourage all this.}

thepreppyprincess said...

I cannot believe I missed this, seriously, I thought it was on my calendar. Waaah! Fun post Miss News Readin', we think those Haspel folks are just the bee's knees.

Smiles your way,

Legallyblondemel said...

Hear, hear! What a fantastic idea, and I love knowing the history behind the fashion.

You don't see much seersucker back in my native lands; my family sported it, but I haven't seen it out in full force until I came here to Texas. It's popular here amongst a certain set, and I couldn't be more in favor.

Stereos and Souffles said...

My uncle wore a seersucker suit to my garden wedding in June 2004 and I thought he was the best dressed guest.