In an effort to get more use out of my seersucker odd trousers, I recently challenged myself to wear them 5 days in a row and come up with 5 different outfits. Being totally new to seersucker as it’s pretty uncommon in Australia, I started to notice some differences in fabrics that worked well with it and others that didn’t: even if the patterns matched, sometimes the fabric just wasn’t right.
So, here’s my findings thus far. If you’re new to seersucker too, hopefully it’ll ease your learning curve in pairing other garments with it.
The Golden Rule Of Texture
What I’ve largely found is that texture makes all the difference.
Seersucker is a coarse fabric, which oozes texture. As such, it seems to pair best with other pronounced textures.
So far, I’ve found the following fabrics to pair well:
- Linen, both in jacketing and shirting weights.
- Pique cotton (polo shirts).
- Textured cotton tee shirts.
- Oxford cloth button up shirts. Washed oxford shirts are particularly nice in a casual look.
- Lightweight denim, in shirts.
- Hopsack wool jackets/trousers.
- For neckties, go for a knitted tie.
The same deal applies to hats. Go for something with a bit of coarse texture to it, like the recycled coffee sack flat cap I’m wearing in some of the below photos.
What Doesn’t Work (or at least not so well)
- Poplin shirts. I find the texture is too fine and it just doesn’t look right, however if you’re wearing a jacket and tie you can get away with it.
- Formal cotton twill shirts, for the same reason as poplin. I find cotton twill to be less redeemable with the appropriate jacket and tie though, perhaps because the pronounced stripe pattern clashes with the striped variety of seersucker.
- Dressier wools like summer worsteds or twills.
- Jersey cottons (not that they’re something you should wear anyway).
- For neckties, stay away from high-sheen fabrics.
Many seersucker fabrics come in a striped pattern, like the odd trousers featured extensively above. The other common iteration of seersucker is in plain colour, which is easier to pair with whatever you feel like.
When it comes to pairing the striped variation, I’ve found it best to avoid overly patterned shirts, especially stripes. Stripes in similar proportion to the trouser/jacket/suit will make you look like you’re wearing pyjamas, while larger stripes just seem to be a bit much in my opinion.
I’ve found it best to stick to plain coloured pairings, and let the textures do the talking. Striped seersucker is a bold statement and is best left to speak for itself without competing against other patterns in your outfit.
Seersucker is a great summer fabric that I hope to see more style-conscious Australian men make use of. While its coarseness doesn’t lend itself to ultimately comfortable shirts, it’s great for things like trousers and jackets.
On a positive note, I have seen the Polo outlet in Adelaide selling seersucker clothing now, so maybe I will see more of you gents rocking the lovely textures soon!
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