5 Things You Didn’t Know About Seersucker
- Seersucker first became popular in Great Britain’s warm-weather colonies like British India.
- It was called shirushakar in India, or shir o shakka, Persian for “milk and sugar,” according to the Encyclopedia of Textiles. This was probably from the resemblance of its smooth and rough stripes to the smooth texture of milk and the bumpy texture of sugar. The English anglicized the word into seersucker.
- The fabric is very breathable and light, which is why it first became popular in the warmer southern states here in the U.S.—Joseph Haspel is credited with designing the first seersucker suit at his Broad Street facility in New Orleans.
- The traditional fabric is blue and white, but you can also find seersucker in a variety of other colors.
- Senator Trent Lott started a U.S. Congress tradition called “Seersucker Thursday” in 1996, encouraging senators to wear the striped suits for National Seersucker Day in order to show that “the Senate isn’t just a bunch of dour folks wearing dark suits and—in the case of men— red or blue ties.” In the early 20th century before Congress had air conditioning, lawmakers would routinely wear seersucker to stay cool in the summer months.