A Tribute To Seersucker

With panache and "as much balls as those who wear it", Seersucker is the cloth favoured by such legends as Gregory Peck, Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant and Dean Martin.
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With panache and "as much balls as those who wear it", Seersucker is the cloth favoured by such legends as Gregory Peck, Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant and Dean Martin.

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“Every stylish man should invest in a nice bit of seersucker,” stresses tailor Mark Powell. “It’s got as much balls as those who wear it.” Indeed gone are the days when a fellow might be accused of wearing his mum’s kitchen curtains while sporting seersucker - the bumpy striped pastel and white  cloth once favoured by mega nerds and Yankee golfers. “Classic seersucker is a cotton polyester mix,” explains tailor Charlie Allen. “That is why you can bung it in a washing machine, tumble dry it, pull it out and put it on.”

The fabric, as we now know it, first made an appearance in 1907 when New Orleanian Joseph Haspel used it to create a totally wash and wear suit. Seized upon by the sweaty south the cloth soon became the stock in trade for Mississippi gamblers, lawyers, and politicians.  “Don’t forget almost every stylish American male star has worn it in the past,’ attests Powell who has long fielded the cloth in his collections.“Gregory Peck, Cary Grant, Dean Martin, Sinatra and, James Dean.” Yet, even though considered quintessentially American the cloth was  originally an expensive silk and linen concoction from India that, heftily favoured in the 19th Century by the British Raj, owed its curious moniker to a Hindi corruption of a Persian phrase, shyroshakar- that refers to the alternating rough and smooth textures of the stripes - and literally means, ‘milk and sugar.’ Not a lot of people know that.

www.markpowellbespoke.co.uk
www.charlieallen.co.uk

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