Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Not All Puckered out Seersucker's Back in Fashion and Ready to Go Anywhere, Anytime, Almost Any Way

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Not All Puckered out Seersucker's Back in Fashion and Ready to Go Anywhere, Anytime, Almost Any Way

Article excerpt

It's difficult to take seriously any fabric with a name that seems more suited for an insect than a man's suit.

But after years of exile in the summer bathrobe department, seersucker - that lightweight puckered fabric - is aiming again for a place of distinction among men's suits.

Whether they are double-breasted, three-buttoned or oversized, seersucker suits and blazers are part of the spring and summer lines from designers such as Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren, prestige stores such as Neiman Marcus and Brooks Brothers and some mass-market manufacturers.

So far, it's selling well, stores say.

Seersucker has a long history in America, and it must struggle to escape powerful associations with older Southern gentlemen and obnoxious preppies.

For instance, can one speak of seersucker and not have visions of "Matlock"? Could Tennessee Williams have written "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" without seersucker?

You can't change history, but seersucker is making over its past.

"What makes it fashion this season is that lines like Hermes are introducing it in a three-button model. And Dolce & Gabbana are taking seersucker and adding a little Lycra to it to make it a hip thing," says Michael Skidmore, vice president of men's couture and sportswear at Barneys New York.

Seersucker hip? Lycra?

"It's how you wear it," says Skidmore. The same suit could go to court or the tennis court with different shirts and accessories. "In the past, it's always been worn with a solid shirt and a silk knit tie," he says.

Edward Turco, Brooks Brothers' vice president of men's clothing, says that seersucker suits actually have been a part of the distinguished gentleman's wardrobe since about 1930. Back then, as now, the suit of choice was often a double-breasted, natural-shoulder suit in a blue-and-white stripe. And it's often accessorized the same: "With a button-down broadcloth shirt with a bow tie," says Turco.

Tommy Hilfiger showed a seersucker suit worn the traditional way at his spring show, providing a baseline for his modern interpretations. …

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