Thursday 20 August 2015


Happy National Seersucker Day! Today is the official day of the fabric made to keep men cool in the hot hot summer. In honor of this auspicious day we talked to Sam Shipley, designer for Haspel, the brand that invented the seersucker suit. We asked Shipley how to properly adorn yourself in those little rippled stripes without looking like a schlub or your Colonel Sanders.
What in your opinion are the five most egregious seersucker mistakes?
Oh man, getting somebody who designs in seersucker to talk down on anything about it is tough. But, okay i would say number one, obvious, biggest one is fit. Seersucker is a vertical stripe, it has volume and it's not a very drapy fabric. So if it's not nice and fitted to your true body size, it can look pretty ridiculous. If you're gonna wear a full suit,or any part of a suit it's gotta be nice and tailored.
So are there rules for tailoring? I mean know a Haspel suit comes with a great fit, but if you find yourself needing to take it to the tailor, are there certain rules for seersucker that wouldn't apply to like a solid color?
Well anything that's striped elongates your torso. It can be advantageous or it can look too long. You don't want to over-exaggerate length, so you want to make sure that your sleeves are at the proper height. When it comes to the hem, in my opinion since it's the summer, I wouldn't have a break in the pants, I would definitely have them be ankle high.

How about seersucker shorts?
I'm a huge fan of seersucker shorts, but they've gotta be washed and worn in.The more stiff and baggy, the more they kind of look like columns. You want to look for something that has a nice garment wash, or you wash it yourself and try to dress it a little more casually. As opposed to the suit fit, the short has to look comfortable as opposed to dressed up.
What do you think about seersucker accessories, ballcaps, stuff like that?
In terms of accessories, you want to look for a high quality fabric, generally, it's got more density to it, feels a little bit thicker. Anything made out of that fabric is going to hold its shape, going to look higher quality, and is going to come off looking like something that's expensive as opposed to something that's cheap.
Should you wear seersucker to your wedding?
Yeah, I actually got married wearing a seersucker suit. It was a little different than a traditional seersucker suit. If you're gonna get married in a seersucker suit, I would suggest exploring other options than just a traditional blue and white. There are the traditional colors, blue and white, red and white, tan and white, gray and white, but there are also navy and black, and olive, tonal blues, and multi stripes. There's check, there's basic black with puckering. Obviously on your wedding day you don't want to be wearing a costume. You want to be wearing something that makes you feel special, away from the Kentucky Derby vibe, and more into personal style.
How do you take care of seersucker?
Well actually seersucker's a very sturdy fabric, I mean it was created for workwear in its beginnings. It takes pretty good care of itself, I would say in terms of the suit, you might think you should wash it 'cause it's cotton. But don't do that, you want to make sure you take a seersucker suit in to get dry cleaned when you clean it. Wool is a lot more resistant toward staining, and all the different things that make a suit dirty, but since seersucker is cotton, you want to make sure you're taking it into dry cleaning quite often. I would also say another don't is never, ever wear a seersucker suit with a seersucker tie. It should be an obvious one, but I've seen it, and it's just something you should never do.
What tie would you wear with it?
Personally, I like to wear my seersucker suits with a t-shirt, it sort of makes them a little bit less traditional and more fun. But if I was dressed up I'd wear a really nice white shirt and I would pick a non-traditional tie, something that's got a texture to it that isn't seersucker, maybe even a great linen tie.
I'm sure that there are many opinions about what shoes you should wear with your seersucker suit. What are some cool alternatives to a dress shoe?
At Shipley & Halmos we made these very great, very light, one-piece suede chukkas that had a more pointed toe. We obviously don't make those anymore, but I think Pierre Cardin does, and those are really great, because it's a casual dress shoe but at the same time it has sort of a nice shaped toe, as opposed to sort of a blunted toe on what we all think of on a J. Crew chukka, but I have found that those look great with that, if you didn't have a break in the pant, if it was a little bit higher of a pant. Something that comes up a little bit higher that has a narrow, like a narrow sole, it's kind of a good look, and I can choose, a tan color there or navy. But obviously, your suggestion is probably what I would lean to.
Can you wear seersucker with sneakers?
If you did, you could roll up with like a pair of Stan Smiths and really just own it. I have seen some guys that wear really nice leather sandals with seersucker that have looked really good. Also, hurraches, (a leather sandal that's woven) would look really good with it. In terms of sneakers, you really have to say "I'm doing this"...I wouldn't suggest anything that's clunky, I would go with like an Air Max, something more streamlined. You know what would look really great? High-top chucks, if you did it right, like a red white and blue traditional chucks. Go for a hem that's right for regular dress shoe, it will work the same with a chuck, it will just show a little bit of the fact that it's a high top, and I think that would look really good. I might actually do that
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