The most unexpected – and, let’s be honest, unwearable – menswear fabric of the season is lace. Which kind of makes sense: it’s aerated, to cool down the body; it’s lightweight; it looks great in white. Nevertheless, it’s probably best left on the catwalks – and will probably wind up left on the sale rail too.
The thing is, when summer hits you don’t just want clothes that are physically light and carefree – they have to have that woven into their ideology too. That’s why there’s an alternative undercurrent of practicality to sporing menswear – with traditional fabrics such as seersucker rearing their heads once again as a tried and tested way of staying fresh and dry.
Made from woven cotton that bunches together to give it its recognisable puckered appearance, seersucker is raised slightly off your body.
The result? It has an almost miraculous cooling effect on your clammy sweaty skin. And this actually goes a long way to explaining as to why it’s always been so popular in those hot southern states of America; unflustered gentleman, with impeccable manners, feel it’s almost obligatory to sport some form of seersucker in the summer heat. Sipping on a mint julep, on the other hand, is optional.
Back in the UK – where we’re always promised a BBQ summer that invariably fails to materialise – it’s still simple enough to add seersucker as separates, such as shorts and shirts, into your already existent summer wardrobe. But wearing the whole shebang as a suit in a more urban environment, without looking as though you’re heading off to hit those bass notes at a Barbershop convention, isn’t that easy. The traditional light blue and white colour scheme is perhaps a tad too flamboyant for the city and really only looks appropriate if worn at a summer wedding somewhere tropical.
Mercifully, navy seersucker is now found in droves on the high street, and you’d be hard pushed to find a man who doesn’t look good in navy. Just don’t drink too many of those mint juleps.