The Seersucker: Figuring out Spring Fashion

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Spring is here and we can all lighten up. In honor of the recent seasonal developments I’ve decided to switch up the format into question and answer.

Q: Most of the clothes I own are what you might call winter style. Everything is on the darker side, mostly blacks and grays. What should my first step into spring be if I am starting from zero?

A: Well, the problem with only owning darker shades is that winter clothing can be a bit too severe for the sunny months. Perhaps the best, and most versatile, first step into the polychromatic world of summertime is a lightweight suit. You don’t need to go full southern gentleman and buy a khaki double breasted, but there is a middle ground between Don Draper and Colonel Sanders. Cotton and linen blended jackets are in a renaissance as of late, and the patterned offerings by Billy Reid and Michael Bastian offer some inspiration. Lightweight jackets should feel like weekend wear: fun and personal, so don’t feel trapped within the typical gray or navy choice. That being said, there are plenty of great navy cotton jersey jackets and suits if you strongly prefer the darker shades. Cotton jersey is light and breathes, but does not have the same thin and breezy consistency of linen. Seersucker, another cotton fabric, is a lightweight and inexpensive porous cotton fabric that is popular among politicians down south. It is also the name of this column, fully endorsed.

Q: I dislike linen. I have a linen shirt that always wrinkles whenever I wear it, and that just looks messy. How can I keep my linen from wrinkling?

A: You cannot keep linen from wrinkling unless you commit to complete statuesque stasis. The wrinkles that cause linen’s dishevelment are a part of its character as a fabric. If you are overly concerned with fussiness and order then linen probably is not for you. You need to be an easy going type and perhaps less self conscious than most. Think Johnny Depp rather than R. Lee Ermey.

Q: I prefer to wear layers most of the time, but it is hard to do that when it is hot out. I just feel like wearing a single layer looks boring. Is it possible to layer up in the summer?

A: Billy Reid once said that his father always wore an undershirt because it kept him cooler somehow. Billy Reid and his father hail from Alabama, and it’s plenty hot down there in the summer. I say if layers are more comfortable for you then definitely make an effort to stack up thin layers. I only advise that you should keep every individual layer as thin as possible, because when a single layer is too thick you risk moderate discomfort. As a rule of thumb you should be able to crease any fabric you are wearing in your hand with the exception of rainproof outerwear when it is hot enough to make you sweat.