CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- In the summer heat, men put their wool suits aside to don a lighter fabric. A favorite is seersucker, a rumpled cotton fabric. The blue and white thin-stripe pattern is still the most common, but many other colors have become popular in recent years. In addition to being light and breathable, the fabric holds up to the frequent laundering that may be required during a humid summer.
Seersucker has taken many turns in fashion: first as an inexpensive, functional fabric for the working class; and then as a fashion statement in a variety of places, geographically and socioeconomically.
Seersucker has done what denim and other fabrics have done: crossed over from function to fashion and lived in both worlds simultaneously.
Before air-conditioned interior spaces within the U.S. Capitol, senators from Southern states taught others in the Senate chamber the way of the seersucker.
In the late 1990s, the tradition of seersucker summers were revived with the institution of "Seersucker Thursday," the third Thursday in June each year.
After stumbling upon a webpage about this tradition five years ago, Charleston retailer and tailor Anthony Paranzino decided to host Seersucker Thursday festivities at his store, Tony the Tailor, at 107 Hale St. (soon moving to 822 Virginia St. E.).
On June 20, more than 50 people attended Paranzino's fifth Seersucker Thursday celebration to enjoy food and drinks and see Paranzino's fabrics and offerings. The celebration also was good for business.