One summer day in 1946, Joseph Haspel, Sr. walked neck deep into the Atlantic Ocean wearing one of his family’s seersucker suits. He emerged from the ocean a part of clothing lore.
Haspel was attending a convention in Boca Raton, Florida, when he took his now famous dip into the sea. Afterwards he hung his suit over his hotel room tub to drip dry. Later that evening, those who had seen him in his unrthodox bathing attire were equally surprised to see him wearing the same suit, and his act was the hit of the Middle South Utilities Inc. banquet.
The seaside plunge, alas, was no personal idiosyncrasy. There was a practical reason for it, namely to demonstrate Haspel’s new easy-care cotton and Orlon suit.
Many readers have likely heard some version of this twice-told tale. We contacted Haspel to ask if it were true, and they were happy to provide this photo documentation. — CHRISTOPHER SHARP (Continue)
In 1996 Mississippi Senator Trent Lott began an annual tradition in Congress called Seersucker Thursday, a bit of bi-partisan frivolity that paid homage to the pre-air-conditioned days of Capitol Hill. It lasted until 2012, when the idea of politicians remaining cool for one day in the hot summer was deemed frivolous. It returns this year on Wednesday, June 11, under the name National Seersucker Day.
Congressman Bill Cassidy (R-LA) recently entered a proclamation in the Congressional Record stating, “Seersucker Day was established to honor this unique American fashion. I wish to restart this tradition by designating Wednesday, June 11th as National Seersucker Day. I encourage everyone to wear seersucker to commemorate this iconic American clothing.”
Haspel, not surprising, is all over this, issuing a press release that contains the following:
Seersucker has a long-standing place in the halls of the Capitol. In the days before air conditioning, seersucker was a stylish necessity to battle D.C.’s summer heat—and political hot air. That tradition waned, but in 1996, Mississippi Senator [R] Trent Lott initiated an annual tradition in Washington to honor a simpler time when there was more charm and playfulness in Washington attire. For the better part of two decades, members of the House and Senate dressed in their best and brightest seersucker and gathered for a photo to kick off the summer. That tradition was shelved during the economic downturn but it’s coming back next month when members of the House will once again show up to work in their summery, seersuckery best.
The return of National Seersucker Day couldn’t come at a better time for the iconic American men’s brand, Haspel, who invented the seersucker suit in 1909. The brand recently relaunched for Spring/Summer 2014 by Laurie Haspel Aronson, the founder’s great granddaughter, who is reigniting Haspel for a new generation. Poised for the comeback, she tapped the award-winning design team Shipley & Halmos to create American-made clothing that echoes the legacy of its founder while advancing the style of the Haspel man.
To celebrate National Seersucker Day, Haspel invites you to don your best and brightest seersucker. The brand will be hosting multiple seersucker giveaways via their social media channels in the days leading up to June 11, and they encourage everyone to participate in the summertime sophistication of wearing seersucker.
So get your seersucker cleaned and pressed for next Wednesday. Between now and then we’ll offer plenty of inspiration on how to to style your outfit as we plow through Seersucker Fest 2014. Below is the first suggestion, courtesy of Senator Lott: matching pink tie and socks. — CS & CC
Next Wednesday marks the return of National Seersucker Day, when the US Congress temporarily resembles a gathering of Kentucky Derby spectators. In celebration, Ivy Style will present a truly epic presentation of seersucker coverage — all spearheaded by associate editor Christopher Sharp — including multiple galleries depicting campus advertising through the decades.
By the time it’s finally over, you’ll be calling the fabric “seersicker.”
We start off with this 1942 cartoon from the Yale Daily News. — CC
Last weekend O’Connell’s was profiled in the Buffalo News under the heading “global purveyor of old time fashion.” The article charts the retailer’s embracing of e-commerce and can be read here. There’s also a slideshow that will probably have you reaching for your wallet. — CC