The Seersucker Thursday Washout

Today is a rainy Seersucker Thursday, that tradition that began in the US Congress when members decided that once a year they’d like to add a touch of whimsy to their dress while practicing corruption and incompetence on behalf of the American people.

Pictured is an undated advertisement from Haspel, the great popularizer of seersucker. Haspel also innovated the concept of “wash-and-wear” among tailored clothing, which allowed you to throw your suit coats and trousers into the laundry along with your socks and underwear. And why stop there? Last week Fast Company reported on a new trend for clothing that doesn’t need to be washed at all — or at least very rarely.

I’ve actually been moving that direction myself, trying to wash and dry clean things as little as possible. For example, if I wear a polo shirt one day and don’t excessively perspire in it, I’ll set it aside to wear for tennis the following day. A veritable obsession with laundering seems to be a product of mid-century American affluence, and very middle class. And then there are all those chemicals we put in the wash, made by huge corporations with massive advertising budgets.

It’s probably a good idea to get accustomed to infrequent machine-washing, and to only occasional hand-washing and hang-drying. There could be an apocalyptic Great Flood in the future. That would be one way of cleaning up Congress. — CC

11 Comments on "The Seersucker Thursday Washout"

  1. Michael Brady | June 13, 2019 at 2:07 pm |

    More “suckers” than “seers’ in today’s D.C.

  2. @CC, I agree with you on the washing front. When I started out on my own and buying my own clothes, I started washing them less and less frequently, and then only when they really needed it. To my delight, my clothes started lasting longer, their colors remaining brighter, their shape remaining true. Aside from underwear, it’s amazing how little cleaning our clothes actually require in order to keep them clean and serviceable. To that end, dry cleaning is a service which I only use perhaps two or three times a year at this point, and it’s almost always in order to remove some sort of stain from tailored clothing which I can’t wash myself.

  3. whiskeydent | June 13, 2019 at 3:28 pm |

    Similarly, I wash all my cotton or linen shirts in cold water and hang dry them. It reduces color fading and the threads appear to hold up better.

    I regularly wear an 8-year-old JAB seersucker in the summer, and it is just now beginning to fray at the neck. The colors are as vibrant as ever. It even has all of its original buttons.

  4. Charlottesville | June 13, 2019 at 4:22 pm |

    The sun has finally popped out again here after a deluge, and I am tempted to take a stroll to my next meeting in my seersucker suit and Panama, but think I will take my umbrella along just to be safe.

  5. Hardbopper | June 13, 2019 at 4:45 pm |

    True dat. My white and blue button downs are the exception as they easily get ring around the collar. Similarly, hair shampoo is a tremendous waste of money unless one is an auto mechanic etc. Brush.

  6. Carmelo Pugliatti | June 13, 2019 at 6:28 pm |

    Back to detachable collars and cuffs.
    ( then sit on a armchair,look a old TV show or movie from mid century and cry.
    Their lived in a bright classic age,we in a dark and grim middle age).

  7. Chris Mountford | June 13, 2019 at 11:06 pm |

    Should we stop showering on a daily basis as well?
    Stop ironing our clothes?
    Stop polishing our shoes?
    Do we really want to look like today’s college students?

  8. Old School Tie | June 14, 2019 at 6:51 am |

    I have a genetic variant which gives me dry earwax and no significant body odour. I do shower every day, but shirts can be worn multiple times before laundering. I almost never clean sweaters and wool sweaters do not actually require washing anyway. Denim – almost never. Swim daily, so that is the hair taken care of. Pressing is also bad for clothes, so I have this small steam thing that does not even need to come into direct contact with garments. All my stuff looks fine and no one complains about any smells.

  9. Patchouli oil people. Patchouli oil. And matted dreadlocks.

    Tongue planted firmly in cheek,


  10. Chris Mounford writes: “Should we stop showering on a daily basis as well?
    Stop ironing our clothes?
    Stop polishing our shoes?
    Do we really want to look like today’s college students?”

    From there it’s another short step downward to whisker stubble, untucked shirts and knee-length cargo shorts.

    All part of a slippery slope at the bottom of which lies the death of civilization.

  11. Henry Contestwinner | June 16, 2019 at 12:53 am |

    I have Merino wool undergarments I wear when camping & hiking. They can go days without washing and never smell bad. Even my Merino wool hiking socks never get smelly, but there does come a time when they need to be washed.

    I wear my chinos, pajamas, wool trousers, sports coats, and the like more than once before washing/cleaning them.

    Even though most days, I probably could get by wearing my shirts a second or even third time, I just feel better wearing a fresh shirt daily. Maybe a T-shirt under a dress shirt would make it more appealing to wear a shirt another time before laundering it.

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