Most fabric connoisseurs will recognise this textile at a glance. The uninitiated eye will undoubtedly be drawn to the uneven surface of the cloth. Seersucker carries many moments in history and has become an attractive addition to any style conscious wardrobe. In a quest to do justice to this unique textile, Dormeuil has sought to offer it for a creative yet elegant interpretation in the form of wool suit fabric.
A tale of two continents
Seersucker is a lightweight cotton fabric that is characterised by its unique puckered or crinkled appearance. The word "seersucker" is derived from the Persian words "shir o shekar," which mean "milk and sugar." The denomination refers to the alternating smooth and textured stripes that resemble the smoothness of milk and the roughness of sugar. Some may also say that the name also reflects the slight colour contrast between raw cotton and silk.
Moving from one bedrock for textiles to another, seersucker fabric can be traced back to India, where it is believed to have been developed during the British colonial era in the late 19th century. With the necessity to adjust to the hot tropical weather, seersucker became the preferred choice across suit fabric types for British officials and officers stationed in India. The fabric's puckered texture, keeping it away from the skin, provided improved breathability and airflow making it an especially comfortable and practical option. Easy to care for, the fabric quickly became a staple for expatriates in hot sticky climates.
The fabric eventually made its way back to Europe and the United States, where it became associated with summer clothing and leisurewear. Seersucker gained popularity in the United States during the early 20th century. It was embraced by Southern gentlemen as a practical and stylish choice for warm-weather clothing. The fabric eventually became a hallmark of American Southern and preppy fashion.
Today, seersucker remains a popular fabric for summer attire, known for its distinctive texture, breathability, and relaxed yet refined aesthetic. It also has the advantage of being relatively low-maintenance and resistant to wrinkling, making it an ideal outfit component for frequent travellers.
Technical innovation dedicated to style, comfort and durability
The secret of a good seersucker cloth is to engineer shifts in texture within the same cloth while achieving an overall balanced structure adding another option amongst wool suit fabric types. Two main explanations dominate, both involving a degree of technical weaving knowledge and experimentation with a range of fibres.
Knowledge and practice make perfect
The oldest version refers to a traditional blend of two different yarns, usually cotton and silk, to produce an irregular texture. The end result would only be clearly observed when the fabric was plunged into a bath of water after being woven and taken off the loom. The texture emanates from the combination of fibres that react differently when coming in contact with water at different temperatures. This traditional technique meant the texture would only rise through a finishing process that was undertaken after the cloth had been woven. This implies perhaps a longer production process and a smaller degree of control over the degree of texture achieved.
The second explanation touches upon a more technical aspect of weaving. In this context, the puckered texture of seersucker fabric is achieved through a weaving process that has been perfected over time. The crinkling effect is created directly on the loom by engineering areas on the cloth alternating loose and tight tension. This voluntary imbalance between sections on the cloth results in the distinctive raised stripes or ridges, which are usually in a vertical orientation. This effect helped wick moisture away from the skin, offering good temperature regulation.
Like many intricate suit fabrics types for men, good seersucker textiles require irreplaceable expertise and artistry. Playing with tension on the warp and weft requires a great degree of mastery of the weaving process, knowledge of fibre behaviour and an anticipation of the cloth’s life cycle once it is tailored into a garment. This explains why seersucker remains a sought after fabric that may not be found everywhere.
What benefits does seersucker offer?
So why does seersucker seem to be on everyone’s wish list for summer? Seersucker is commonly used for a variety of clothing items such as suits, shirts, dresses, skirts, and shorts. Known as a stylish staple for a casual and lightweight summer wardrobe, the crinkled textile is a preferred choice to keep cool while achieving a certain level of elegance.
A popular choice for warm climates and summer clothing, it is especially comfortable to wear in hot and humid conditions. Much like other fabrics designed for warmer weather, one of the main advantages of seersucker fabrics is its breathability. The puckered texture prevents the fabric from sticking to the skin and allows for space, this increases air circulation and produces a refreshing feeling.
A key factor in staying elegant in a suit all day long is the cloth’s resistance to crinkling. Seersucker fabric’s natural puckered texture helps to conceal any creases or wrinkles that may occur during travel. Globe trotters who are conscious of maintaining a polished and neat appearance without the need for constant ironing or steaming find comfort in seersucker’s ability to look polished on the go.
Lightweight and Packable
Seersucker fabric is typically lightweight, making it a practical choice for travel. It takes up minimal space in luggage as it doesn’t necessarily require storage in a garment bag or specific attention when packing. This allows for easy packing within luggage restriction limits. Finally, it dries quickly when washed, making it convenient for laundering while away from home.
Seersucker has a classic and timeless aesthetic that works well in various settings, from casual to slightly more formal - like a suit for a beachside wedding when attending as a guest. Its textured appearance adds visual interest to an outfit without feeling overly flashy.
The fabric is often associated with the array of summer suit fabric types, usually in a classic blue and white stripe. However, recent iterations have been spotted on beachwear and even in more urban-inspired designer collections.
Revisiting seersucker all year round
Seersucker is typically made with cotton, but in more recent years the cloth has been developed in a number of fibres, from synthetics to less common combinations of less common natural materials like wool.
Seersucker has long been considered as an elegant and costly fabric. Some may attribute the higher price tag to expertise, lower weaving speed or even handloom weaving. A relatively recent creation, seersucker woven from wool fibres, makes for an interesting addition to any wardrobe. This new iteration retains seersucker’s lightweight and breathable properties while adding softness and a bit of warmth when layered over other fabrics.
Seersucker in Dormeuil’s Mohair wool collection
Dormeuil’s interpretation of seersucker puts a summary spin for a wool suit fabric that can be worn during warmer months. The Mohair collection seeks to combine both the soft handle and the resistance found in wool fibres. This particular type of wool is known for its inherent elasticity and unparalleled lustre. It meets seersucker’s wrinkle-resistant property in its almost crease-free weaves.
The Mohair line features all of Dormeuil’s iconic suit fabric types, including Tonik® and Super Brio, two of the most precious and sought after wool fibres in the world. Seeking a different look while retaining optimal comfort, the collection offers a new seersucker version of mohair wool, with a subtle crinkled effect.
In alignment with our ongoing commitment to quality and excellence, our fabrics are made exclusively from natural materials, using sustainable and traceable processes. Traditionally woven from silk and cotton, Dormeuil breathes a new life into seersucker with mohair, infusing it with unique transitional qualities just right for late spring, mild summer evenings and early fall.