Monday, May 14, 2012

Milk and Sugar = Seersucker?

I'm a child of the 50's, and I remember the seersucker fabric as if I had it on yesterday.  It was light weight, cool, and as I remember it, always pretty.  We looked forward to the warmer months because it meant we could wear seersucker.  And, as with all things, what was old is new again.  Seersucker came out strong this season and you'll see it in all lines of clothing, accessories, and even home furnishings.  At Adorable Baby Clothing, we were excited to introduce several items made exclusively of seersucker.

Now....what is seersucker?  It's a thin, puckered, all cotton fabric (a mother's dream!).  You'll commonly find it striped or checkered.  The word "seersucker" originated from the Persian words "shir o shekar", meaning "milk & sugar".  We surmised it was called that because of the resemblance of it's smooth and rough stripes being compared to the smoothness of milk, and the bumpy texture of sugar.

The fabric is woven in such a way that some threads bunch together, which is what gives the appearance of wrinkles in places.  The reason those wrinkles are important (No...not because you don't need to iron it!) is that it causes the fabric to be held away from the skin while being worn, so you feel cooler because of the air circulation.

History 101........Britain's warm weather colonies favored seersucker during the British colonial period for the very reasons stated above.  When it was introduced into the United States, gentlemen, especially those in the South, favored the fabric when the heat and humidity were at it's worst.  The fabric was originally worn by the poor in the U.S. until undergraduate students in the 1920s, in an air of reverse snobbery, and rebellion began to wear the fabric.  Seersucker became a staple of the successful and fashionable business man.  It was even the first choice for summer service uniforms of the first female US Marines during WWII!  A Capt. Anne Lentz, was not only fashionable, she believed in comfort and when she was charged with designing a uniform for the female Marines, seersucker won! To this day, the US Senate holds a day in June, named "Seersucker Thursday", and the participants dress in traditionally Southern clothing.
The most common colors for seersucker are white and blue; however, it is produced in a wide variety of colors, usually alternating colored stripes and puckered white stripes slightly wider than pin stripes. You'll find several colors at Adorable Baby Clothing for both girls and boys! Hope you'll take a look if you haven't already seen them.