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Jul 08/13

Real Southern Men Wear Seersucker Posted by: Dan | 0 Comments

I swear to God this is a true story. I was leaving the Arkansas Repertory Theatre the other night with a friend when I felt a small hand on my right shoulder blade.

“God that’s a beautiful suit,” I heard a woman’s voice say as the hand continued to rub my shoulder. “I just love seersucker.”

I turned around expecting to see someone I know. After all, it is unusual to get felt up in public by a complete stranger. Which the owner of the hand in question turned out to be. And an exceedingly tipsy one at that.

“Well, thank you,” I stammered. “That’s very kind of you to say.”

“Let me see your shoes,” she said as she fiddled with the pocket square. At this point, Randy Newman’s “You Can Keep Your Hat On” started playing on an endless loop in my head.

“Yep, bucks. I knew it,” she said. “My lawyer wears seersucker.”

“I’m a lawyer,” I said.

“Really?”

“Why would I lie about that?”

I have lots of nice garments. But I’ve gotten more compliments from women on the blue seersucker number than any other stitch of clothing I own. This being what I perceived to be a teachable moment, I put the question to the good men and true over at Little Rock’s The Independent for assistance. The following is their collective response drawn up by Flynn K. Smith who is a member of the Louisiana Bar. He got his law degree at Loyola. I got mine next door at Tulane. Accordingly, I have the highest trust in his judgment, especially since he gave up practicing law to sell clothes.

So, why seersucker? “Well, because it’s cool. No, seriously, it’s actually one of the coolest fabrics with which to make a garment. Actual seersucker fabric — not just some micro-striped fabric – is an all-cotton fabric loosely woven in such a way so as to cause bunching in places that give it its signature wrinkled effect. The loose, coarse weave allows for heat dissipation and air circulation which is always a plus especially in the hot, humid South, hence its prominence in our region and even higher number of wearers as you go even further south.

“Indeed, I would venture to say that at least 85 percent of the lawyers in New Orleans — and I was once one of them — either currently has, and/or has in the past, a seersucker suit in their closet. Now why does it have a certain effect on ladies specifically? My answer is that it takes a man with a certain amount of daring and confidence to pull it off, and we all know that the ladies like a well-dressed confident man!”

Back to that night in the theater.

“My lawyer wore a seersucker suit when we were in court,” the fashionista said. “I loved it.”

“Who’s your lawyer?”

“Oh, I don’t remember.”

“I beg your pardon?”

She put her forefinger to her lips and looked upward. “I don’t know,” she said as she tapped her pursed lips in what passed under the circumstances for a thoughtful expression. “Somebody from Jacksonville maybe?”

It was at this point that I excused myself. There was a story here and I felt that it was best to remain unheard by me. The girl in the theater that night amazingly enough could not remember the name of the lawyer that sat with her at counsel table in a court of law somewhere. But she remembered, whoever the Hell he was, maybe from Jacksonville or maybe not, that he looked great in a seersucker suit and bucks.

Such is the power of seersucker, gentlemen. May we always strive to use it wisely and for good.


Arthur Paul Bowen is a lawyer and writer who lives in what he calls the “People’s Republic of Hillcrest” in Little Rock. He may also be found on his blog, The Moving Finger Writes.


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