Reader Request: Styling Seersucker

styling seersucker

Reader Dina sent me this question via email:

I bought myself a seersucker blazer [with gray and white stripes]. I’ve been trying to incorporate more blazers and office appropriate summer cover ups for the over air-conditioned spaces and this seemed perfect for the summer. I went out to see a play over the weekend and put the blazer on with a black skirt and coral tee. My husband looked at it with a big “No, you may not wear seersucker with black,” and that comment (which was very loving!) plus the fact it was a bit too boxy for that particular skirt made me change my outfit. But I was left with a burning problem: How do I wear the blazer?! Most of my bottoms are darker in color and I tend to not wear jeans to the office. I had dreams of adding this to a black sheath dress and now I’m left unsure!

Seersucker is definitely a very summery fabric, and because it always involves a white stripe combining it with black might seem to make sense since black and white play nicely together in most cases. But black definitely brings down the light, seasonal vibe of the fabric and pattern.

 seersucker blazers

Left – Dress Barn, Right – Gap

The outfit on the left might actually work better with a white shirt – it would then become a remix of the dark blazer, seersucker pants outfit shown at the top of this post. Even better, though would be a blue shirt that mirrors the blue in the stripe a bit more accurately, paired with light bottoms like white, stone, or tan. The outfit on the right is considerably more casual, of course, but feels more balanced because there aren’t any super dark elements drawing the eye to a specific spot.

seersucker done right

Left – Nordstrom, Right – Macy’s

Both of these outfits are fab. The one on the left includes blue trousers that are darker than the blue in the seersucker, but still relatively light and complementary. Light sandals with a bit of blue in them feel fresh and fun. The outfit at right might be a bit more seersucker than you’d want to wear everyday, but you could swap out the skirt and top for a white dress, or omit the blazer entirely and go for a solid white top and it would still be dynamite.

Overall, lighter, paler colors will likely work best. White is great, pastels too, but even jewel tones will probably feel more natural than black or other super dark colors and neutrals. Most seersuckers are white and pale blue, but you’ll see variations in pink, gray, and other shades on occasion. In those cases, you could definitely pull out the featured color and pair with a white or pastel top and some fun accessories.

seersucker print mix2

And if you dig print mixing, you could tie in another print with white as the background. This particular print works well because although it is somewhat dark, the lighter pattern throughout lifts it. Also that shade of blue works beautifully with the grayish tones that are created when this particular suit is viewed from afar. Seersucker stripes are very small, so print mixing won’t feel super in-your-face!

I do love bending and breaking fashion rules, but my old-fashioned side warns against wearing seersucker outside of spring and summer. It’s a very traditional fabric that’s mean for hot-weather wear, and looks its best worn during the warm seasons and paired with light, bright, airy colors and light, bright, airy accessories.

That’s my take, anyway. Any of you folks seersucker devotees? Do you pair yours with black or dark colors and find that it works well? What other tips would you share with Dina and the rest of us?

Images courtesy Gap.

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Originally posted 2014-05-14 06:28:56.

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8 Responses to “Reader Request: Styling Seersucker”

  1. Diane Stenglein

    Great ideas! And super kudos to you for showcasing a variety of styles AND sizes!

  2. LinB

    Agreed! I live in the Land of Seersucker (hot and humid southern U.S.) I testify that seersucker was invented for hot weather. Puckers are woven into the fabric to improve air flow and insulation against the sun’s heat; and to disseminate sweat by wicking it away and aiding in evaporative cooling. The puckers only incidentally disguise the wrinkles that naturally develop when wearing wet natural fibers. Light colors reflect the sun’s rays away from one’s body. (Dark colors repel insects better than lights and whites, but the heat gain is not worth that small advantage.) Seersucker works best with lights and with other seersuckers. Save your darks, blacks, and deep jewel tones for fall and winter, when your eyes are not so blinded by the searing sun that you can’t see them anyway. Also, the sun is an excellent bleaching agent. Hang your whites and lights in the sun to dispel many stains, and to fade your dark clothing faster than you would believe possible.

  3. what not

    I think one reason seersucker doesn’t work with darks is that it’s such a thin stripe that you don’t see a block of bright white or color that could contrast well with a solid dark, you see only a washed-out composite. It’s similar to any color with white added, this just relies on distance from the viewer to wash it out rather than having the white mixed directly into the color. Anyway, it makes seersucker look weird with any solid that isn’t equally light, or equally diffused by a lighter pattern as in the blouse in the last photo. Wow, I found this surprisingly thought-provoking!

  4. Jessica M.

    What if you paired the seersucker with an equally summery fabric in a dark color, like a pair of navy linen slacks? Similar to idea #2 above. The look might be more preppy casual than office appropriate, though.

    • Sally McGraw

      That could totally work! I have to say I’d rather see navy than black, but in the right mix even black might work. Cotton voile in darker colors might be nice, too. Good point about fabric choice, Jessica.

  5. Ginger

    I don’t think a black skirt, one that’s cut properly for the jacket is a problem. Black linen skirts and pants are a mainstay in many working wardrobes. A gray/white jacket should go with that nicely. It would also do well over dresses.

  6. jen f.

    I have a seersucker pencil skirt, and I’ve paired it with a black silk Madewell top, but I have a pair of tan and black sandals that I usually wear with it. I think black can work with it if you wear summery footwear. I am also a fan of pattern mixing–I have a navy silk Equipment top with a geometric laser cut-out, and it’s subtle version of pattern mixing with the seersucker.