Streetcar

Seersucker and White Suits: New Rules

ARTHUR NEAD ILLUSTRATION

I won’t mention his name because he has long been involved with behind-the-scenes politics. That would make people suspicious, as though there were some ulterior motive, maybe linked to global warming, the Tea Party, Obama or the Arab Spring. But no, I believe this man is sincere in his latest cause.

He was dressed in a denim shirt and blue jeans as he sat in the office pleading support for the issue, which, I will concede, I had never thought about until he arrived, but it makes a lot of sense, so I’m in.
“You know how in New Orleans people say men should only wear seersucker and white linen until Labor Day?” he asked rhetorically as I nodded impulsively. “Well, it should be extended longer than that,” he pleaded. “There are still a lot of hot days ahead,” he argued.

There are no “Occupy” movements supporting this cause yet, but there has been that critical moment, common to all revolutions, when the spark was lit. That moment came after last Labor Day when he and some friends had decided to meet for lunch at Galatoire’s. Someone cautioned that it was past the season for seersucker and white linen, and that provoked a discussion. Dismissing the Labor Day rule with an expletive involving a male bovine, one of the men argued that the tradition should be changed to conform to the New Orleans weather. A cause was born.

Now, there might be some people who would argue that it isn’t right to mess with the calendar because that could cause more hurricanes or blizzards, but the calendar has been messed with many times. Just look at how Daylight Savings Time has been expanded. By the time we switch our clocks to standard time it’s almost time to switch back again.

Though the Galatoire’s men triggered the cause they offered no specifics of a new date, leaving that to others. So, I humbly offer my plan: Expand the season for seersucker and white suits to October 30, the day before Halloween.

There has always been some vagueness about when the season begins: some say Easter; others say Memorial Day. I say go with Easter, not only because it’s earlier, but also because no one wears a suit on Memorial Day anyway. At least Easter has church and dress-up brunches.

So, here it is, the new season for tropically sensitive suits: Easter (or Passover) to All Hallows’ Eve. There is just enough off-season time to allow for laundering and alterations while dusting off the Mardi Gras formal wear.
For clothiers these new rules should be good news. The longer the season, the more suits to sell. And for the men dining at Galatoire’s, they can be comfortable ­– even in October. Only, if they’re wearing white suits, just be careful of the sleeves near the marchand de vin sauce.

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