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New Rules For Seersucker and White Linen Suits

We are now into the season when it is proper for local men to wear suits of seersucker or white linen. The time of year reminds me of an idea from a man who once stopped by for a visit: “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 that that,” he pleaded. "There are still a lot of hot days ahead,” he argued.

There have been no demonstrations 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 the man 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 the male of the bovine group 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 is not 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 is almost time to switch back again.

Though the Galatorie’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 is earlier, but also 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 Halloween Eve. There is just enough off-season time to allow for laundering and alterations while dusting off the Mardi Gras formal wear.

For clothiers this 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. Just be careful of  the sleeves near the marchand de vin sauce.






 BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: Errol’s Laborde’s new book, “Mardi Gras: Chronicles of the New Orleans Carnival” (Pelican Publishing Company, 2013), has been released. It is now available at local bookstores and at book web sites.



(The above blog was based on an Errol Laborde column that appeared in New Orleans magazine. It has been updated for timeliness.)


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