The Seersucker Revolt
Dressing for the seasons
Revolutions sometimes start in the presence of a bottle of wine. This was probably one of them.
A man I know had dropped by the office with a mission on his mind. It was mid-September. A week earlier he had experienced lunch at Galatoire’s with some friends. For the occasion he pulled from the closet a seersucker suit, a favorite in cities coated with warm, humid weather. But a controversy, perhaps fueled by the wine, popped up like a wayward Champagne cork blasting to the ceiling. Someone at the table pointed out that the date was well into September but according to protocol, if not the Napoleonic Code, seersucker as well as white linen suits, should only be worn between Easter and Labor Day. A suit foul had been committed. A variation of the rule is even more Draconian fixing the starting date at Memorial Day, which is always a set date well past Easter (the last Monday in May) thereby shortening the season even more.
My visitor argued that even after Labor Day there are still plenty of hot days as September limps along, and even early October can be a drudge. Some people are skittish about messing around with calendar dates as though that will create a celestial catastrophic event. Trust me, the stars do not care how long the white suit season lasts, plus we already juggle days, most recently advancing the beginning of Daylight Saving Time. So, I have a proposal:
Let’s push back the end of the light-suit season from Labor Day to the day before Halloween. (We could say “Halloween Eve” although Halloween itself is an eve, “All Hallows Eve.”) That date would be perfect to signify the transition from summer lightness to fall. No business suits should be worn on Halloween, just masquerades of brown and orange. But the next day, All Saints, is the most appropriate date to signify the transition to black and the colors of winter. Pretty soon the dark colors will be enhanced by sprigs of red and green, and the seasons progress.
Seasonal suits are not a subject taken lightly. Another gentleman once called to complain about the colors of the accoutrements. He argued that with white suits or seersucker, shirts should always be white; ties should be either solid or with modest stripes. There shall be a black belt with matching shoes and heaven forbid wearing white bucks. “People shouldn’t look like clowns!” he added. That of course is subject to more debate, but that would take another bottle of wine.