Memorial Day marks the beginning of two well-known sartorial traditions: wearing white and wearing seersucker. While many would say to disregard using the days of the calendar to decide what you should wear and when, you can’t really disregard the common sense (or appeal) of wearing seersucker during the warm and sunny months.
I won’t try to convince you that owning a seersucker suit is a staple in your wardrobe, because odds are fairly good you won’t have too many occassions to wear it. I will say, however, it’s pretty easy to split up the suit and wear the items separately. And, best of all, there are a bunch of brands offering seersucker suits as separates, so you can just pick up a jacket, which I think is more versatile of the two.
You can pair the jacket with almost anything and it’s perfect for casual weekend days. I’ve worn a seersucker jacket with jeans, chinos of all colors and grey linen trousers. I find it’s a good jacket to have in your summer wardrobe.
Here’s a roundup of all the seersucker jackets I could find sold separately from their trousers. Many of them are still on sale today, so now might be the best time to get one until after the summer’s over.
The short answer is, for me, “It depends” with a complicated nuance toward, “Yes.”
If you’re the type of person who finds himself wearing a suit regularly to work, obviously a summer suit is necessary to you. Like the U.S. Senators above celebrating the annual Seersucker Thursday, some measure of decorum is required for their job and the weather dictates they find something to keep cool in while creating a hot fuss over legislation.
For those of us who work in less rigid environments that don’t have a dress code that requires a suit, I think the necessity (key word there) of a summer suit is questionable and very much reliant on your personal situation.
As both Derek and John pointed out, a blazer is probably in that “essential” category for most people, but a full-on suit I think requires a personal examination into your life and style over the summer.
For many of us, we won’t have very many opportunities to wear full suits throughout the summer. Sure, you could find occasions to wear one (or just wear one to wear one, if that’s your thing), but the necessity is dependent upon obligations you may find yourself under.
The most obvious such occasion would be if you’re at the point in your life where you’re attending weddings. Spending hours sweating in a suit that’s better worn in the other three seasons of the year is not how you should be spending your time celebrating the union of friends or family. I think a suit is necessary for wedding guests and a summer suit can come in handy if you’re finding yourself starting to receive “save-the-date” cards instructing you to mark your calendar during these months.
Still, even if you were just only going to a single wedding during the summer and find yourself struggling to see the utility of a summer suit and not finding occasions to wear it in full, then I think it’s worth bringing up the fact that many summer suits can be split up.
While I own a seersucker suit and have never worn the pants and jacket together, I have worn the pieces separately quite often. Just make sure to wear your jacket and pants equal number of times and you won’t wear one part out faster than the other. I think the idea that you can more-easily split up a summer suit to wear its elements casually is a nice value-add to the purchase. This doesn’t really help with the necessity argument for a summer suit, but it certainly doesn’t hurt it either.
So, to recap: Summer suits are necessary for those that find themselves in a situation of needing one — but it certainly can’t hurt to own, either.