The Brooks Brothers spring catalogue arrived last week, a refreshing reminder that this long, brutal winter has to end at some point. Once the balmy weather arrives, the venerable haberdashers are suggesting we stay cool on formal evenings with a novel seersucker tuxedo.
This tropical take on evening wear actually originated in the early 1960s when the fashion industry pretty much threw out the rulebook on formal tradition. At that time manufacturers retained seersucker’s distinctive striped pattern but limited the fabric to summer dinner jackets.
After that period there doesn’t appear to be any reference to seersucker formal attire until 2009 when Brooks Brothers introduced a black grosgrain edged jacket styled more like a business suit than a dinner suit. Its $1,200 price tag was a far cry from the $45 models of the 1960s. Matching Bermuda shorts were extra.
Leap forward another six years and the company is now offering a much more traditional interpretation in the aforementioned Spring 2015 catalogue. The jacket is classically styled with peaked lapels and a single button and comes with matching trousers all for an extremely modest $498. Interestingly, the suits have been produced in a limited run of 250 which is why they are advertised exclusively in the catalogue and not online.
However, the Brooks Brothers web site does offer another formal seersucker option that harkens back to the original 1960s models. It retails for $795.
Finally, competitor J. Crew is currently offering their own take on the black seersucker tuxedo (ironically described as a “formal look that we’re sure nobody else will have this summer”). The jacket is $358 and the ridiculously slim-fitting matching trousers are an extra $190.