Seersucker Thursday: Ladies’ Fashion Do’s and Don’ts

Seersucker was in the House! (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Seersucker was in the House! (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Posted July 30, 2014 at 3:13pm

After two years, Seersucker Thursday finally returns to the Senate. Back in June, when the House side hosted its own seersucker celebration, HOH ran an item Seersucker Day: Trent Lott’s Fashion Do’s and Don’ts .  

Upon reflection, we realized that most of his advice was applicable predominantly to males. We reached out to Lott for female etiquette. But he shied away, referring us to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., one of the players integral to bringing back the tradition. Feinstein declined to give advice, but did issue a statement.  

“Seersucker Thursday is a light-hearted tradition that fosters camaraderie, nothing more and nothing less,” Feinstein said. “It’s a brief, bipartisan reprieve from our normal routine.”  

So we took the party over to the House side, and conducted a survey of Southern and Southern-ish female representatives of how to best wear seersucker.  

Our panel:

  • Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. (Though there’s much debate, we’re counting West Virginia as Southern for this project.)
  • Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla.
  • Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y. (Born and raised in North Carolina.)
  • Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.
  • Rep. Terri A. Sewell, D-Ala.

The Shirt

Maloney:  “A shell. White or beige.”  

Capito:  “Not too much shirt. Let the seersucker speak for itself.”  

Castor:  “Color! Color! Color! It’s still summer. Don’t go just a blasé white. You  got to really hit the note with a bright color. We’re heading into an election season. You’ve got to be noticed. You gotta be seen. … I like a good fuschia. You want it to match. You don’t want to clash. Go bright and colorful, but be careful.”  

Ros-Lehtinen : “I think I’ll wear pink because it’s going to be my last go-round [for the summer]. Maybe I’ll wear hot pink. Yeah, I’m going for it. It’s my last outing because, by the time we’re back, it’s Labor Day. It’s done. This is my last chance to tap it out.”  

The Skirt

What if a woman only owns a seersucker jacket? Is it okay to match it with a different material pants?
Capito:  “That’s acceptable. You could wear navy, or you could always wear khaki with anything.”  

Castor:  “You want to go khaki. Try to go khaki or white.”

The Shoes

 “I think a light-colored shoe.”  

Ros-Lehtinen:  “So, I have these white Topsider[s]. They’re faux Southern. … Those are the ones that I’m rocking … but they are white and not really capturing the Southern spirit. It’s not ‘Matlock .’ I’m just not committed enough to get those white bucks [that Lott recommends.] Have you seen the price on those? No, no, no, no, no, no, no. They need to come down for Mama.”  

Capito : “In terms of shoes, comfortable, but don’t do what Ileana Ros-Lehtinen does and wear matching seersucker shoes. That is a no-no.”  

Castor: “Make sure the shoes and purse are not going to create a little discordance. … Stay light. No black. That’s the bottom line: No black.”

Sewell:  “I always pair mine with a fabulous pair of navy Tory Burches. For my blue [suit].”  

The Color

Sewell: “I have four. [Two] blue, green, beige and I’m looking for pink. … Now, that’s [acquired] over the course of years, because I’ve been a Southerner all my life.”

Maloney:  “I just saw Renee Ellmers on the [House] floor and she had on a pink seersucker. Looked great.”  

The Brand
“My advice is, you’ve got to find a store that sells it! They’re hard to find,” a distressed Maloney said after Tuesday votes. “Maybe we can go online and find it.” We found some options:

  • Brooks Brothers:  “Brooks Brothers! I mean hello?!?” Sewell advised her Capitol Hill roommate, Maloney. “I think Brooks Brothers does the best ladies’ seersucker suits.”
  • Banana Republic: Castor previously endorsed Banana Republic.
  • J. Crew: Your correspondent will be wearing a hand-me-down J. Crew, courtesy of former Roll Caller and Capitol Hill Legend Lauren Whittington. According to our patron saint, the suit has seen many political events, including the 2004 presidential conventions.
  • Haspel Clothing: Besides Lott, no entity has done more to advocate for the return of Seersucker Day than the clothier’s Twitter account.

Think you nailed the seersucker look? See a member preening around Russell in the threads? A staff colleague? Snap a pic on Thursday, send it here with “seersucker” in the subject line, and we’ll determine “Who Wore It Best.” Can the Senate side can keep up with the House? Only time will tell …