Haspel's New Take on Seersucker Is Tailor-Made for Fall

The progenitor of summer’s preppiest fabric makes a play for all seasons

Gravier dark green seersucker jacket, $650; Badine white dobby oxford shirt, $175
Photograph by Molly Matalon for Bloomberg Businessweek

Seersucker has long been synonymous with dandyish, Southernish, olderish businessmen who want to look jaunty from April through September. When worn in hot weather, the fabric’s white-and-blue (or other candy-colored) stripes aren’t just decorative, they’re practical. If the material is well-made, its puckered texture prevents the cotton from sticking to sweaty skin. Credit for the style is contentious, but its popularity is often attributed to Joseph Haspel, who began making and selling the fabric to New Orleans haberdasheries in 1909. “Seersucker has traditionally been used for classic suits,” says Laurie Aronson, who restarted her great-grandfather’s company, Haspel, earlier this year. “But over the years people have learned to wear it in a much more casual way.” Rebooting a heritage American brand has become a familiar retail strategy in the past decade, so Aronson didn’t simply start selling Haspel’s older, boxy striped suits. To freshen it up, she hired designers Sam Shipley and Jeff Halmos—of the retro-leaning, six-year-old Shipley & Halmos—to reimagine the priggish textile. Many of the items in the new Haspel line don’t look so genteel; those telltale stripes are relegated to the pocket linings of pants and inner seams of tweed jackets. For their update of the classic blazer, they got rid of the white stripes entirely in favor of a more subtle monochrome. It’s available this fall—along with trousers—in hunter green, navy, and gray. The partially lined jacket is heavier than linen, lighter than wool, and ideal for these early fall weeks, when it’s too warm to go for the full-on flannel suit jacket. Wear it well, even next summer. But, for the love of God, leave the straw hat at home.

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