Seersucker At A Dance

Discussion in 'Suits' started by Canadian, Dec 28, 2017.

  1. Canadian

    Canadian One of the Regulars

    Alberta, Canada

    I own several vintage styled suits, but I recently bought a seersucker suit for a wedding last June. It strikes me as possible that wearing a polyester blend white, ivory or a dark wool jacket might not be conductive to wearing at a dance. So I'm looking at my closet and I see this great seersucker suit. Is seersucker acceptable, especially out of season at a dance?

    Here's the deal. I'm 33, male, no main squeeze or really anybody. I just finished graduate school. I've found that swing dancing is a great way to meet other, educated and fairly young people. I am trying to go to as many dances as I can. However, I sometimes find myself a sweaty mess and want to look my best in a hot gymnasium or some kind of nightclub. I especially don't want people to think I'm there to look pretty. I go to these dances and maybe in 4 hours, might dance between 12 and 16 times. So active, but not athletically so.

    Seersucker is a classic American fabric (I'm Canadian of course), made of cotton, derived from an Indian word (shurshaker) for puckered. I know about the technical parts of the fabric. I just want to know if it looks odd at a dance or social occasion.

    At some of these dances there are a lot of dames, probably in the 25-35 range who are fairly attractive, as as many of us know, the vintage community is small, but sometimes well to do. It takes a certain amount of gumption to go home, change out of jeans and put on a fancy party dress. Some of the guys who go to these dances think a tee shirt and "jorts" is appropriate. There are other guys, like me who really like to dress up.

    Would it be too affected to put on a waistcoat, seersucker suit, long tie, spectator shoes and a fedora (taken off at the dance).

    On that topic, at a formal dance (that is a swing dance with a formal dress code), should I be buying a zoot suit, or is that something you wear once, then it looks old fast? I'd think that a zoot suit in black could be worn to several different dance venues, but if I wore it more than once at each party, people might think it's my only period suit? Or worse, they're thinking I'm showing off money or capacity to spend. I can't exactly wear a zoot suit to work or church, so it would be something which gets used maybe 3-6 times in it's lifetime? The economists call my job "gold collar" and I have the money in the bank to buy a new suit every month without any regret, but I don't want to buy something that gets used once and sent to the back of the closet?

  2. Mathematicus

    Mathematicus A-List Customer

    Coventry, UK
    I'm really not into this kind of social activities so I don't know if my comment is appropriate. But, if the party happens to take place after 5pm, the best option to look smart is to wear a dinner suit. Now, I am aware that in most social venues even wearing a tweed sports coat sets you as the "awkward one" so a full black tie is somehow too standing out if nobody else is going to wear it - and since you want to enjoy the ladies' company, it is important to stand out but not in a way that is perceived as flashy or costumey.
    Seersucker - I'm not keen of the look, but it has its place in many occasions. Frankly, not too much during evening. In my opinion, if you don't want to wear a dinner suit, a dark lounge suit would make a much better look.
    Zoot suit - in my opinion, you should avoid that. Firstly because as you say you are not going to make a great use of it. Secondly, but this is my opinion, because like every extreme look, it doesn't look good outside a costume-party. Again, you are more likely to stand out in a very good way with a dignified, simple and well tailored lounge suit.
  3. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

    New Forest
    If you put yourself under self imposed pressure as to what you should wear, as opposed to what you would like to wear, you will always have this quandary. Seersucker, like any fabric has the ability to look fabulous and turn heads, it can also be a fail, for example worn with clashing colours or clashing styles.

    Using language like gumption and fancy dress tells me that you are something of a self conscious type. Sure the fashion of the era are not commonplace today, but it's still admired.
    Not sure what you mean by too affected, but I'm guessing overdressed. Your seersucker outfit description sounds great to me.

    If you go for a Zoot suit, go for a formal looking one, it's the, to use your expression, fancy dress type that are a ghastly pastiche of a magnificent style. A Zoot suit in your wardrobe would be like the dinner suit, (tuxedo) there to be worn on appropriate occasions. For what it's worth I have five such suits all with matching accoutrements, as well as shoes and hats. The suits are one zoot, one linen mid thirties suit with half belt back, one Forties, single breasted suit, with waistcoat. One double breasted late Forties double breasted suit and a period dinner suit. They all get worn as and when the occasion calls. We are off to a Hollywood themed New Year's Eve event on Sunday, I shall wear the Zoot suit for that event.
    Forget what others think about your finances, you earn it, your's to spend as you wish. Others will have no idea what charitable donations that you make, so buy what you like, wear what you like, hold your head high and be proud.
    Here's a dancing tip. I've been a dancer for almost 60 years. When I started I learned the ten Latin/Ballroom disciplines, then I learned many variations of the jive, like Lindy and Jitterbug. Then came Argentine Tango, Lambada and many more. Dancing is of course, tactile. Being so close to your dance partner you are always aware of perspiring. Wear a V-neck T-shirt underneath and take a towel and a few fresh T-shirts with you to dance venues, then when start to 'glow' you can freshen up, change the sweaty T-shirt and look your immaculate self again.
    Zoukatron, Edward and scottyrocks like this.
  4. Claudio

    Claudio Vendor

    Italian living in Spain
    I usually would not wear Seersucker out of season, but the Swing Scene is generally a vintage inspired scene (esthetically too) and many/most would not care if it is worn out-of-season. I also usually would not wear (white based) spectators out-of-season but nobody seems to care especially in 'vintage' scenes. I would suggest you purchase quality cloth and clothes so that a. you do not smell as you are sweating (avoid sythetics and poliester blends) b. your body breathes more with natural fibres, keeping you cooler c. canvassed coat/jackets make your body breath more as compared to glued construction coat/jacket d. after the night a quality suit will just need hanging in fresh air and a good brushing down, whilst a poli-blend badly-made suit you will need to dry clean more often (dry clenaing quality suits is very bad for them). Zoot suit is a hard style to pull off well IMO (besides my personal dislike for them), so unless you have the 'attidue' to wear them, leave them be. ANother important thing is to dress according to your body build (which is a staple of dressing well, but even more so in a sweaty dancehall). If you want to make an impression, make sure the sleeve length of the coat/jacket is correct (shirt sleeve showing), trousers with a natural waist rise (so quite high up), a good trouser break, and well fitting clothes. The rest (suit style, cloth, in or out of season etc) are all extras. Make sure to get the basics right and - since you mentioned you have the money - buy Quality.
    And lastly but most important - just have fun! :)
  5. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

    New Forest
    Having fun is wearing, and enjoying, a Zoot suit. Point is, you don't like them and therefore, don't wear them. I love the Zoot and enjoy wearing it. But neither of us have asked anyone if we should or should not wear one. That's what Canadian is doing, he should get one if he likes them, but if he doesn't he should, like you, leave well alone. Don't buy because others do, buy what it is that you like. Here's my Zoot.
    Edward and scottyrocks like this.
  6. Zoukatron

    Zoukatron One of the Regulars

    London, UK
    I'm going to have to agree with what GHT says about bringing plenty of spare t-shirts or the like. Whilst I don't have 60 years of experience, I have been a dance teacher for many years (now primarily just zouk/lambada). I would dearly love to be able to dress really nice for my dancing, but I sweat like a pig. Up top I generally wear athletic-quality t-shirts (and go through several over the course of an evening), with a seersucker shirt over the top on odd occasions. I'm thinking about having my tailors make me some trousers specifically for dancing from a cotton/elastane blend. On very VERY rare occasions, I will crack out a dinner suit and dance in that, but I will always feel somewhat regretful of the amount of sweat I'm exposing it to.

    The long and the short of it is: base you choice on your body. Know how much flexibility you need from your clothes, and how sweaty you will get them, what kind of cleaning/washing regime the clothes will need to endure. Beyond that, just wear what you want if it makes you feel good. At a dance, people are going to respect you for your dancing, they may like your clothing, but it will always come second. If you wear clothing that makes you feel good, that will help your dancing. If you wear something you feel awkward in, go with something else.

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