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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, all. New member here. Hope I'm not duplicate posting, but I haven't found anything that provides all the answers.

I recently bought my first seersucker suit (JAB Stays Cool in navy/white, single breasted, pleated/cuffed), and I'm having trouble deciding what to pair for an outdoor wedding in July. I plan to wear a navy and white patterned long tie with a white pocket square, but I'm torn on shoes, belt, and shirt collar.

Shoes: I have a pair of the AE Strand in Walnut Calf, but I'm considering the JM Brennan Wingtip in Navy Nubuck (https://www.johnstonmurphy.com/product.aspx?c=1215&pid=78499&VID=78521) or the Brennan Saddle in White Nubuc with Navy Waxed Calf (https://www.johnstonmurphy.com/product.aspx?c=1215&pid=72228&VID=72228). Any opinions? Would the traditional white bucks be preferable?

Belt: I have belts to match the AE Strands, but if I were able to wear either of the JM navy options, what sort of belt should I wear? (I'm imagining wearing the navy wingtips with casual dress as well, but still not sure what belt to use...) Or, should I go with suspenders instead, or would that be too busy with the pocket square?

Shirt: I'll definitely be wearing a white cotton shirt, but I'm curious what type of collar is acceptable. I hear folks that say that a button down should never be worn with a tie, but I think it fits the casualness of the seersucker. Any thoughts?

Sorry for all the questions at once. Many thanks in advance for your suggestions.
 

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Welcome! In response, there are several things here:

First, good move on the seersucker. You're in the South, so it's both proper and normal. You'll stay comfortable and look great.

Second, Tie: It's hard to tell whether the tie is good without looking at it. Navy ties generally look good with seersucker, but an ugly tie can come in any color. What's the pattern? You might also consider a bow tie, if you care for them: they go well with seersucker.

Third, Shoes: White bucks are the consensus traditional seersucker shoe. They require a certain panache to pull off, and can look pretty goofy if you get the wrong pair. The trick is to find a pair that has a very sleek, dressy toe, rather than a clunky casual toe. In other words, don't get the Brennan in white. There have been some threads around the forum this summer about good white bucks. You should look for those and check out some of the recommendations.

Shoes, cont'd: The blue Brennans are great for a conversation piece or an Elvis joke. They are not fine examples of traditional men's style. The saddle shoes are a more traditional style, but something doesn't seem quite right to me about putting them with the seersucker, at least not at something like a wedding. I would appreciate input from a fellow Southerner on the provenance of seersucker-saddle pairings. The Strand is a good shoe for this if you don't want to buy a new one. I wear walnut McAllisters with my seersucker. Another shoe to look into is the AE Strawfut: a good-looking summer shoe and better made than the JMs.

Fourth, Belts: The requirement that a belt match shoes goes out the window when wearing suede shoes. If you go with white bucks, the saddles, or, Deus quod avertat, the blue Brennans, pair them with a surcingle or woven belt. Unless you have a superabundance of personality, I would not go the suspenders route: they look a little messy with pants that have belt loops and you can come off looking a bit Matlock costumey when paired with the seersucker.

Fifth, Shirt: The people who say never wear a BDC with a tie or suit are either 1) English or 2) simply wrong. It's a more relaxed look, not appropriate for, say, bankers, but you're right, perfectly fine with a seersucker suit. If you choose not to wear BDC, go with a point: pairing a spread and a large knot with a seersucker would be a bit incongruous.
 

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Titus,
I think you may have read a bit too quickly on the tie. It's not a white tie, its white AND navy.

That being said, to the OP, I'd have to see it to determine if I agree with it.

For shoes, I'd go with the Strands. White nubuks are correct, but they always just seem a bit too costume to me. I'm afraid that I'm also going to have to (respectfully) disagree with Titus on the suspenders. A nice pair of braces I think go perfectly with seersucker. If you're set on a belt, go with something casual like a box fabric in a red an navy to mimic a boatsman's hat.

As for shirts, I have a general dislike for button down collars, so I'd advise against them, but that has more to do with my tastes.
 

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I second Titus's comprehensive comments with only one exception and it is that the " very sleek dressy toe" does not go with the informality of a cotton seersucker, in this instance the rounder toe is appropriate. While Hanzo's comment that seersucker and suspenders are well matched is generally correct, at the same time Titus's comment on the inadvisability of mixing suspenders with belt loops, is especially well taken. Be sure your white shirt is either an oxford cloth, first choice, or pinpoint, second choice; as broadcloth, twill or end on end etc. are too formal for seersucker. To top it off, consider a summer hat for example a Panama or stingy brim linen. Seersuckers are great, wear it with attitude.
 

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The saddle shoes are a more traditional style, but something doesn't seem quite right to me about putting them with the seersucker, at least not at something like a wedding. I would appreciate input from a fellow Southerner on the provenance of seersucker-saddle pairings.
I wouldn't wear saddle shoes with my seersucker suit. Takes it from being a nice summer casual suit to being a costume, IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Additionally, any thoughts on this belt (https://www.johnstonmurphy.com/product.aspx?c=1215&pid=80039)?

Just a little background, I am a mid-thirties, married father of two, who after working in university administration for a few years, recently completed my first year of law school. Needless to say, I am working within a student budget here while trying to maintain some gentlemanly apparel. As for the wedding I am attending, my wife's twin sister is getting married in Maine, and the crowd is fairly young and funky (fiercely independent frontier types with probably more than a few tattoos apparent). While I feel I could get pull off just about anything, I like the idea of injecting a little "South" into the mix while maintaining an appropriate level of "funky," if such a juxtaposition is even possible.

Thanks.
 

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I like black dressy tasseled loafers and a black alligator belt with navy/white seersucker suits. I have a reconditioned pair of AE Chelseas that are kilted and tassled that I wear with mine occasionally. No socks. To me, this combination states that you know what you are doing and are not a virgin seersucker wearer. To one gentleman's comment above the white bucks can look a little "costumey", however, very traditional here in the South and personally I like that look too. I like the tie. I personally can't pull off a bow tie but I like them. Surcingle GTH belt if you care to bring out more personality, but probably not for a wedding. (Keep in mind the bride and groom should be the main attraction. I think suspenders are OK. I also like BDC with ties and especially with seersucker suits. It's traditional, conservative, Old South in my view. Hotty Toddy and enjoy the wedding!
 

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I think I know the type, try and be non-conformist, independent, with a hard lean to the left. If you go with the seersucker get funky with it. Bow tie, white bucks, maybe the pants are hemmed a bit high watered that day. You could really pull if off with a trim fit suit even better. You know, kind of like a Chapel Hill version of Elvis Cotello? (But not Pee Wee Herman.) YOU will be the REAL non-conformist at the wedding. Maybe carry a cane filled with bourbon (Blanton's) to top it off. Then tell all the brides maids you want to "cane them". LOL!
 

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By the way, ties also have their formality hierarchy. With respect to material, silk is more formal than wool, linen or cotton. With respect to pattern small white dots on a blue ground are at the front of the formality line, the smaller the dot the more formal. The aptly named Churchill tie of blue with small white dots is thus named because Winston Churchill wore one, and usually with formal or semi formal day clothes. Large dots are less formal and very large dots recall clown ties. A Churchill spot tie is not the tie one associates with seersucker. This is not to say you can't pull it off, one incongruous item to an outfit sometimes works, but more than one generally turns an outfit into a hodge-podge.
 

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Most comments are fair enough, here.

You have to straddle the seersucker-style-hump. Most guys see the obstacle and wither, never wearing seersucker. If you get on top of it, go slow. By wearing woven belts and picture ties and bow ties and colored shirts with seersucker suits tends to blast out a lot of personality and anachronism. The seersucker alone is enough of a "costume" within common American society. Start going hog wild with accoutrements and you better be more colorful than your clothes or you will be lost.

Navy stripe seersucker:fine
White shirt: fine
Sedate, conservative navy tie:fine
TV fold white cotton/linen pocket square: fine
White bucks: excellent, but you can't let them shake you, which they will do the first several times.

I'd recommend NOT wearing a belt and having braces, because no one sees them and it simplifies everything.
Avoid the bow tie until training wheels are off.
Avoid any fancy shaped/colored belt until you slum around Martha's Vineyard.

A man in a proper seersucker suit with simply colored/patterned additions looks impressive, but play with the basics and you can easily turn into some reject from a Dick Tracy Sunday comic strip or an escapee from upper-class 80s prep schools.
 

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Well, I rock that suit with J&M Brennan white/navy saddle shoes. Looks great, or an older pair of J&M Aristocrat lt brown/ white tassle loafers (very cool). As for a belt, I like to use a navy/red surcingle belt, a pair of navy/white suspenders, or a navy, pink, lime green ribbon belt. A white bd shirt is great and you should rock a bow tie (loud madras from beau ties), but a tie will do (navy/white or navy/pink pindot looks sharp). I also like bright blue, neon green, or loud purple socks to finish the outfit, plus a decent Stetson straw fedora. It's always a hit with the ladies (and the gay guys drinking on the porch of a bar I walk by during my commute).
 

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I second Titus's comprehensive comments with only one exception and it is that the " very sleek dressy toe" does not go with the informality of a cotton seersucker, in this instance the rounder toe is appropriate.
This reasoning has a lot of appeal: it appears to be entirely internally consistent: keep everything casual. But I think that's misleading. The seersucker is a bit more casual (although down here we wear them to the office); but the white buck is a dressy shoe paired with seersucker (odd, I know, since bucks are usually a very casual shoe). As we've all also pointed out, they can also be overwhelming. It seems that a more formally toed shoe both 1) pairs nicely with the slightly more formal edge of white bucks and seersucker and 2) has the potential to decrease self-consciousness.

Now, that's not "rules" type advice: that's practical guidance advice. If you want to make the outfit as laid back as possible, or you feel self-conscious in dress shoes and relaxed in casual shoes, my advice won't be much good to you. Also, rounded toes come in degrees: the Brennans actually aren't nearly as bulbous as, say, Bass bucks, which are rather blimp-like. (Maybe the size of one's feet comes into play here: my impression is that rounder-toed shoes like these look disproportionately larger, so it may not be as much of a problem if you wear a 8 or a 9. I wear a 10 or 11 and always felt like a clown when wearing my Bass bucks, not because they were white, but because they seemed so dang big.)
 

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My Brennan white bucks are fairly thin profiled and seem just right for the seersucker suit (I wear an 8.) A more formally toed shoe seems to be more formal than the plain buck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Again, many thanks to everyone. I greatly appreciate all the opinions and suggestions.

While I like Preu Pummel's suspender suggestion, I prefer not to wear them with belt-looped pants. I will most likely be wearing my Allen Edmonds Orlean in white (size 12) with a surcingle navy belt, though my wife is lobbying for the navy Brennan wingtip with the JM navy/white belt... We shall see.
 

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For shoes, i usually wear: 1) brown/cream spectators (for a moderately dressed-up look); 2) white wingtip bucks (newest shoe addition); or 3) tan/chestnut brogues (for the most dressed up look). I have worn black shoes before (when still using training wheels myself) and decided it looked awful. I would avoid it. Black is too formal looking for the informality of seersucker. If going with the white bucks, I use a pair of braces to avoid "the full cleveland." The proper color brown belts for the spectators or the tan/chestnut shoes look fine.

I wear just about any solid color shirts with seersucker (or perhaps something with white cuffs and collar). I've never been able to do the striped or checked shirt with seersucker with any success.

For ties, I like something in a wider stripe (BB#4 type or wider stripes), madras plaid, or a nice novelty tie. I have the hibiscus tie pictured above, too. A bow with medium stripes works well, too, though I prefer the bow with a DB or 3 button (not a 3/2 sack) so as to avoid the long shirt line from collar down to where a 2 button suit buttons. That is just a personal preference. I DO NOT wear my seersucker tie with a seersucker suit. Usually wear that with a navy blazer or navy cotton suit.

My 2 cents, for what they're worth.
 
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