Washing Seersucker Suit - Trad Torture Tested

Tom Buchanan

Super Member
Like several others on this forum a few years ago, I purchased a Haspel seersucker suit for about $100 from Overstock or a site like that. It has always fit a bit boxy and is not a sack.

Though it claims to be Dry Clean Only, I had always wondered if I could just launder it. I searched the web, but most advice said that it would ruin the lining, etc. Though it is cotton and half-lined, the shoulders are a bit padded.

Since I had little money invested in the suit, and probably wanted an excuse to purchase a new seersucker suit, I decided to give it a wash. I went all in and washed it on hot regular cycle, and fully dryed it on hot setting.

The suit came out looking just fine. If anything, it has been improved since it shrank very slightly (I think the sleeves shrank about a quarter inch), and the fit is slightly less boxy. The seersucker puckered a bit more, but I could have worn the suit right out of the dryer and been fine. I gave it a very quick ironing to smooth the few wrinkles and get a crease in the pants, and I am good to go.

Just thought I would share in case anyone else is interested. I am now thinking of washing my pin cord suit, which is fully lined.
 

Concordia

Elite Member
Remember that before it was taken up by Wall Streeters, seersucker was developed in India and migrated to the working classes of the American South. Neither of which regions were known for excellent dry-cleaning shops.
 

rwaldron

Senior Member
The original Seersucker suit (which Mr. Haspel debuted by walking into the surf while wearing) was wash and wear. What changed was the addition of lining. If you have that little invest in the suit, why not cut the lining out? It could very well make it even more breathable.
 

Tom Buchanan

Super Member
The original Seersucker suit (which Mr. Haspel debuted by walking into the surf while wearing) was wash and wear. What changed was the addition of lining. If you have that little invest in the suit, why not cut the lining out? It could very well make it even more breathable.

The wash and wear seersucker that Haspel wore into the ocean was actually a dacron blend. Brooks Brothers had many wash and wear suits then also, since dacron was new and thought to be the new miracle fiber.

My suit is already half lined, so that is not a real problem. If I cut out the shoulder padding, the entire shoulder would need to be re-tailored, and this suit is not worth that much.
 

rwaldron

Senior Member
The wash and wear seersucker that Haspel wore into the ocean was actually a dacron blend. Brooks Brothers had many wash and wear suits then also, since dacron was new and thought to be the new miracle fiber.

My suit is already half lined, so that is not a real problem. If I cut out the shoulder padding, the entire shoulder would need to be re-tailored, and this suit is not worth that much.

I was under the impression that that story toook place before the late 1940s invention of dacron.
 

Tom Buchanan

Super Member
I was under the impression that that story toook place before the late 1940s invention of dacron.

That is a somewhat interesting historic question. The Haspel press materials are a bit inconsistent as to whether it was Joseph Sr. or Joseph Jr. who did the ocean stunt, which could put the year in the 40s or 50s. The company reported to Ivy Style that it was 1946, which would be awfully early for any polyester. Later articles describe it as a blended suit, but maybe they got it wrong and just applied the the current standard of blended suits.



https://www.nytimes.com/1985/04/28/magazine/men-s-style-wash-it-wear-it.html
 

rl1856

Senior Member
Interesting thread. We had to wash our son's seersucker suit shortly before Mothers Day. Local store brand which I think is sourced from Haspel. Anyway, we washed the coat and trousers in warm water, warm rinse. Spun dry to remove most of the water, and pulled out damp. Suit was then carefully ironed with a med hot iron. Result was better looking than new. Nice creases, no wrinkles and just the right amount of "pucker". Less than 60 min start to finish !
 
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