Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Summer Seersucker

The word seersucker came into the English language from the Hindustani words for milk and sugar, likely references to the alternating smooth and rough stripes or checks (resembling smooth milk and lumpy sugar) in the puckered, all-cotton summer fabric which bears the name. Seersucker is woven is such a way that some threads bunch together, giving the fabric a wrinkled appearance and, most importantly, causing it to be held away from the skin just a bit, greatly aiding in heat dissipation and air circulation, a huge bonus when the temperature exceeds 100 degrees Fahrenheit, as it did today in the Baltimore-Washington D.C. area.
I only own one piece of clothing made of seersucker. It is this vintage romper, probably made in the 1960s, which my mother found for me in a thrift store in northern California in the 1970s. Having lost its identifying tags eons ago, this playful summer one-piece can no longer tell me by whose hand it was made, but no matter. The blue and white stripes were perfect for a sultry, steamy day like today. So I put it on, fastening it by way of buttons on both shoulders instead of a zipper at the side or back like most garments.

I cinched the waist with an equally vintage super-wide vinyl belt that I purchased in several colors back in the early 1970s. If I was going to go retro, I might as well go all the way. I added some cool platform sandals with tall cork heels by City Streets for JCPenney with white crossover straps to echo the interesting crossover detailing on the back of the romper’s neckline. It was too hot for much jewelry, so I chose only white hammered enamel earrings, also from the 1970s, a blue and silver fashion ring from my best friend’s mother, Joyce, in Spokane, and a denim-hued "Dea Dread" hair accessory for my up-do that was custom made for me by Thea Osato of Baltimore (http://deadreads.etsy.com/).

The parking lot sizzled as I made my way to the subway train for my commute to the Library of Congress, but I was remarkably cool, thanks, no doubt, to trusty seersucker doing the job for which it was designed.

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