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Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 07/30/2012

The petition to bring back “Seersucker Thursday”


Senators pose for the last ( for now) Seersucker Thursday portrait last year. (Bill Clark/Roll Call Photos)

Desperate times call for desperate action. We speak of an online petition to “Bring Back Seersucker Thursday.” The question before the Senate: In these overheated times, can cooler heads prevail?

A quick recap: In 1996, Trent Lott, then Senate majority leader, began the sartorial celebration of old-fashioned cotton suits to show off the chamber’s bipartisan stripes. The tradition was honored on every third Thursday in June . . . until it was quietly discontinued this year. Too frivolous in these politically charged times, it seems.

But the seersucker lobby, led by Lott, isn’t giving up. He showed up at an Occidental Grill reception Thursday to launch a change.org petition to return seersucker — and all it represents — to Capitol Hill.


Former Sen. Trent Lott signing the "Bring Back Seersucker Thursday" petition at the Occidental Grill Thursday. ( Robert Gladstone )

“It was one of the things I tried to do to get senators to loosen up and have fun with each other a little bit,” the Mississippi native said. “When you’re dealing with serious business, it doesn’t mean you have to have a scowl on your face and doesn’t mean you have to be hot.”

The petition was the brainchild of PR exec Adam Shapiro, who believes seersucker is a fabric that binds us together. “Yes, it’s corny and all that, but it builds camaraderie and a sense of community,” he told us. “I think it’s a sign of a broken Washington when we can’t even say: ‘It’s 100 degrees. Let’s wear something lightweight and traditional.’ ”

Lott agreed to come to the launch party, as did other fans who arrived in the signature threads. In all fairness, the look is an acquired taste: As all Southerners know, seersucker rules dictate white belts and bucks. And, ideally, pink ties. Not everyone can carry it off without looking like an extra in “The Music Man.”

It’s mostly a Senate thing, although seersucker fans dot the House, too. “The fad is catching on — more and more members, more staffers, are wearing them,” said Bill Greene, sporting a taupe seersucker suit. His boss, Speaker John Boehner, isn’t a fan (“I don’t think you’ll ever catch him in seersucker”), but “I think it’s cool. Actually cool.”

Reasons enough to bring back Seersucker Thursday? We called Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office; he didn’t get back to us.

By  |  05:00 AM ET, 07/30/2012

 
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