Chief Justice Lee and TBA President Harbison Declare Seersucker Day on June 16

June 9, 2016

UPDATE: See photos from the day here.

Declaring summer is officially here, Chief Justice Sharon Lee and Tennessee Bar Association President William L. Harbison, have issued a joint proclamation announcing Seersucker Day for the legal community on Thursday, June 16.

That date marks the annual Bench Bar luncheon, which will be held in Nashville as part of both the Tennessee Judicial Conference and Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) summer meetings. All lawyers are encouraged to wear seersucker, which comes in the form of suits, shorts, shirts, and skirts, on that day. Seersucker is traditionally only worn between Easter and Labor Day – and now, it will be worn in honor of this day in June.

While the Senate proclaimed National Seersucker Day in 1996 to be held in June of each year, the tradition ran its course as of June 27, 2012. In the late 1990s, Mississippi Senator Trent Lott decided the time had come to revive a long-forgotten Senate tradition and to add some southern taste to the Senate. He selected a “nice and warm” day in the second or third week of June to be designated Seersucker Thursday, but the tradition died out until two years ago. 

In 2014, Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy successfully advocated for the return of Seersucker Day.

“Seersucker is more than a fabric,” he said. “It is also the melding of fashion with comfort.”

The lawyers and judges of Tennessee will celebrate the tradition and the newly declared Seersucker Day next week “given the importance of establishing civility and fashion in the legal profession.”

“Whereas, in the immortal words of Joseph Haspel, ‘Hot is hot, no matter what you do for a living,’and the wearing of seersucker has been known to cool tempers and promote great civility among lawyers,” reads the proclamation, signed by both Chief Justice Lee and TBA President Harbison, a Nashville attorney.

The typically striped cotton fabric originated in western India but soon became a signature look of the United States in the early 20th century because its breathable and pre-rumpled surface made it ideal for the intense humidity of summer. In 1907, a New Orleans merchant began searching for lightweight suits that could withstand the summer heat, humidity, and sweat. Seersucker, named with Persian words “sheer” and “shaker” (meaning “milk and sugar”) was born and soon became a southern fashion staple.

Today the courts continue to celebrate the unique and functional fashion statement. Read the proclamation in full.

Former TBA President William Haltom, Jr. and Chief Justice Sharon Lee is seersucker suits in Memphis last year.