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For a long time, I avoided seersucker. I just didn’t get it. To me, it smacked of the old South and dumb congressional stunts—no one needs Seersucker Day, not one single person—and seemed to have no reasonable place in my wardrobe. I wasn’t a hater, necessarily, but a devoted avoider. Since those days, two crucial things have happened. The climate in New York City, where I live, has shifted from humid continental to humid subtropical, making it even grosser in the summer. And designers and brands ranging from the super high-end to the eminently attainable have started messing around with seersucker, rendering it more modern, more wearable, and cooler than ever before. Which brings me to Line of Trade’s Churchill seersucker shirt. It’s available in three colorways (none of which are the traditional blue and cream), and it’s so good that it might convince you, like it has me, to become a seersucker convert.
The signature puckered texture of seersucker has a couple of things going for it, but we’re going to start with the one that matters most to anyone who’s ever spent a day in a swampy city while the sun beats down: It’s breathable. There’s a whole technique to the weaving that I won’t delve into here, but the result is a fabric that sits away from the skin instead of clinging to it, allowing every blessed wisp of breeze to cool you down instead of getting stopped in its tracks by your clothing. Pulling it on, I noticed that the Churchill is extremely soft right off the bat, lacking the crispiness you’ll sometimes find with seersucker (that’s thanks to an extra washing process). To be fair, some folks might miss that more structured feeling and the additional airflow it can provide. But when it’s sweltering and you need to have a shirt sitting against your skin, opting for something softer is a perfectly respectable move—especially when that something still breathes better than most of the other options out there.
Okay, so you know how I mentioned that there are a couple of key benefits to seersucker? Here’s the other: it travels very, very well. Why worry about wrinkles when your whole garment is crinkly from the get-go? I mean, sure, I could see the sharper creases in the Churchill shirt when I first unfolded it from packing. But I had to look harder than I would on something like poplin or even oxford cloth. Plus, they seemed to kind of shake out with wear faster than they would have with other cottons. The Churchill is the kind of shirt you can pack for a casual summer wedding and not worry about whether the hotel or Airbnb you’re staying at has an iron. Just throw it on, trust the process, and remember that “elegantly rumpled” is a good thing.
It’s way more versatile than you thought
I confess, even after coming around to the fabric itself, I still have a knee-jerk aversion to the traditional blue-and-cream color combo. Sometimes it can work, but more times it feels fusty. Not so with the colors offered in the Churchill. There’s a rusty red-and-white version called “Copper” that’s a clear fan favorite judging by the number of sold-out sizes as I write this. But for my money, it’s the “Ink” and “Pine” colors that really shine. They’re darker, a little unexpected while still entirely easy to understand, and they’ll look great with khaki chinos, a French blue suit, and all sorts of other summertime staples. Speaking of staples: the Churchill could easily become one of yours. I’ve been waxing rhapsodic on the fabric for ages here, but it’s worth mentioning that the cut—tailored, not too trim, with short sleeves that look even better rolled up—lends the shirt a goes-with-anything kind of vibe. So whether you’re watching a couple close friends tie the knot, sipping on something tropical by the pool, or doing something entirely different, this summer, this is the shirt for the job.