Missouri lawmakers to bring back spring wardrobe tradition this week

Regional News

Legislators filter into the chamber of the Missouri House of Representatives, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in the Capitol in Jefferson City, Mo. Wednesday was the opening day of the 101st General Assembly. (Julie Smith/The Jefferson City News-Tribune via AP)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Missournet) — When the Missouri Legislature gets back to work this week, a lightweight cotton tradition is expected to make a comeback – Seersucker Wednesdays. The style, especially popular in the South, has been in full force for several years throughout the great halls of the Missouri Capitol.

Photo courtesy of Tim Bommel, House Communications

Beginning the first Wednesday after the General Assembly’s spring break, many lawmakers proudly fashion the striped ensemble. The practice has been to wear seersucker outfits every Wednesday until the regular session ends in May.

The weekly showing is about as united as you can get. Lawmakers from both parties, Capitol staffers, and even lobbyists dig out their seersuckers and are seen proudly strutting around in the clothing. Some enthusiasts have branched out from the earlier days of wearing the traditional blue striped pattern to wearing yellow, brown, pink, and other colors today.

Occasionally, you will find a lawmaker who wears a seersucker suit on a day other than Wednesday – instilling confusion (and maybe disappointment) among some people in the Capitol.

The Missouri Legislature’s seersucker craze dates back several years. How far back is unknown. But there is one notable moment in its history of wearing the airy trend.

In 2013, the Missouri Legislature made national headlines after former state Sen. Ryan McKenna, D-Crystal City, offered an amendment to an education bill that would have banned the wearing of seersucker suits by anybody older than eight.

“Any person living in this state aged 8 and under may wear seersucker suits at their leisure. Any person over the age of 8 living in this state may not wear seersucker suits because adults look ridiculous in seersucker suits with the exception of Koolaid,” the handwritten amendment said.

People not familiar with the Senate might be puzzled by the reference to Koolaid. McKenna was referring Matt Michelson, the aide to former state Sen. David Pearce, R-Warrensburg, who was known for wearing an orange seersucker explosion on Wednesdays.

McKenna’s despise for the fabric fueled a playful clash among some seersucker-loving lawmakers. Not long after his attempt to ban the fashion, former state Sen. Eric Schmitt, Missouri’s current attorney general, was the ringleader of an effort to give some love to the summer wear. He and other lawmakers dressed to the seersucking nines and posed for pictures. They blasted the photos on social media. Members of the Capitol press corp joined in promoting the friendly fued online.

So, for the newcomers to the Missouri Capitol, you have been warned. The breezy wardrobe is a thing here on Wednesdays.

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