If it's summer in Washington, then Sen. Trent Lott, the No. 2 Republican, is plotting Seersucker Thursday.
"When Senator Lott became leader in 1996," says spokeswoman Susan Irby, "he instituted 'Seersucker Thursday,' usually designated in the month of June. He wanted to bring a little southern charm to the Capitol—show senators how to beat the heat with a fashion statement and show that the Senate could have a little fun."
This year, it's June 21. Don't laugh. Nearly 30 senators put the stripes on last year.
"It started out mainly as a male bastion," says Irby, "but several years ago, [Democratic] Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California decided that the women senators needed to be involved. So she provided seersucker suits for every female senator who did not already have one. Some, like Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, already did."
Even Sen. Hillary Clinton recently joined in the, um, fashion parade.
"We've had a boffo seersucker surge on the Senate floor," says Irby. Lott has spiced things up recently, adding hot pink socks and matching tie to his outfit, which, according to southern tradition, always includes white bucks.