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Coming This Summer: The World's Largest Seersucker Flash Mob! by BIll hAltoM

edition), I am the second-best dressed member of the Memphis Bar, ranking just behind Mayor A C Wharton, and slightly ahead of Judge


Butch Childers when he is wearing his Elvis costume. (Te white jumpsuit, circa Elvis 1970. I prefer the gold lamé suit Elvis wore on the jacket of his classic 1959 album, 50 Million Elvis Fans Can’t be Wrong.) Nine months out of the year, I dress, in the immortal words

of the late great Wyeth Chandler, “like I work for the Memphis Funeral Home.” Every time I appear in court, I wear a dark suit, white shirt, silk tie, black policeman’s shoes, and a somber expression. I am pleased to report that in my 35 years of law practice,

I have never been dressed down, so to speak, by a judge for failing to meet the Judge Wyeth Chandler dress code. Unlike my cousin Vinnie, I have never had Judge Herman Munster look at me and say, “Mr. Haltom, the next time you appear in my courtroom, you are going to be wearing a suit, and it is going to be made of some type of cloth.” But it is from Memorial Day to Labor Day when I really

dress like a lawyer. When it’s summer time in Memphis, I become a man of the cloth, and that cloth is seersucker. For those of us who live and practice law in the Delta (and

as historian David Cohn famously wrote, the Delta begins in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel), seersucker is the greatest fashion invention of all time. My late friend Jerry Salemi, who owned Alfred’s Men’s

Store, called a seersucker suit “a Memphis summer tuxedo.” No doubt about it, a seersucker suit is what the well-dressed

Memphis lawyer should wear from Memorial Day to Labor Day. If you really want to personify seersucker summer sartorial

splendor, your summer lawsuit must be also accompanied by appropriate footwear, specifically white bucks. And if you really want to look the part, you can literally top off your seersucker suit and white bucks with a straw boater hat.


n all modesty, I am one of the best-dressed lawyers in the Memphis Bar. In fact, according to Gentlemen’s Quarterly (Frayser

Tose of us old enough to remember the great Judge James

Tarpe can recall the image of him walking into the courthouse on a summer morning, resplendent in his blue and white striped classic cotton seersucker, white bucks, and straw hat. He was the coolest judge you ever saw, literally. Two summers ago, I travelled to Knoxville where I was a

part of one of the greatest events of my life, a seersucker flash mob. It was put together by the Knoxville Bar Association and was attended by some 50 seersucker-clad lawyers from across the Volunteer State. Well, okay, 49 of the lawyers were from Knoxville, and one was from Memphis (me), but that is from across the Volunteer State. It was the greatest assembly of well-dressed lawyers ever

held in Tennessee, but I think the time has come to surpass it. Memphis, for all rights and purposes, should be the

seersucker capital of the world. After all, the heat index in Memphis on a typical summer day is probably the same as Ted Williams’ lifetime batting average. We Memphians should be known around the world not only for Elvis and barbeque and the Peabody ducks, but also for lawyers in seersucker suits, bearing a remarkable resemblance to Atticus Finch or Ben Matlock. And so, I am asking my fellow Memphis lawyers to get

ready, and get dressed. Sometime this summer, we are going to hold a seersucker flash mob in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel. I can’t announce the date. By definition, a flash mob is

pretty close to a spontaneous event. All I can tell you is that on some morning this summer, you will receive an email, text, or tweet telling you to throw your seersucker jacket on and head to the lobby of the Peabody. My goal is simple. I want us to smash the attendance

record of the Knoxville Bar Association seersucker flash mob and claim Memphis as the site of the largest seersucker flash mob in history. Te seersucker gauntlet has been cast. I can’t tell you exactly when the Great Memphis Seersucker

Flash Mob is going to happen, but be ready. Keep your powder and your seersucker dry. t

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