A time machine trip just a bike ride away

by Roxanne Goldberg

Wearing a blue and white pinstriped seersucker suit, Patrick Landers lounged on the rolling green of the Hillwood Estate, stroking his beard and sipping a St. Germain Hummingbird – a cocktail with floral notes to match the spring flowers that draped beside him.

The 37-year-old spoke with a fake English accent, a tone that became part of the soundtrack of the third annual Seersucker Social – a day of dress up and make-believe for District adults.

“It’s just a bit of silliness that makes life fun,” Landers said, with an accent that matched the old-world feeling of the 25-acre estate and garden founded by Post cereal fortune heir, Marjorie Merriweather Post in the 1920s.

Landers and his friend, who modeled a peach frock with a matching headband, were two of nearly 1,000 people who tossed aside skinny jeans in favor of loose plus-four trousers and delicate taffeta dresses.

It was a celebration in the form of a grand garden party with croquet, badminton and picnics, similar to afternoons Merriweather Post hosted more than 80 years ago at the Northwest D.C. estate.

For many attendees, the day began with a leisurely bike ride through the District, where fedoras and cloche hats bobbed among a sea of bicycle helmets.

Media Credit: Francis Rivera | Photo Editor
Nick Devonshire, left, and Pier LaFarge, right, play a game of croquet on the lawn of the Hillwood Estate.

Finishing their ride at Hillwood Estate, cyclists were invited to take part in hat-making projects, swing dance lessons and games of badminton and croquet, while many preferred lounging and people-watching while listening to a live jazz band.

Lynn Rossotti, director of marketing and communications at Hillwood Estate, said event founders and organizers, Eric Brewer and Holly Bass from the social group Dandies and Quaintrelles, contacted the estate three years ago to put together a day dedicated to fashion and timelessness.

“We’re very interested in the balance between the old and the new and in how we can connect to contemporary audiences today,” Rosotti said.

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