Clarissa M. Esguerra

Putting On a Zoot Suit

Putting On a Zoot Suit

A Case of Race and Class in the First Truly American Suit

The zoot suit was an icon of its time, born from the bespoke draped silhouettes of London’s Savile Row in the mid-1930s then adopted and exaggerated by young jazz-obsessed men and women across America. Amid a period of social and political turbulence just before World War II, the style was not only a means of dandyism, but also a badge of cultural identity for many African American and first-generation immigrant youths.

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