Nehru jacket

Nehru jacket
Jawaharlal Nehru in a achkan or sherwani, a garment which served as a model for the Nehru jacket.

The Nehru jacket (Hindi: नेहरू जैकेट) is a hip-length tailored coat for men or women, created in India in the 1940s. The jacket essentially blends the collar of the achkan, historically the royal court dress of Indian nobles, with the Western suit jacket. It was popularized by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India.

The garment was created in Northern India, possibly in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, in the 1940s as Band Gale Ka Coat (Hindi/Urdu: "Closed Neck Coat"). It was intended for daily use by Indian government officials and leaders who did not want to adopt the Western suit, but wanted a more practical garment than the traditional Indian achkan or the sherwani, which are knee-length coats. The Nehru jacket is not only shorter, but in all respects other than the collar, resembles a suit jacket.

The jacket has been popular on the subcontinent since its creation, especially as the top half of a suit worn on formal occasions. For official uses, the jacket is typically made from dark, worsted fabrics. Politicians sometimes have their jackets made from khadi. In other formal and party wear, it may be made in styles similar to achkans or sherwanis, and may feature elaborate embroidery. Such suits featuring Nehru jackets are sometimes known as Jodhpuri suits.

The jacket was first marketed as the Nehru jacket in the West in the mid-1960s. It gained popularity between the late 1960s and early 1970s by growing awareness of Eastern cultures, by the minimalism of the Mod lifestyle, and in particular, with its adoption by the Beatles and the Monkees.[1][2]


Notable wearers


  • The Beatles wore Nehru jackets for their famous Shea Stadium performance of 1965.
  • Singer and bass guitar player Jack Bruce is wearing a Nehru jacket in the rare concert footage of Cream at the Palais des Sports in Paris on June 1, 1967.
  • Davy Jones of The Monkees wore Nehru jackets throughout the second phase of the second season of the show which was shot after the summer of love in 1967. Fellow Monkees Micky Dolenz & Peter Tork wore them as well.
  • The Doors, The Byrds, The Mamas & The Papas, Tommy James & The Shondells, Iron Butterfly, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Procol Harum, and other notable counter-culture musicians also wore them.
  • Musician Christoph Eschenbach in known for wearing black Nehru jackets in performance.

Television personalities

Steven Seagal sporting one of his signature Nehru jackets
  • Johnny Carson was commissioned to wear Nehru jackets on his show during the mid-1970s in the hopes of making them popular again.[3] His wearing one in 1966 launched the Johnny Carson brand of men's apparel manufactured by Hart Schaffner & Marx.
  • Sammy Davis, Jr. claimed to have over 200 Nehru jackets.
  • Paul Merton, a comedian famed for his unusual dress sense, has worn a Nehru Jacket on Room 101.
  • NBA sideline reporter Craig Sager, known for wearing outlandish attire, has worn a Nehru jacket.[4]
  • Steven Seagal wears Nehru jackets, as well as a variety of other Asiatic styles.
  • Comedian Richard Lewis wears Nehru jackets in homage to comedian Lenny Bruce.

Sports personalities

  • Former professional ice hockey player Mario Lemieux reportedly owns 75 Nehru jackets, collected during his stint as an NHL player.
  • Chicago White Sox commentator Ken Harrelson was well-known during his playing career for wearing Nehru jackets, and is occasionally seen wearing one on-screen.

Religious personalities

  • Televangelist Benny Hinn often wears a Nehru jacket.


  • Mahathir Mohammad, the former prime minister of Malaysia, is well known for his signature Nehru jackets.[5]
  • Charles Barron, New York City councilman, frequently wears Nehru suits.[6]

Notable wearers in popular fiction

  • The Master, a recurring character in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who and archenemy of the Doctor, wore a black Nehru jacket as part of his signature attire from 1971–73, when the role was portrayed by Roger Delgado.
  • Dr. No, the villain in the first "James Bond" movie wears a Nehru jacket and has Bond outfitted with one when he is captured and held prisoner.
  • Ernst Stavro Blofeld, a recurring villain in the James Bond series, wore clothing similar to the Nehru jacket.
  • Dr Evil from the Austin Powers film series is fond of wearing a Nehru jacket.
  • In the Jonny Quest franchise, the character Hadji, the Indian sidekick of Jonny, sports a Nehru jacket.

Elsewhere in popular culture

  • On an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the dimwitted news anchor Ted Baxter recalled wearing a Nehru jacket, and then asked, "Whatever happened to that Nehru designer?" When told that Nehru had been the Indian prime minister, Ted expressed relief that Nehru had found a steadier line of work.
  • In his song Everything You Know Is Wrong, Weird Al is wearing a Nehru jacket when entering heaven at the pearly gates. Saint Peter dislikes the outfit, stating that they have a "dress code," but lets him in anyway.[7]
  • In Toy Story 3, Barbie tortures Ken to get him to reveal information by tearing up some of his outfits. He refuses to reveal anything until she begins to tear his green Nehru jacket. Ken reveals the evil plans in order to save it.
  • In Season 2 of The Golden Girls, Dorothy invites a man she's been flirting with at the school she's teaching at over for dinner. Unbeknownst to Dorothy, however, the man happens to be a priest. That night he decides to wear his clerical clothing for the first time in front of Dorothy. As she walks into the living room to greet him, she gives a quick pause and says "Please tell me that's a Nehru jacket."

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Nehru jacket -". 2001-07-27. Retrieved 2010-01-11. 
  3. ^ Thomas Frank, The Conquest of Cool (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997), 191.
  4. ^ Steve Weinman | June 25, 2010 . "Exploring the origins of Craig Sager’s snappy dressing".
  5. ^ Steven Gan | May 23, 2006 . "Interviewing Dr M". Malaysiakini.
  6. ^ "Softer Side Of Councilman Barron". Daily News (New York). June 13, 2004. Retrieved March 24, 2011. 
  7. ^ Weird Al. "Everything You Know Is Wrong Lyrics". Lyrics Freak. 

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Nehru jacket — or Nehru coat, a long narrow jacket or coat that buttons up the front, with a high collar; Mao jacket. ╂[< Jawaharlal Nehru, 1889 1964, prime minister of India] …   Useful english dictionary

  • Nehru jacket — noun /ˈnɛə.ɹuː ˈdʒæk.ɪt,ˈneɪ.ɹu ˈdʒæk.ɪt/ A hip length tailored unisex coat with a mandarin collar, modelled on the South Asian achkan or sherwani and briefly popular in the West in the 1960s and 1970s …   Wiktionary

  • Nehru coat — Nehru jacket or Nehru coat, a long narrow jacket or coat that buttons up the front, with a high collar; Mao jacket. ╂[< Jawaharlal Nehru, 1889 1964, prime minister of India] …   Useful english dictionary

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  • Jacket — This article is about the garment. For other uses, see Jacket (disambiguation). A jacket is a hip or waist length garment for the upper body. A jacket typically has sleeves, and fastens in the front. A jacket is generally lighter, tighter fitting …   Wikipedia

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  • Nehru — of a type of long, narrow jacket with a standing collar (popular in Western fashion late 1960s), 1967, a reference to Jawaharlal Nehru (1889 1964), first prime minister of independent India (1947 1964), who often wore such a jacket in public… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Nehru — /nay rooh, ne rooh/, n. 1. Jawaharlal /jeuh wah heuhr lahl/, 1889 1964, Hindu political leader in India: first prime minister of the republic of India 1947 64 (father of Indira Gandhi). 2. his father Motilal /moh ti lahl/, 1861 1931, Indian… …   Universalium

  • Nehru collar — /neɪru ˈkɒlə/ (say nayrooh koluh) noun a collar similar to a Chinese collar but with rounded corners, popular in the 1960s. {from the style of jacket favoured by J Nehru} …  

  • Jawaharlal Nehru — 1st Prime Minister of India …   Wikipedia

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