The Nehru jacket is a hip-length tailored coat for men or women, with a mandarin collar, and with its front modelled on the Indian achkan or sherwani, an apparel worn by Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India from 1947 to 1964. Ironically, Nehru himself rarely wore the jacket named after him, preferring the more traditional sherwani/achkan or Western-style suit and tie.
The apparel was created in India in the 1940s as Band Gale Ka Coat (English: "Closed Neck Coat") and has been popular on the Indian subcontinent ever since, especially as the top half of a suit worn on formal occasions.
Unlike the achkan, which falls somewhere below the knees of the wearer, the Nehru jacket is shorter, resembling a military-style jerkin.
The jacket began to be marketed as the Nehru jacket in the Europe and America in the mid 1960s. It was briefly popular there in the late 1960s and early 1970s, its popularity spurred by growing awareness of foreign cultures, by the minimalism of the Mod lifestyle and, in particular, by the Beatles and subsequently the Monkees.
Decline of popularity in the West
In India, the Nehru jacket continues to be popular and is often termed "band-gala" (i.e. closed-neck). The suit worn by Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, on the occasion of a state visit by Barack Obama in 2015 was widely discussed and eventually auctioned for $695,000.
- "Nehru jacket - Everything2.com". Everything2.com. 2001-07-27. Retrieved 2010-01-11.
- "Nehru jacket". Retrieved 2015-01-21.
- India says Obama's tree not dead, just looks it; PM's suit sells for $695K, Chicago Tribune, Feb 20, 2015