Nehru jacket

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This article is about the article of clothing. For the album by Himanshu Suri, see Nehru Jackets.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in a achkan or sherwani, a garment which served as a model for the Nehru jacket.

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,[citation needed] 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 since, especially as the top half of a suit worn on formal occasions.


Indian prince Arvind Singh Mewar wearing pinstripe Nehru jacket

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.[1][2]

Several villains in the James Bond film series, including Dr. No, Karl Stromberg and Kamal Khan, appear wearing a Nehru jacket.

Decline of popularity in the West[edit]

Once thought to be a possible new standard for formal wear for men (perhaps even replacing the Tuxedo), the Nehru jacket instead fell rapidly in popularity within just a few years.[3]

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.[4]

See also[edit]