Gone Before It Arrived: The Legacy of the Nehru Jacket in Contemporary Anglo-American Literature

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From 1967 to 1968, the Nehru jacket was a popular style of menswear, associated with youth, dissent, and pacifism. By late 1968, it had become unfashionable. One explanation for its demise is that the jacket was a fad, the victim of the fashion cycle. Judgements about those who wore the Nehru jacket, as well as dismissive attitudes towards the sixties, more generally, should also be taken into account when considering its fate. I propose that Anglo-American prose, drama, and poetry has nuanced our impressions of the jacket's vicissitudes as a fashion. The present study focusses on a close analysis of attitudes, values, and motives associated with the Nehru jacket in literature. We see the Nehru jacket portrayed as novelty, pretentious, foolish, anachronistic, and nostalgic. Examination of these portrayals reveals ambivalence about its legacy, and how this ambivalence is connected with ambivalent attitudes towards the era. For these reasons, the Nehru jacket continues to have a mixed reception in the history of fashion.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIn Fashion : Fashioning Culture, Commerce, Craft, and Identity
EditorsJacque Lynn Foltyn, Laura Petican
Number of pages22
Place of PublicationLeiden
PublisherBrill
Publication date17 Feb 2022
Pages61-82
Chapter3
ISBN (Print)978-90-04-44658-8
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-04-44659-5
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2022
SeriesAt the Interface/Probing the Boundaries
Volume135
ISSN1570-7113

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Humanities - Nehru jacket, 1960s, Fashion and literature, Fashion cycles, Fashion values, Fashion attitudes, Fashion motivations, Legacy, Nostalgia, Biography of things

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