How to Rock a Zoot Suit: Tips and Tricks for a Stylish Look

How to Rock a Zoot Suit: Tips and Tricks for a Stylish Look

Posted by Aaron Sarfati on May 29, 2023

How to Rock a Zoot Suit: Tips and Tricks for a Stylish Look

Are you looking to add some timeless and classic style to your wardrobe? Look no further than the iconic Zoot Suit. This ensemble, with its high-waisted, wide-legged trousers and long, tailored jackets, has been a fashion staple since the 1930s and continues to make a statement today. How to rock a Zoot Suit can be a bit tricky if you're not familiar with the style. Fear not, as we have compiled a list of essential tips and tricks to help you rock a Zoot Suit with confidence and style. From finding the perfect fit to accessorizing with the right shoes and hat, we've got you covered.

We're privileged to have Aaron Sarfati CEO of Contempo Suits share his insight with us today. With over 38 of hands-on experience in men's suit and footwear business, Aaron Sarfati has navigated the intricacies of recognizing all the various styles of suits and understanding how they are designed, manufactured, gaining a wealth of knowledge along the way. His first-hand experiences, combined with his vast expertise in how they are made and what makes a quality suit, makes him a true authority on the subject.

So, let's dive in and learn how to make a statement with this timeless fashion statement.

History of the Zoot Suit

The Zoot Suit originated in African American and Latino communities in the United States during the 1930s and 1940s. It was a symbol of resistance and rebellion against mainstream society, which at the time was largely segregated and discriminatory. The high-waisted, wide-legged trousers and long, tailored jackets were designed to exaggerate the male form and make a bold statement. The Zoot Suit was worn by jazz musicians, gangsters, and young men who were looking to make a statement with their fashion choices.

During World War II, the Zoot Suit became a controversial symbol of anti-establishment sentiment. In 1943, a series of riots broke out in Los Angeles between young African American and Mexican American men who wore Zoot Suits and servicemen who viewed the suits as unpatriotic and disrespectful. The riots, which became known as the Zoot Suit Riots, led to a crackdown on Zoot Suit wearers and a ban on the production of Zoot Suits during the war.

Despite the controversy and the ban, the Zoot Suit continued to be a popular fashion choice among young men in the decades that followed. Today, the Zoot Suit is seen as a timeless and classic style that represents individuality, creativity, and rebellion.

Key Elements of a Zoot Suit

The Zoot Suit is characterized by its high-waisted, wide-legged trousers and long, tailored jackets. The trousers are typically pleated and cuffed, and they are worn well above the waistline. The jacket is cut long and slim, with padded shoulders and wide lapels. The Zoot Suit is designed to be worn with a dress shirt and tie, and it is often accessorized with a fedora or other type of hat.

One of the key elements of a Zoot Suit is its exaggerated proportions. The trousers are designed to be baggy and loose, with a wide silhouette that emphasizes the hips and thighs. The jacket is also cut to exaggerate the male form, with a narrow waist and broad shoulders.

Another important element of a Zoot Suit is its attention to detail. The suit is often adorned with elaborate stitching, buttons, and other decorative elements that add to its unique style and character.

Choosing the Right Fabric for Your Zoot Suit

When choosing a fabric for your Zoot Suit, it's important to consider both the look and the feel of the material. You want a fabric that looks good and feels comfortable to wear.

There are a variety of fabrics that can be used to make a Zoot Suit, including wool, cotton, and linen. Wool is a popular choice because it drapes well and has a luxurious feel. Cotton is a good option for warmer weather, as it is lightweight and breathable. Linen is also a good choice for summer, as it is lightweight and has a relaxed, casual feel.

When choosing a fabric, consider the color and pattern as well. A classic Zoot Suit is usually black, navy, or gray, but you can also experiment with bolder colors and patterns if you want to make a statement. Just make sure that the fabric you choose complements your skin tone and personal style.

Finding the Perfect Fit

Finding the perfect fit for your Zoot Suit is essential if you want to look stylish and feel comfortable. The trousers should fit comfortably at the waist and hips, and should be loose and baggy through the thighs. The jacket should fit snugly through the shoulders and chest, with sleeves that are the right length and trousers that are the right length for your height.

It's important to get your Zoot Suit tailored to fit your body properly. A good tailor will be able to adjust the fit of your suit to ensure that it looks and feels great on you. Don't be afraid to ask for adjustments or alterations if you're not happy with the fit of your suit.

Accessorizing Your Zoot Suit

Accessorizing your Zoot Suit is an important part of the overall look. A fedora or other type of hat is a classic accessory that can add a touch of sophistication to your outfit. A dress shirt and tie are also essential, and should be chosen to complement the color and pattern of your suit.

Shoes are another important accessory when it comes to a Zoot Suit. Classic dress shoes are a good choice, but you can also experiment with more casual styles if you want to add a touch of personality to your outfit. Just make sure that your shoes are clean and polished, and that they match the overall look of your suit.

Styling Your Hair and Grooming Tips

Styling your hair and grooming are important parts of the overall look when it comes to a Zoot Suit. A slicked-back hairstyle or a pompadour are classic styles that complement the look of a Zoot Suit. You can also experiment with other hairstyles that suit your personal style and taste.

In terms of grooming, it's important to keep your facial hair neat and trimmed. A well-groomed beard or mustache can add a touch of sophistication to your look, but make sure that it's well cared for and not too scruffy.

Where to Wear a Zoot Suit

A Zoot Suit is a versatile outfit that can be worn on a variety of occasions. It's a popular choice for theme weddings, costume parties and casual events if you want to add a touch of personality and style to your outfit.

Famous Zoot Suit Wearers

Over the years, there have been many famous Zoot Suit wearers who have made a statement with their fashion choices. Jazz musicians like Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington were known for their stylish Zoot Suits, as were gangsters like Al Capone and Lucky Luciano. In more recent years, entertainers like Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae have embraced the Zoot Suit as a timeless and stylish fashion statement.

Conclusion

The Zoot Suit is a timeless and classic style that has been making a statement for decades. By following these essential tips and tricks, you can rock a Zoot Suit with confidence and style. From finding the perfect fit to accessorizing with the right shoes and hat, the Zoot Suit is an outfit that allows you to express your individuality and creativity. So, next time you're looking to add some timeless and classic style to your wardrobe, consider a Zoot Suit – it's a fashion statement that never goes out of style.