Young, creative people of every generation express themselves through what they wear. I can’t say that we’ll look back fondly on the trend toward sagging pants and visible butt cracks, but here’s an outfit that goes back almost 70 years: The zoot suit.
Zoot suits had high waisted, wide-legged pants with a pegged tight cuff. Its long coat had wide lapels and padded shoulders, and the look was finished with a fedora and long feather.
I know. What a get-up. But it was common attire for young men about town in the late 1930s jazz age. My father’s youngest brother was a zoot-suiter, back in the day and we talked a bit about it in May.
My father’s family wasn’t very flashy, but his handsome, youngest brother was definitely a guy who loved the spotlight and the zoot suit was only the beginning. He and his vivacious wife were professional ballroom dancers who took center stage at any family wedding. We all loved to watch them gracefully float around the floor–and they loved entertaining.
My aunt’s been gone a couple of years now, but my uncle’s still with us, handsome as ever, still cutting a fine figure and with a smile that lights up any room.
I can’t look at him, though, even now, without thinking about him in his zoot suits.
Love the Cherry-Poppin Daddies version of Zoot Suit Riot. In fact, M. and I learned to swing dance to this version. Dedicate it to Uncle Joe and my late Aunt Mary.