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Zoot Suit
May 26, 2004 9:27 PM   Subscribe

Zoot Suit
posted by y2karl (21 comments total)

 
Also,

El Pachuco
World War Two and the Zoot Suit Riots
Los Angeles Times: Zoot Suit Riots
Suavecito's Zoot Suit Riots page
A Zoot Suit
The Sleepy Lagoon Murder Case
Pachuquismos
posted by y2karl at 9:28 PM on May 26, 2004


Good post, y2vato.
posted by wendell at 9:42 PM on May 26, 2004


"Oh, wicked, bad, naughty Zoot!"
posted by undecided at 10:00 PM on May 26, 2004


Why a big suit?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:02 PM on May 26, 2004


Zoot Sims.
posted by LeLiLo at 11:09 PM on May 26, 2004


It's not a big suit. David Byrne just has a really small head.
posted by salmacis at 12:50 AM on May 27, 2004


See also, Zoot Suit.
posted by Verdant at 4:22 AM on May 27, 2004


Zoot (adj.): overexaggerated as applied to clothes.--from Kaiser L's copy of Cab Calloways Hepster Dictionary (1938) ,
Click Archiv, click Cab Calloways Hepster Dictionary (1938), Zum Hepster's Dictionary, click Z, 'cause Kaiser L don't allow not direct links...

Jessica Bonney asserts that "Zoot” was already common street slang for extravagance on her Fashion of the 1930's page.

Zoot the word is apparently always associated with fashion in the time of Zoot Suits and allegedly apparently associated with ganja now.
posted by y2karl at 8:27 AM on May 27, 2004


Zoot Man Rollo played in what band?
a.) The Necessaries
b.) Captain Beefheart
c.) Thunderclap Newman
d.) Other (name)
posted by Faze at 8:43 AM on May 27, 2004


Zoot was my favorite Muppet growing up.

But more on topic, I almost bought a zoot suit in Milwaukee a couple years ago, but I didn't have enough cash. They're damn swanky.
posted by me3dia at 8:55 AM on May 27, 2004


Wow. I usually hate suits and use "suit" as a term with connotations of elitism, businessmen/executives, lack of common sense and callouses, yuppyism, and everything that is contrary to a working class and/or socialist ethic.

Yet the zoot suit was once a political/class/artistic statement against the establishment.

This is very cool.
posted by Shane at 8:59 AM on May 27, 2004


Cool link. I never realized the culture war behind the fashion.
posted by caddis at 9:14 AM on May 27, 2004


Captain Beefheart. And I thought it was Zoot Horn Rollo.

Back on topic, the Zoot Suit Riots and their aftermath provided a lot of the raw material for the second novel in James Ellroy's LA Quartet, The Big Nowhere.

I usually hate suits and use "suit" as a term with connotations of elitism, businessmen/executives, lack of common sense and callouses, yuppyism, and everything that is contrary to a working class and/or socialist ethic.

Actually, most blue-collar guys I know, when they're not on the job, tend to be sharp dressers, almost excessively so. My old man grew up in a working-class section of New York and even when he was a kid people said you could shoot him and bury him in the same suit. Although he said his dad was a stone cold slob. Maybe the gene skips a generation.

In Radical Chic said something to the effect that in the sixties, college-age people tended to dress in jeans, watch caps and pea-coats to identify with the working class, whereas the street kids dressed in sharkskin and brylcreem a la James Brown.
posted by jonmc at 9:20 AM on May 27, 2004


and oh yeah, in high school, I knew a guy named Billy who was in a band who was a dead ringer for that muppet. So much that we actually called him "Zoot."

And no he wasn't blue.
posted by jonmc at 9:21 AM on May 27, 2004


jonmc -- Thanks for the Zoot Horn Rollo correction. And I agree with about the class aspects of suit wearing. Working class people appreciate a nice suit and look up to a man who has the self-respect to wear one. You have to be pretty well off to scorn good clothes in this world.
posted by Faze at 9:43 AM on May 27, 2004


You have to be pretty well off to scorn good clothes in this world.

I can appreciate 'em. I just don't wear 'em, because I don't feel comfortable in 'em, and my job dosen't require it. So it's jeans, t-shirts and chucks for me. But as a wise man once said "Every girl crazy bout a sharp dressed man."

There's a racial aspect to the suit-wearing thing, too. It's a generaliztion, but black and hispanic street guys who want to appear cool will dress up sharp and do the bling-bling thing, whereas white street guys will do the biker thing and flout neatness and hygeine rules to make their point. I think it might have to do with flouting cultural expectations.
posted by jonmc at 9:49 AM on May 27, 2004


Working class people appreciate a nice suit and look up to a man who has the self-respect to wear one. You have to be pretty well off to scorn good clothes in this world.

I'll agree with that first bit back in my grandfather's time. He always looked good and always had a good suit and hat, even during the depression when he gleaned coal from the railroad tracks for the stove and shot rabbits for dinner.

Now, though, the idea that you have to be rich to scorn the impracticality of expensive clothing that is not durable under physical duress is, well... absolutely, patently ridiculous. Unless you're utterly fooled by the idea that the clothes really do make the man, in which case you're more than welcome to live out your fantasies in the pages of GQ.
posted by Shane at 9:52 AM on May 27, 2004


"He's got the boogie on his fingers & the hubba-hubba in his soul!"

This is all I know about zoot suits.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:53 AM on May 27, 2004


I'll agree with that first bit back in my grandfather's time.

Even now, to a degree, go to club or bar in a working class neighborhood on a friday night. Everyone will be dressed to kill belive me. The mods (famous for their sartorial splendidness) were to a large degree, working-class yobbo's from London's East End. The greasy haired Rockers were working-class kids too, but they tended to be from outlying areas. Maybe it's an urban versus rural thing.

Now, though, the idea that you have to be rich to scorn the impracticality of expensive clothing that is not durable under physical duress is, well... absolutely, patently ridiculous.

I'd have to agree on that, as I'm a slob myself, and far from rich. But it does tend to be the wealthy who romanticize squalor and slovenliness. So Faze has something of a point.
posted by jonmc at 9:58 AM on May 27, 2004


Zoot suit, white jacket with side vents
Five inches long.
I'm out on the street again
And I'm leaping along.
I'm dressed right for a beachfight,
But I just can't explain
Why that uncertain feeling is still
Here in my brain. - Cut My Hair (Quadrophenia)
posted by tommasz at 10:29 AM on May 27, 2004


But it does tend to be the wealthy who romanticize squalor and slovenliness.

I'm a poor slovenly slob living in squalor. So there! Um, waitaminnit...
posted by Shane at 12:10 PM on May 27, 2004


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