The Nehru Jacket and the Pop Culture: Catch the Full History Here From the Beatles to James Bond!

The Nehru jacket originated from the name of famous Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru. He was in charge from 1947 to 1964 and his trademark was the hip length tailored coat with the very classy mandarin collar coat. The jacket was based on the modified design of the South Asian sherwani or achkan. The iconic difference between the achkan and Nehru jacket is the length and the collar. Achkan falls below the knees whereas Nehru hardly reaches the hips and the unique collar shape resembles the jacket from other clothing. The pop culture has casted a big picture for the promotion of the great Nehru Jacket. The revolution of this iconic wearable has long history of the past that relates famous individuals. Let’s get the hint of the how the pop culture collaborated with the fashionable clothing.

The apparel of the famous jacket was innovated in the mid of 1940 and the stylish wearable was named as “Band Gale Ka Coat (Hindi)” which translates as “Closed Neck Coat.” It appeared in the market in a modified design ad updated fabrics from mid 1960 and the promotion of the clothing got popular with the Prime Ministers iconic appearance with the jacket. The wearable was the named as Nehru Jacket from 1960 and lately in 1970 the trend of wearing the jacket got huge market as foreign cultures welcomed the fashion tend warmly.

The legendary band Beatles wore the Nehru jacket in concert held on 1965 at Shea Stadium. The band again featured the clothing in June 1st 1967 as the lead vocal and guitarist Jack Bruce wore the Nehru Jacket. The rare concert footage of Cream held in Des Sports Paris hold the crispy memories of the golden days.

Famous artist Johnny Carson also promoted the Nehru Jacket. During his performance in the mid-1970, he wore the Nehru jacket to perform in a show. Rumors pledged that he used to get commission for wearing the Nehru Jacket. Before that, he wore the Nehru Jacket intentionally in 1966, which was manufactured by the famous men’s apparel brand Hart Schaffner, and Marx.

The one and only bond series also signifies the fashion trend of long jackets. Bond villain Dr. No, wore the Nehru jacket in the film titled as the same name. Famous Indian actor Kamal Khan coated with the same garment in several color in the Octopussy film. The olden days of the jacket has been tremendously mesmerized in the bond series movie Tomorrow Never Dies. The leading character Elliot Carver casted with the black Nehru Jacket throughout the whole movie. The Nehru fashion lately extended in the Spectre chieftain show as the actor Ernst Stavro Bofeld featured the Nehru jacket.

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Image Credits –

It should be mentioned that the popularity of the Nehru jacket even spread from the action packed Bond series to the comedy series also. The villain Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers series also dressed with the Nehru jacket. Though, the origin indicates the political individual of Prime Minister of India but it has been widely popular as the villains costume in movies. However, the trend has been still contained by the cultural activities in some regions. The wedding ceremony of Asian culture still lists the Nehru jacket as one of the favorite wearing.

The Fashionable and Intriguing History of the Nehru Jacket

Fashion comes and fashion goes, but there are some classics that stay forever! It is worth mentioning that fashion is a cycle, it may be outdated today but it was the trend before, and it may not be the most glamorous entity today, but it might have been a rage before. There are also fashionable entities, which have been very consistent since day one.

What happens is that, creative people try to invent a new look from the old one, but the original concept still remains. In respect to Nehru Jacket, it was one of the most traditional outfits that became popular quickly and has a rich and intriguing history. Basically, it is a hip length coat worn by men. Bearing a resemblance of Achkan, Bandhgala or Sherwanni designs, it has a button placket and a mandarin collar.

Origin and History

Named after Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister in India, Nehru Jacket came in fashion and note during his routines. Basically, it was designed in India a way back 1900’s, belonging to the pre-independence era. During that time, people who wore Nehru Jacket were viewed as high school social class because it was seen as “Bandh Gale Ka Coat”.

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As you noticed, it has a neck that bears a resemblance to the younger version turtlenecks. It also became the national attire in every man’s wardrobe in India, which signifies the big respect to this type of apparel. As time passed by, it became a traditional Jacket due to the fact that the prime minister, the years and the trends changed. Nehru visited Truman, Kennedy and Eisenhower during his political office duties. Americans learned what Nehru wore when Jacqueline Kennedy visited him in 1962.

During the same period, rejection and experimentation of suit dressing occurred in the Western Fashion. When the Beatles and George Harrison went to India, Nehru Jacket became a fad because both learned music and meditation.  They are one of those people who brought Nehru Jacket into the official fashion world. And suddenly, from being the most criticized suit it became a fashion statement.  The Nehru Jacket crossed over the Atlantic and was also worn in the United States. Though considered only as a short-lived statement on the both sides of Atlantic, it achieved a classic statement to global society, particularly British Commonwealth countries having Indian diasporas. Most tuxedo rental stores and shops now offer Nehru Jackets with trousers to match. There are also several garments to choose, not only for business meetings, corporation attire, party events but also for the weddings. The humbler designs and versions of these garments continued to be in use to all rural India where it was originated.

The Fashion Evolution

In the earlier century, Nehru jacket was not really looking like a jacket. It has a basic structure has remained the same throughout. It has a buttoned straight cut fit in the center and mandarin collar, which supports elegance and flexibility.  During the first years, it was manufactured by the Kadhi cloth only. Today, the jacket is made out of different materials, like cotton, linen, tussar silk and velvet.



Both cotton and Tussar are the 2 textiles that are being blended together in order to create a material used for the large scale. With respects to the changing demands of the fashion industry, it showcases vibrant patterns and designs. For example, embroidery has given the fashion statement an incredibly interesting face.  Nehru Jackets that are embroidered and decorated with shimmering threads in copper, silver and Gold are popular wedding clothes. The modern Indian women also experiment with Nehru jackets. The length usually comes with waist-length up to knee length, together with bolder patterns.  Nehru jacket can be worn on different events, be it a party or business meetings. If you happen to love the Indian culture and wanted to wear something that looks foreign, you can have it on your wedding day also.

Considering the fun fact, Jawaharlal Nehru never wore the Nehru Jacket himself. As mentioned he wore something that bears a resemblance into it. The only reason why it was called a Nehru jacket is the fact that it was sold and marketed as Nehru jacket in the Western part of the world. Though, it has an intriguing history, what matter most is how it contributes to the fashion industry. Nehru jacket is a type of fashionable and classy entity, which should be respected because it was named after the first Prime Minister in India and became known during the political struggles in India.