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Nehru jacket

The Nehru jacket is a mandarin collared, hip length coat that is notably popular in the Indian subcontinent and its adjoining neighboring countries. It is named after the first prime minister of India, pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, as he had introduced this style of coat, although ironically he wore it very occasionally preferring the western suit or sherwani. These jackets are a spin- off from the popular sherwanis or achkans which were popular among the aristocratic classes of the Indian elites. The popularity of the Nehru jacket began to spread during the 1940s and it was locally known as the closed neck coat. The Nehru jacket gained popularity in the Western countries during the 1960s and early 1970s, through the pop- rock bands 'The Beatles' and 'The Monkees', and through several villains of the James Bond film series who wore the jacket. However, its popularity started declining within a few years and it became almost completely forgotten. A similar kind of garment, the Mao suit became popular which featured a similar kind of structure. The mandarin collared structure of the jacket is still popular among the western countries in the form of military garb. The fabric of the Nehru jacket can be cotton, linen, silk, wool, velvet or other synthetic materials. Silk and velvet jackets with embellishments or embroidery on them give a rich look. Hence those are preferable for ethnic outfits on special occasions, whereas the cotton and linen are the best for everyday casuals. Woolen Nehru jackets serve the purpose of keeping the wearer warm during the colder months.


Other than the mandarin collar, a Nehru jacket almost resembles a normal suit jacket. The mandarin collar is a short stand up collar which is not turned down and it does not feature any kind of lapel. The jacket may have single or double vents. The collar is fastened with the help of a hook, and this makes the jacket look neat and polished. The Nehru jacket can be of sleeveless or full sleeved styles, although the sleeveless style is the most popular. The sleeveless ones are worn over ethnic wear like kurtas or Indian shirts as a contrasting outerwear to complete the look, while the full sleeved ones also serve the function of protecting the wearer from the cold. The jacket is of hip length and it features a single row of buttons on the front.

Nehru jacket


The most classic styling of the Nehru jacket is with a kurta and chudidar or pajama pants. Wearing a Nehru jacket over a long Indian kurta, can top the look with grace and add a dash of interest to the otherwise bland look.

Since the jacket does not display much shirt except for the sleeves and the collars, it is the best to wear it with a collarless shirt. This makes sure that the Nehru jacket does not end up looking like a sweater vest.

While wearing the jacket over kurtas, it is the best when the jacket is of a contrasting color to the kurta and doesn't blend in with the kurta. This creates a vivid and a bright look and diminishes the dullness of the outfit. The jacket should stand out more boldly and hence it should be the brightest piece of the ensemble.

It can also be worn similarly over a collarless Indian shirt or kurta and a pair of dhotis. This is another ethnic look suitable for special occasions.

A long sleeved Nehru jacket can be worn with a graceful pair of contrasting trouser pants and a neutral colored subtle dress shirt. This is a blend of the western and Indian looks, and this look can be sported to smart casual and semi- dressy occasions.

A velvet and embellished Nehru jacket can be worn with Jodhpuri pants and dress shirts, to create an ethnic dressy look.

A stylish casual look can be created with pairing the Nehru jacket with a fresh pair of jeans and a long sleeved shirt. The shirt should be left untucked to create a very smart stylish look. Contrast is the key with this look, and therefore the jacket should stand out more than the shirt.

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Nehru jacket Nehru jacket

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