zoot suit n.
1. (orig. US black) a style of suit worn in the 1940s and 1950s, characterized by a long, draped jacket with padded shoulders and high-waisted tapering trousers; also attrib.; thus zoot-suited adj.; zoot-shirt, a brightly coloured shirt designed to be worn with a zoot suit; zoot pants, trousers designed like those of a zoot suit; zoot suit action, a fashion competition in which a wearer of a zoot suit attempts to outdo their rivals.
|Amer. Mercury July 96: zoot suit with the reet pleat: Harlem style suit, padded shoulders, 43-inch trousers at the knee with a cuff so small it needs a zipper to get into, high waistline, fancy lapels, bushels of buttons, etc.|
|Amboy Dukes 33: They wore zoot suits and felt hats with shallow crowns. [Ibid.] 96: Why’r you wearin’ that circus zoot?|
|USA Confidential 76: The new royalty in overalls and zoot-suits.|
|Rumble on the Docks (1955) 56: He could tell you [...] the new cut in the Zoot.|
|On The Road (1972) 125: A great mob of young men dressed in all varieties of hoodlum cloth, from red shirts to zoot suits. [Ibid.] 187: The tenorman wore [...] a purple shirt, cracked shoes, and zoot-pants.|
|(con. 1940s) Autobiog. (1968) 135: The young salesman picked off a rack a zoot suit that was just wild: sky-blue pants thirty inches in the knee and angle-narrowed down to twelve inches in the bottom, and a long coat that pinched my waist and flared out below my knees [...] When I modeled the zoot for Ella, she took a long look and said, ‘Well, I guess it had to happen.’.|
|Carlito’s Way 4: Always clean, none of that zoot-suit shit.|
|Fort Apache, The Bronx 100: Style was wearing a white zoot jacket that came right down to his hips.|
|Fixx 83: I owned [...] a wardrobe of zoot suits that were the envy of Soho.|
|Mr Blue 26: A zoot suit was ‘full drape,’ but they lost favor before I became concerned about style.|
|Guardian Weekend 4 Sept. 51: Melly decided [...] ‘to leave the gangsters and move into zoot suits, worn by the black guys from Harlem.’.|
|Observer Rev. 30 May 9: The zoot-suited announcer implored the crowd to welcome [...] ‘the Reverend Al Green.’.|
|Portable Promised Land (ms.) 43: A short, jet-black man [...] wearin a checkered zoot suit and diamonds on every finger.|
|Running the Books 307: The zoot-suited, fedora- and long-feather wearing persona.|
2. (US black) overexaggerated clothes.
|New Hepsters Dict. in Calloway (1976) 261: zoot suit (n.): overexaggerated clothes.|
3. (UK prison) prison clothing worn in the punishment cell.
|(con. 1970s) A Few Kind Words and a Loaded Gun 185: The normal attire worn in the strong-box is the ‘zoot-suit’, a slip-on top and shorts made from unrippable nylon and vinyl mix.|
1. a wearer of a zoot-suit, thus a fashionable person.
|DA].Assignment USA 189: The zooters, who earlier in the day had spread boasts that they were organized to ‘kill every cop’ they could find [|
|Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 123: The different types [of] non-recruited zoot suiters who put down romance hypes.|
|USA Confidential 161: Mexican zoot-suiters, known as pachucos, are tough hombres handy with knives, slick-haired pimps and dope-passers.|
|Junkie (1966) 145: No zoot-suiters. The hipster has gone underground.|
|Mean Streets (1956) 211: The two zoot suits were no longer in front of the cigar store.|
|(ref. to 1949) Psychotic Reactions (1988) 73: Holding the sax up like a big pacifier and blowing jive blasts past melody while the audience of zootsuiters howled with glee, well that was 1949.in|
|(con. 1945) Little Boy Blue (1995) 222: They’ll call the police after the zoot-suiters.|
|Mr Blue 99: She strutted in a parody of a zoot suiter, leaning backward, exaggerating her arm swing, a haughty expression on her face.|
2. in derog. use, a foolish, arrogant, vulgar young man, esp. when his image is boosted by flashy clothes.
affecting the styles associated with wearers of zoot suits.
|Drop Dead, My Lovely (2005) 16: The way you talk [...] And those zoot-suity clothes. And the hat.|
(US) wearing a zoot suit.
|Amboy Dukes 96: What’re you doing all zooted up?|