Green’s Dictionary of Slang

drape n.

[after its rejection by US blacks, the drape suit was taken up by Teddy Boys in the UK in the 1950s]

1. (orig. US black) a suit, typified by its generously cut, long, draped jacket with padded shoulders and high-waisted, tapering trousers.

[US]Pittsburgh Courier (PA) 1 July 11/2: [cartoon caption] Officer Johnson [...] that ‘harlem drape’ has got to go .
[US]C. Himes ‘Lunching at the Ritzmore’ in Coll. Stories (1990) 16: Strutting Filipinos, the sharp-cat Mexican youths in their ultra drapes.
[US]Cab Calloway New Hepsters Dict. in Calloway (1976).
[US]Mad mag. June 20: We wear drapes and suedes and we dig bop talk.
[US]Hughes & Bontemps Book of Negro Folklore 489: Where did you get that drape? Your pants look like a cape.
[UK]C. MacInnes Mr Love and Justice (1964) 74: The man in Italian drape and pointeds.
[UK]B.S. Johnson All Bull 26: The Teds had put away their drapes and drainpipes.
[UK]Indep. on Sun. Rev. 19 Mar. 18: Leather shoes and teddy boy drapes.

2. (orig. US black) usu. in pl., clothes, a suit.

[US]Cab Calloway Hi De Ho 16: drape: suit of clothes, dress, costume.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 33: The drapes they handed me a jungle bum would wear on weekdays.
Park East Dec. 31: His drapes were all crummy, his toupee was beat.
[US]J.A. Williams Night Song (1962) 93: I thought I was a hip paddy boy, like some of the kids you see around now in pegs and drapes.
[US](con. late 1940s) E. Thompson Tattoo (1977) 503: He was [...] blade thin, with waist and hips like a snake in high-rise drapes of soiled white windowpane check.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 110: There is a large vocabulary that defines clothes in general – drapes, rags, pieces, threads, fronts, styles.

3. (orig. US black) those who wear such suits.

[US]Time 30 Jan. 18: The true drape wore his hair seaweed-long. Drapes resent any comparison with zoot-suiters [W&F].
[UK]Guardian Guide 29 Apr.–5 May 89: Set in 1954 Baltimore, [...] he introduces her to life on the wild side and his gang of ‘drapes’.

In compounds

drape shape (n.)

1. a style of man’s suit, typified by its generously cut, long, draped jacket with padded shoulders and high-waisted, tapering trousers; also attrib.

[US]B. O’Brien ‘I Wanna Zoot Suit’ [lyrics] I wanna zoot suit with a reet pleat/ With a drape shape and a stuff cuff / To look sharp enough to see my Sunday girl.
[US]New Yorker 19 June 14: Designing the first drape-shape coat [W&F].
[US](con. 1940s) J. Ellroy Black Dahlia (1988) 11: Our service revolvers had been taken from us at the station; the brass did not want .38’s falling into the hands of reet pleat, stuff cuff, drape shape, Argentine ducktail Mexican gangsters.
[US]F.X. Toole Pound for Pound 72: Slick-dick dudes who wore zoot suits with reet pleats and drape shapes.

2. (US) of a woman or girl, a good figure.

[US]Chicago Trib. Graphic Section 26 Dec. 7/1: Jive Talk [...] Drape shape — good figure.