Nehru jackets gained popularity in the 1960s up till the 1970s and were based on the public attire of Jawarharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India upon its independence.
The clothing was comprised of lapels and collars that were front button-closure and featured stand-up collars. Americans began taking notice of the attire that prime minister Nehru wore when the USA formed a coalition with India and Pakistan against communism after China threatened Indian sovereignty.
Nehru visited the USA on several occasions, and eventually met fashion icon and popular first lady of the United States, Jacqueline Kennedy, in 1962. While Americans followed the style trends of Mrs Kennedy, so did they notice the apparel of her guests.
The outfit of Nehru soon inspired a western fashion movement through slight deviations from its original design. Nehru jackets were in fad during a time when the media was focused on martini idols like Marlon Brando who wore leather jackets and t-shirts.
When the Beatles visited India in 1966, members were inspired by the local fashion and brought home the concept of Nehru suits, wearing them in public appearances. Americans influenced by the British band were intrigued by the suits worn by their idols and the practice of wearing the novel suits soon caught on with local celebrities like Johnny Carson.
Nehru jackets remain an iconic fashion statement that revolutionized the western suit.