An authentic "zoot suit" recently auctioned for $78,000. It had the wild fabric, long jacket with full sleeves that went to the fingertips, and roomy trousers that ended in tight cuffs falling at the toes of shoes. A long keychain that almost reached the floor and a hat with a tall feather completed the look. In the 1930s and '40s, it was popular with young black men, some musicians, and jitterbugging white working class youths. Soon the style spread to California and young Mexican Americans. The suit turned into what some Americans considered an "unpatriotic statement" during the fabric restrictions of World War II. It even led to a riot in Los Angeles in 1943 when U.S. sailors brawled with Mexican-American zoot suiters.
Photo: Augusta Auction Co.