Maybe it's time to dust off your old zoot suits, hepcats! My friend Voon forwarded to me this news from Augusta Auctions. Apparently a WWII era yellow-striped zoot suit was auctioned in New York City for a whopping $78,000 earlier this month. Here's how Augusta Auctions described the action:
Our November 2 fashion sale in New York City was filled with surprises but none quieted the crowd in attendance as much as the bidding for one of our featured lots, the World War II era zoot suit discovered at an estate sale in New Jersey.
The bidding moved rapidly back and forth between bidders on the floor and those on multiple phone lines before settling in on two serious phone bidders. And the bids kept on coming.
Auctioneer Leila Dunbar kept the crowd entranced as the rare striped wool zoot suit rose from its $500 opening bid to settle at $65,000 ($78,000 including the buyer's premium).
But what could make a zoot suit worth so much money, you ask? First, off, it is extremely rare. There are apparently very few original, WWII era zoot suits left, other than in a few museums. And this one was particularly unique:
- It is made of two contrasting striped woolens, one a red & grey stripe on cream and the other a blue stripe on oatmeal.
- The trousers boast an extremely high waistline, a 17" zippered fly, and balloon legs tightly pegged at the cuffs.
- The knee length jacket has exaggerated padded shoulders, wide notched revers fashioned from the two different striped fabrics, and floppy oversized external pockets.
According to Augusta Auctions, this suit set a new world auction record for a 20th Century gentleman's garment. If you would like to see it in person, reportedly it was purchased by a major American museum's costume collection and show be on display to the public in the future.
I personally find it kind of fugly. But I wonder what it would like on an actual human?
And an apropos "soundie" for your listening pleasure…
1 thought on “Vintage Zoot Suit Auctioned for nearly $80K”
wow… i was just listening to an old segment about cab calloway on npr and they talked about how influential he was on the fashion of the period… that when in public, he preferred to overdo everything – his way of speaking, the way he introduced himself, and the way he dressed, thereby inspiring caricatures of himself… which is why the zoot suits (like the one above) and chains became even more whimsical…
whoever made this suit took a lot of care to match those stripes! so sweet… 🙂 all vintage (casual and dress) menswear is hard to find because like most modern men – they wore their clothing to threads… it really is an amazing find – and purchased second hand for $20! score! 🙂