A style of suits first popularized in African American communities, they became popular with other groups, as well. Zoot suits typically used excessive fabric, giving them a baggy look which was supposed to signal wealth and status.
The timeline below shows where the term Zoot suits appears in The Autobiography of Malcolm X. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3: “Homeboy”
...a local neighborhood store and on Shorty’s recommendation, Malcolm gets measured for a sky blue zoot suit that he buys on credit (a practice that Earl Little always condemned). The store manager... (full context)
Chapter 4: Laura
Chapter 5: Harlemite
Chapter 6: Detroit Red
...all night. Another young white “hippie” who appropriates the style and slang of the black zoot suit ers can be seen everywhere in Harlem. Nevertheless, this white boy still makes a nasty... (full context)