The varsity or “letterman jacket” is traditionally worn by American high school and college athletes and band participants. Originally the purpose of the jacket was to house a schools letter, letters were given out for a variety of reasons but often signified athletic and academic achievements. Throughout the years of its existence the jacket has been worn in a variety of ways. From its continued popular status on the football field to the celebrity spot light. Regardless of who is wearing the jacket it will always represent scholastic achievement.
The sporting of the iconic letterman jacket began as early as the 1940s when high school and college athletes would wear the jacket in a way of supporting their team. Traditionally the jacket is constructed of a boiled wool body (often made with chenille) and leather sleeves. Both the arms and the body often contrast in color to represent the schools main colors.
Receiving a varsity letter became somewhat of a milestone in young athletes life. Once they got their first letter they were able to purchase a jacket and stitch the letter over the left breast. As time went on and they accumulated different patches one could stitch those patches throughout the body of the jacket. The more letters and patches one had, the more achievements they’ve made.
In 1965 the Japanese author Shosuke Ishizu published the book Take Ivy, the book photographed American “ivy style” and sparked a Tokyo based fashion revolution. After the release of this book the letterman jacket was used as a major fashion statement rather then a totem of athletic achievement. As time went on more and more people sported the jacket as an article of fashion rather then one of school spirit.
Today the varsity jacket is one of the most popular fashion items around. Celebrities such as Kanye West and Kid Cudi have been seen wearing the jacket in the past couple of months.
So where can you get a lettermen jacket? Well you have two options. The first is to look on sites such as craigslist and eBay in hopes of finding a vintage jacket at a low price. The other is to purchase a new one from stores like Rugby Ralph Lauren, varsity jackets can be purchased and customized to an individuals liking. Stores like this have really influenced the items popularity .