The History of the Varsity Jacket, From Harvard to Hip-Hop
An MVP of American style, the letterman has taken some strange turns since it first hit the field. How fashion brands became the new ‘teams,’ and the many ways to wear the jackets now.
FESTOONED WITH patches, the varsity jacket has, for decades, announced its wearers as members of a team. But the nature of that team has changed over time. Elite male athletes at Ivy League schools wore early versions in the 1920s, said Deirdre Clemente, a fashion historian and the author of “Dress Casual: How College Students Redefined American Style.” The wool jackets—a love child of English rowing blazers and letterman sweaters—had snap buttons, leather sleeves and patches and pins denoting your college and team. They conferred status and swagger and said “I’m a big man on campus” quicker than a privileged glare.
This was written by Jamie Waters for The Wall Street Journal. Click here to continue reading.