Blogs

Home / Blog

The History and Evolution of the Varsity Jacket


The History and Evolution of the Varsity Jacket

As one of the most iconic pieces of apparel in history, varsity jackets have undoubtedly earned their status throughout the centuries. This piece of clothing, which started as a representation of the men in the sporting field, has now become a fashion-forward clothing item gracing the wardrobes of millions.

After its popularity, high-end brands like Saint Laurent and Coach incorporated these varsity jackets into their winter and fall lines.

But the essence of it is undoubtedly dedicated to the spirit of sports. The actual varsity jacket is something that is earned and worn by students who are athletes in their high schools and colleges. This is probably why these jackets carry an air of flaunt and play. The patches on these varsity jackets are a symbol of achievement on the student's part. These jackets have the player's name and number, which are an essential component on the playing field.

And to honor this timeless piece of clothing, Elegant Patches provides you with premium quality patches that are sure to last. From bearing the honor of representation to turning into memorabilia, these patches will stick with you and your varsity jacket for a long time to come.

With our quality and low prices, you can race your jacket with various kinds of patches. Therefore, whenever you want to go fashion-forward with your varsity jackets, Elegant Patches will be right beside you for the journey.

Like various inventions, the history of varsity jackets is rich, to say the least. Nowadays, varsity jackets are a vital component of any high school, college, or university. And if you were not an athlete in school, you could always buy one to get the sportsman look.

However, the evolution of varsity jackets has been a rollercoaster for a century and a half, leading to today. So, let us divulge into the lavish and profuse history of varsity jackets and their evolution.

History of Varsity Jackets

Around the mid-nineteenth century, the polish IVY League University, Harvard, needed some physical aspect in order to distinguish its leading players. In the year 1865, these players adorned their thick knit sweaters, added the letter 'H,' big and bold right on their chests, and walked around the halls of Harvard as prominent figures in sports. These knit sweaters then widely became known as letterman jackets and were worn by the best performing players on the team.

About ten years later, in 1975, Harvard's football team adopted these letterman jackets. However, since these jackets were only worn by those who were considered the best players on the team, the idea of this letterman jacket started to have an air of intrigue and enthrallment. This was primarily because of the jacket's exclusivity and because one could only achieve it through hard work in the sports field.

The fascination and prestige held by these letterman jackets then piqued the interest of everyone, which eventually led to the evolution of varsity jackets from knit sweaters into what they are now.

Not long after, as opposed to only the best players wearing them, these letterman jackets were provided to all members of the team. However, only the individuals who performed their best in the most momentous games were allowed to keep their jackets. The rest had to return them by the end of the season. That, too, soon changed over the years. The creation of these letterman jackets is interesting; however, the evolution of varsity jackets is an engrossing tale to boot. How and why did these knit sweaters named letterman jackets change into what they are today?

Evolution of the Varsity Jackets

Over the years that followed, cardigans started to take popularity over pullovers. And so, the design of the letterman jackets, too, changed with the letter now gracing the right side and relatively much smaller.

It was not until 1930 that varsity jackets took the shape we are well familiar with. The majority of the change was due to the athletes demanding something sturdier and heavier to withstand the cold. This was when the institutions started to add leather sleeves to the varsity jackets.

The letter on the jackets was earned rather than given. And any player who performed well was given a letter patch to be sewed on. These jackets were still known as letterman jackets back then. The term 'varsity jacket' was born only after this piece of clothing was adopted by the eight most prestigious private universities and in high schools all over America.

However, these varsity jackets were still somewhat restricted to the schools and athletes at the time. It was the 80s that marked the explosion of popularity of these varsity jackets. The major contributing factor to this was none other than Michael Jackson wearing a varsity jacket with the letter ‘M’ on the chest in the music video of Thriller.

After that, a number of hip-hop artists, like NWA, adopted these varsity jackets into their wardrobe. And thus, these jackets were introduced into streetwear fashion at the turn of the later 80s and early 90s. Nowadays, even if the athletic persona of these jackets might have worn off due to the abundance, the pride of earning one in high school or college with hard work in sports still remains.

In Conclusion

A definite pinnacle of fall fashion, there was no way to assume that the evolution of varsity jackets would lead to high-end fashion houses adopting them. What were once Harvard, Princeton, or Yale and now Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Coach. Their designs might have changed along with the abundance; however, the feeling of achievement when earned has no parallel.

Throughout the history of varsity jackets, one thing that has remained unchanged for the longest time is the sew-on patches aspect. These patches represent the jacket wearer's rank, authority, or just plain fashion choices. Regardless to say, these patches carry a lot of weight. Be it leather patches or custom chenille patches, varsity jackets without them look incomplete.

So, whether you are earning these patches or buying them to make a fashion statement, Elegant Patches has got you covered. With our professional experts and customizable options, the sky is the limit.

You imagine, and we create.