Varsity jackets: A trend that continues to create headlines

  • USA Clothing - January 12, 2024

Varsity jackets are what is bound to come to your mind when it’s about fashion that uniquely blends retro charm with a modern appeal. Aesthetically pleasing, lightweight, and easy to carry, they are a favorite of every style-conscious person existing on this planet. And, what truly sets them apart from the rest is their capacity for personalization. The chenille patches with which these jackets are decked up can be smoothly tailored to represent different affiliations, interests, and achievements.

Today, they have gained a notable position in the realm of fashion but it was not always the same. To find out all about the letterman jackets, keep reading!

The Beginning of a Major Trend

This effortlessly cool jacket style first came into the scene in the 1890s on American football fields. The craze was first witnessed when the baseball team of a famed university rocked their school letters on their uniforms. Slowly and steadily, by the 1930s, they developed into the style that you are getting to know today.

Varsity Jackets: Looking at its Academic Side

In prestigious American high schools, these jackets used to be a symbol of honor, and standout pupils and athletes used to wear them with pride. They were a part of every student’s life who excelled in the debate club, on the sports field, or any other extracurricular activity. As every letter or patch stitched onto the style told a story of immense dedication and proud accomplishment, it received the name of ‘a letterman jacket’.

For high schoolers, they were the very emblem of teenage achievements, aspirations, and dreams, thus serving both as a cozy uniform and a status symbol. While athletes wore them as a sign of their skills on the court or field, others donned them as a prize for their unusual talent in different areas.

College life is all about making memories with friends and professors and following traditions, and wearing varsity jackets just doubled the happiness. Having deeper roots in college, they helped to boast of achievements both in clubs as well as sports. Starting from club leaders to star athletes, everyone celebrated them.

How the effortlessly cool letterman jacket entered the mainstream

From Ivy League corridors to straight into the heart of popular culture, this jacket style took a leap and hip-hop helped a lot. Hip-hop’s acceptance of the varsity modified their image and from something that was only for the college athletes, they became a universal symbol of cool and trendy. The varsity followers from hip-hop not only featured them in their MVs but also added them into their everyday street style. And, in this way, the innovative combination of sports and hip-hop’s edgy aesthetics caught the attention of reputable designers, who therefore started experimenting, mixing the conventional elements of the jacket with leading-edge designs and luxury materials.

The varsity jacket in the hip-hop culture

In hip-hop, everything is loud, starting from the beats of the music to the ensemble worn by the artists. It’s a compulsion to express the very feel of the genre. Varsity jackets went just perfectly with it. Why? Because it’s much more than just a jacket, it’s a vibe that smoothly blends academic spirit with the street style. Whether the legends of the 80s or the rising stars of the modern day, these jackets have been opted for, time and again. Some famed examples are Run-D.M.C and Eminem. The ‘’Slim Shady’’ minimalistic varsity jackets were quite a thing back in the 2000s.

Varsity jackets popularized by iconic TV show characters

In well-known TV shows, varsity jackets went hand-in-hand with the leading characters. These characters were always the ones who had a unique and colorful nature amongst others and the jackets were not just tied to someone portraying an athlete.

The rapper of the popular TV sitcom Happy Days, Richie Cunningham (played by Ron Howard), looked so cool in it, while on the other hand, even the most ordinary, nothing-so-special character such as Scott Howard from Teen Wolf (played by Michael J. Fox), was able to gain recognition with the help of varsity jackets.

While initially, it was just the men who wore them, recently, women have also begun to rock them. Betty Cooper from Riverdale (played by Lili Pauline Reinhart) is nothing like the girl next door. An overachiever, simply brilliant in studies, she smoothly rocked a varsity in the American TV series. She is the biggest instance modern women can look up to.

Celebs who showered their love on varsity jackets

Varsity jackets are a staple in the celeb wardrobe. From models to actors, every fashion enthusiast has always been up to style them. Below are the names of some who have rocked the jacket and created a buzz:

1. Hailey Bieber and the dark green and white-striped varsity jacket

When you want a more Summer or Spring daytime varsity look, consider Hailey Bieber’s dark green color and white-striped varsity jacket. Just like her, you can pair it with a basic white t-shirt, denim shorts, and tan boots.

2. Kanye West and the faded black and striped varsity

Is it like the bold and vibrant colors are not your thing and yet you want a bit of edge? Follow the lead of Kanye West and throw on a faded black varsity with red stripes here and there. To finish the look, opt for a gold metallic belt, leather pants, and complementing sneakers.

3. Keke Palmer and the bright red varsity with logos and prints

Are you a woman who always lives her life on her terms? It means you like to stand apart from the crowd. Let Keke Palmer inspire you with her bright red varsity. Go for one with a collection of logos and prints here and there. As for bottoms, pick sleek black denim jeans. It will be perfect for a house party!

The varsity jacket colors to die for

While the classic black-and-white combination is undoubtedly very popular, that doesn’t mean, you should stop there. To show off your style and personality, you can go all out and choose other attractive shades. Consider mixing things up if you wish to go for an elite look.

While ‘grey and burgundy’ works butter-smooth, navy blue with a dash of gold or white can make you look chic.

To grab eyeballs when out on the street, go crazy with vibrant green and cobalt blue, with a slight touch of blood red. Keep the rest of your outfit simple and let your jacket speak!

To give off the ultimate street-style vibes, consider light mustard, tan, or olive green. These colors look eye-gripping with denim. Pastels are what you should fix your mind on if you are all about following the latest trends.

A pro tip – No matter which colors you are opting for at the end of the day,  just smile and own the look!

How varsity jackets go with the prep revival trend

In the 20th C, collegiate, iconic, and preppy styles used to be super popular and the prep revival trend draws inspiration from these. Varsity jackets, with their academic origins, slowly coming into mainstream fashion, are a versatile clothing item that smoothly goes with the prep aesthetic.

Given below are some ways in which varsity jackets can be linked to this trend. Have a look!

A. Varsity jackets feature iconic elements like eye-catching color combinations, emblems, and patches that resonate with the preppy style.

B. The prep style is often linked with college fashion. Varsity jackets with their look and history perfectly go with the preppy aesthetic.

C. Varsity jackets come with an iconic and timeless construction, thus making them ideal for a wide variety of style revivals. The prep revival trend often includes iconic and well-designed pieces and varsity jackets just fit the bill.

D. Varsity jackets are available in a wide variety of patterns, shades, and fabrics and this versatility lets them be used for different prep-inspired appearances. When teamed up with a tee, denim jeans, or sneakers, the jackets can be styled in a way that complements the preppy fashion.

Varsity jacket trends to watch out for this year

This year, you will get to see an interesting mix of conventional styles with contemporary elegance. The classic piece will get a more modern makeover. Men’s and women’s varsity styles will be going in different directions in exciting ways.

In this year’s trends, color will be playing a prime role. Getting away from the conventional color combinations, you will get to see a blend of cooler and more one-of-a-kind colors in varsity jackets. These colors will lend a fresh look to the age-old style.

Another trend to watch out for is the varsity bomber jacket. The hybrid design will blend the iconic appearance of the varsity with the effortless ease of a bomber, therefore making it a versatile clothing item for both semi-formal as well as casual settings.


So, with a rich history rooted in American culture, this is how they transformed into a global fashion phenomenon that almost everyone is in love with!