A Varsity Jacket is a baseball-styled jacket traditionally worn by high school and college students in the United States to represent school and team pride as well as to display personal awards earned in athletics, academics or activities. Varsity jackets are also known as “Letterman jackets” and “baseball jackets” in reference to their American origins.
Appearance and style
The body (i.e., torso) is usually of boiled wool and the sleeves of leather with banded wrists and waistband. Letter jackets are usually produced in the school colors with the body of the jacket in the school’s primary color and sleeves in the secondary color. Although sometimes, the colors of the jacket may be customized to a certain extent by the student. There could be cases where a student could change the color so much that it doesn’t differentiate too much from school colors. They usually feature a banded collar for men or a hood for women.
The letter jacket derives its name from the varsity letter chenille patch on its left breast, which is almost always the first letter or initials of the high school or college the jacket came from. The letter itself can also be custom fitted to the particular sport or activity (ex. Cross Country- a symbol or sign in the middle of the letter).
The name of the owner usually appears either in chenille (matching the letter) or is embroidered on the jacket itself. The owner’s graduation year typically appears in matching chenille. Placement of the name and year of graduation depends on school traditions. The year is most often sewn on the right sleeve or just above the right pocket. The school logo and symbols representing the student’s activities may also be ironed on to the jacket.
Lettermen who play on a championship team often receive a large patch commemorating their championship that is worn on the back of the jacket.
Lettermen who participate in a sport in which medals are awarded often sew the medals onto their jackets to display their accomplishments.