When most guys were in high school, the varsity, or letterman’s, jacket was a garment that had to be earned. Making the team and riding the bench wasn’t enough. You had to actually get some P.T. to get that letter. Then, once you earned the jacket, you could pass it on to your girlfriend as a sign that you were “going steady.” At least that’s what movies from the 1950s wanted us to believe.
The varsity jacket was also, if we’re being honest, the ultimate symbol of jock-wear. The guys in bands, or the alternative skater kids, didn’t rock them. Fortunately, as we get older and as times change, a lot of those clique lines blur. The varsity jacket evolved as well. Now it is not merely the domain of starting quarterbacks. Designers, of both the high fashion and streetwear kind, have appropriated the jacket and reinterpreted it by using unique fabrics and clever takes on the traditional patches.
It’s a good thing too because the varsity jacket is the ideal coat for fall. It’s not too heavy and not too light, which is exactly what you need as the weather starts to change.
We found eight varsity jackets that are sure to make you the big man on campus (even if “campus” is your office) and that you definitely will not want to lend to your girlfriend.
STUSSY BIG S LETTERMAN JACKET
OG streetwear brand Stussy comes through with a varsity jacket in a Tiffany-esque blue that will have you shining like a diamond. The “S” on the left pocket contrasts nicely with the embroidered “International Stussy Tribe” lettering on the right.
Constructed of heavyweight Japanese cotton oxford fabric (think the stuff your favorite button down is made from, but sturdier), this is a great layering piece for the athletic guy. Throw it on over a T-shirt or sandwich it between a button down and a topcoat. Either way, you’ll look sharp.
OPENING CEREMONY BLACKOUT VARSITY JACKET
Opening Ceremony was one of the first high fashion brands to recognize how cool the varsity jacket could be, and the brand continues to do it as well as anyone. The latest iteration takes black-on-black to a new level, going black-on-black-on-black. With pebbled leather sleeves and OC’s crossed swords-and-torch patch on the back, this coat definitely earns a place in the starting lineup.
COACH VARSITY JACKET
Coach took the iconic elements of a varsity jacket and then ratcheted up the luxury. Shearling is a great material for this season and the black shearling on this coat has a fluffy feel that pairs well with the smooth leather arms.
OCTOBER’S VERY OWN X ROOTS
When he isn’t busy going back-to-back on Meek Mill, Drake is quite the varsity jacket connoisseur. He recently teamed up with Canadian brand Roots for the third edition of the jacket. It features leather sleeves and a merino wool body with a large “O” on the front and “October” on the back, a nod to Drake’s October’s Very Own record label. Unfortunately, only 75 of these jackets were produced and they are only available at the OVO store in Toronto.
Gant’s take on the varsity jacket has no big letters, no patches. Just a simple black and grey color scheme. Because sometimes simple is all you need.
RRL WAKEFIELD COURDUROY JACKET
Courduroy is pretty much the perfect fabric for fall, so it only makes sense that RRL incorporate it into the perfect jacket for fall. The corduroy on the body is paired with exquisite buffalo leather sleeves and the winged piston patch on the chest gives the jacket a gearhead vibe.
A combination of cotton and nylon, this jacket is lighter than most, which can come in handy on those Indian Summer days. The numerous and varied patches—stars, tiger, lightning bolt—maintain a varsity jacket theme, but push it in a more creative and fashion-forward direction.