The Always Cool Varsity Jacket
On the topic of outerwear, today we highlight the always-cool varsity jacket. Also known as the “letterman jacket” these originated with college and high school athletes to mark their place on the varsity team, and potentially their rank/achievements on the court or field.
The design of a classic varsity, with a boiled wool body and contrast leather sleeves, was so cool that it quickly got adapted for daily street wear by athletes and non-athletes alike.
Being a former high school and college basketball player myself, I always loved the old-school athletic appeal of the letterman jacket. I’ve been wearing these since 9th grade (trying to be as cool as my best friend Ryan). The only difference is that sometimes now I wear them with oxfords, ties, and tailored trousers.
Here’s three varsity jackets from the AOS collection, to get you thinking about your next cool casual jacket.
A navy wool body with chestnut brown leather sleeves, like this design from our friend Ouigi at The Brooklyn Circus, is an ideal combination. I’ve been wearing this one for years and it’s only looking better with age.
An edgier, less “collegiate”/more “downtown” design, like this camel/cream/black version by our friend Alejandro Rodriguez at Beautiful Ful, is perfect for hitting the game and grabbing some drinks. It’s a go-to for a low-key casual night out.
If your budget doesn’t include a designer varsity jacket, you’re in luck. It’s one of those pieces that is easy to find in vintage or thrift stores. Just try to find one without another person’s name embroidered on the chest (you can see that this one use to have one).
This jacket, that Wes found vintage digging in NYC, was an authentic team jacket from the soccer program at the Regis private school on the Upper East Side. Personally, I don’t have a problem re-appropriating vintage clothing (just like military gear).
As long as the graphic on the back is cool and the fit is on point, I say reduce, re-use, re-cycle.