Article By Alex Woodhall | @AlexWoodhall
The 2014 Varsity Jacket
Traditionally, the varsity jacket (also known as a baseball or letterman jacket) features a boiled wool torso, button/popper fastening, ribbed cuffs and waistband, contrast leather sleeves and a boxy fit – yet the modern industry definition isn’t so rigid.
Contemporary versions are now crafted in a wide variety of materials, which range from cotton and nylon to suede, feature zip-up fastening systems and are cut slimmer through the body. And it’s not only the core construction that has been altered, with many current iterations choosing to eschew bold preppy colour combinations and chest detailing/patches in favour of an altogether more refined and minimal aesthetic.
However, although the style has evolved almost unrecognisably since returning to prominence back in 2010, this new approach by designers will be welcomed by men that maintain a versatile capsule wardrobe. Pick one in a classic neutral hue and it can be dressed up or down effortlessly, ensuring it will slot seamlessly into your personal style.
That’s not to say you should dismiss old school letterman jackets all together. While wool is not a practical choice for spring/summer, a slim-cut, two-tone version in lighter cotton, silk or a technical fabric would make a great statement addition to your casual collection. Ultimately, you’ll be sacrificing versatility but it will definitely make your off-duty looks stand out from the crowd.
In terms of detailing, cotton or even denim styles with leather sleeves offer a luxe take on the trend while traditional collegiate badges/patches give the piece a sense of authenticity – perfect for crafting preppy or Ivy League-inspired looks. If you opt for a more minimal take, look for tipped cuffs and waistbands as they add a subtle point of interest to an understated design.