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A Man’s Guide To Varsity Jackets

A mean wearing a trendy jacket


Time to be a high school jock again.

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The best part about fashion is how a garment can go from throwback pieces to trending fashion must-haves of the season. If you have ever managed to sit through a teen drama series, K-dramas or movies, you can recognise the jocks of a school in an instant, thanks to what they are wearing—the varsity jacket. This bomber-style jacket with huge initials embroidered on it is the embodiment of school and college life in the West. Thank your stars, you no longer need to grow floppy hair and be a beacon of toxic masculinity (like in most popular shows) to wear this jacket.


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Recently, this style has evolved and become a staple for the stars. We have actors like Ayushmann Khuranna making these jackets look uber cool, while design houses like Saint Laurent and Off-White have added their touch of premium craftsmanship to these jackets selling them at prices college students can’t afford. Thank the stars for e-commerce websites like Amazon and Myntra for making this jacket available at a steal of a price.

When did this jacket go from being a rage among teen sportsmen to now being worn by celebrities from all ages across the globe?


The varsity jacket has always been a symbol of authority and reputation amongst the players. This iconic lettered jacket didn’t start as a jacket, but as a sweater. Back in 1865, the baseball team of Harvard University had sewn in the giant H onto the centre of their uniforms, which were thick-knitted grey flannel pullovers back then. Soon pullovers gave way to cardigans and the humongous letter could be shifted from the middle to the side.


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It wasn’t until the 1930s that the varsity jacket, also called the letterman jacket as we know it today, was invented. The wool jacket with the leathered sleeves was made to create sturdier uniforms for players. Soon it made its way to Ivy League colleges, and from college wardrobes to star closets. How can one forget the iconic red varsity jacket singer Michael Jackson famously wore with its gold leather sleeves in his music video for Thriller. The wool jacket had a large M embroidered on its chest and boy was it something we still remember.


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Sure designers today have improvised with materials, but the design of the jacket has remained the same through the years. Take a cue from design house Boss and their latest collaborative collection with Russell Athletic.


You can’t go wrong with a jacket, especially a varsity one. It has so much character by itself that styling it with basics is the simplest way forward. Here are a few types of letterman jackets you can experiment with.

▶ Classic Varsity Jacket

Classic Varsity Jacket

OFF-WHITE – Rs 2,65,145 – BUY NOW

The classic varsity jacket has always had the body made of wool and the sleeve made of leather. It’s still a staple amongst college athletes and varsity jacket aficionados. Nobody can deny a classic. Sure, the patches on the jackets have increased from just a letter to so much more, even having artworks on the back. Wear it buttoned up or open with a flannel shirt or tee inside. Classic jeans with sneakers and you are good to go.

▶ Contrasting Varsity Jacket

Contrasting Varsity Jacket

ZARA – Rs 7,990 – BUY NOW

The staple design of the varsity jacket is to have sleeves in a different colour than that of the body. It can range from green and white to red and blue. Whatever the colour contrast might be, this jacket is the OG. Wear a contrasting varsity jacket with black jeans, tee or a sweater (depending on the weather) and finish off the look with some high tops.

▶ Denim Varsity Jacket

Denim Varsity Jacket

PULL & BEAR – Rs 4,645 – BUY NOW

Denim jackets are quite the craze. Mix this material with a varsity jacket and the result is serious fire! It is young and casual and ideal outerwear for brunches and chill days out with your partner. Pair the denim varsity jacket with a white tee, blue jeans and some white sneakers for an easy-breezy outfit.

▶ Bold Coloured Varsity Jacket

Bold Coloured Varsity Jacket

GANT- Rs 69,990 – BUY NOW

You can really go crazy with colours with this one. The brighter the better! Pair it with a white or black tee, shorts and sneakers to make the jacket the hero of your outfit.

▶ Leather Varsity Jacket

Leather Varsity Jacket


Winter is the season to bring out the leather. Leather varsity jackets are so chic:  It will make you look like a star. An ideal jacket for date night or bar hopping, pair your jacket with a solid coloured shirt, denim or tapered chinos and tie the look together with boots.

▶ Velvet Varsity Jacket

Velvet Varsity Jacket

GANT- Rs 29,999 – BUY NOW

Want to look luxe? Opt for velvet. It’s an instant hit in the fashion world—and makes everything look luxurious. A varsity jacket in this material might be hard to find, but if you do grab it, make a run for it! To the bill counter, we mean!  Pair this jacket with tailored pants, a shirt with tiny prints and some brogues to finish off.

It’s been more than a century since the varsity jacket first made its appearance. The fact that it still holds value in the world of fashion comes to show the love that people have for this piece of outerwear. Don’t just read this article, head over to your nearby store or hop online to find yourself a varsity jacket to wear!


[Featured Image Credit: Jojo Singh]