harvard baseball team first letterman sweater

The History of  Varsity Jacket

From western countries spreading to Malaysia, this varsity jacket tradition remains the choice among high school, college and university students. There are even companies that make varsity jacket as corporate gifts for their staff. The design, which can be diversified with interesting colours combinations and the decorations of logos and letter, makes it the best choice for students, and companies bookings.

custom varsity jacket
Various varsity jacket designs produced by Eraine Costom Clothing

The varsity jacket that you wear today is actually very different from its first appeared over 150 years ago. This jacket was initially known as letterman sweater because there is a large initial decoration on the chest of the jacket.

Harvard College Baseball Team, 1865

The Harvard College baseball team in 1865, the first team to wear letterman sweaters

In 1865, the coaches of the Harvard College baseball team thought of a way to distinguish the best player and reward them for their success as a comparison to the average players. They had chosen an outfit as a gift; a sleeveless sweater made of knitted woolen yard decorated with a large letter H. The recipient of this special dress is called the ‘letterman’. The players dreamt of having this shirt. They compete among themselves and step up their game to get the ‘letterman’ sweater.

Spreading to the American Football Team

A decade later, in 1875, the football team of Harvard College imitated the ‘letterman’ award for their best player. Letterman then became the status for the elite players. The method that has been initiated by this baseball team has proven to be the way to recognize the hard work and the ability of the players. Every player wanted to be seen walking around the campus wearing this letterman sweater.

The football team’s greatest athletes wear their varsity sweaters

Starting with Harvard College, teams from various colleges, universities, high schools across the United States began to have their own letterman sweaters.

From a Sweater to a Jacket

In the early 1900s, the letterman sweater remained as a prestigious garment. But the fashion has changed, from pull-over woolen sweaters, letterman sweaters have changed to jackets in the beginning and then move to cardigans.

Letterman sweater in the form of a cardigan in the 1920s

Slowly the fashion of this jacket changed, until around 1930s it became the varsity jacket we see today. Somewhere around 1930 the varsity jacket acquired the identity, structure, and material we know today. For more than half a century, the varsity jacket, which is made of wool or fleece, leather material on the sleeves and large letters decorated with chenille embroidery still remains as a symbol of the outstanding performance’s athletes.

1950: The Era of Varsity Letterman Jacket Begins

During the first half of the 1900s, varsity letterman sweaters and jackets were more popular among male athletes. Beginning of 1950s; it became a classic and iconic fashion trend for both male and female students. Instead of being a symbol of athlete’s excellence, it is now a trend for students in their college, university and high school’s senior year.

Spreading to the Entertainment Industry and followed by the Worldwide Fashion Industry

Varsity Jacket is a favourite fashion among the famous celebrities. For instance, a singer, Michael Jackson wore a varsity jacket in the Thriller music video. Many hip-hop artists present their identities wearing a varsity jacket until today.

In Malaysia, this varsity jacket phenomenon does not want to be left behind. Hip-hop celebrity, Joe Flizzow is fond of being stylish with a varsity jacket. Famous film director and a well-known comedian, Dato’ Afdlin Shauki has a variety varsity jacket’s collection with different theme of Boboi, BOB and Vision Works. These are all booked and ordered from Eraine Custom Clothing.

A Trend that will not end

Although the varsity jacket has undergone many design changes throughout its history, what will remain here is the spirit of achievement and the success which is the symbol of wearing the varsity jacket. The retro style will never stop a trend and icon in the fashion and clothing industry.

You can order the varsity jacket for your group or your company at Eraine Custom Clothing. With the small amount of order quantity, we offer a variety of options in terms of style, type of fabric material, different decoration and many others.