The varsity jacket — otherwise know as the letterman — is a staple in any man’s closet. Similar in shape to the bomber, the preppy piece returns season after season from streetwear brands and high fashion alike.
As the name suggests, varsity jackets can trace their origin back to American college varsity teams. The first-ever iteration came from Harvard University in 1865, worn by its esteemed baseball team. Determined to distinguish their star player from the rest of the team, a fabric letter was embroidered onto the jacket (hence the name letterman).
But you don’t have to be an Ivy League jock to rock a varsity jacket. With the years, the piece became less elitist and filtered into casualwear, with all kinds of brands embracing the style and releasing their own versions of the varsity jacket. Right after bomber jackets, the piece is now a staple in men’s streetwear, with brands like Stüssy, Supreme, BAPE, and more, regularly including them in their collections.
More recently, however, luxury fashion has been embracing this classic piece and releasing elevated versions of the jacket. Using higher quality materials and slick designs, these pricier varsity jackets make for the perfect transitional outerwear. As such, we’ve rounded up the very best of those at the higher end of the varsity offering. Read on to see our full selection.
Golden Bear Varsity Bomber Jacket
Known for its signature bomber jackets, Golden Bear has kept its designs near identical for decades, and it’s easy to see why. This classic varsity-style bomber mixes a wool-blend body with smooth leather sleeves, as well as the traditional striped collar, cuffs, and hem.
Noon Goons Appliquéd Bomber Jacket
Californian surf brand Noon Goons has put its own sporty spin on this varsity jacket. Sporting striped ribbing down the sleeves, this piece also features white logo patches on the back. The quilted satin lining, meanwhile, gives this piece its luxe finish.
Sandro Blouson Jacket
Los Angeles has Harvard-Westlake; Paris has Lycée Henri-IV. The prestigious Parisian high school and its students were the inspiration behind Sandro’s FW18 drop, so it was natural it also included a varsity-inspired jacket in the collection.
Givenchy 4G Logo-Embroidered Jacket
Bomber jackets are already effortlessly cool, but you can leave it up to a fashion house like Givenchy to take it that step further. This varsity-style bomber is made with heavyweight virgin wool for max warmth, and if you want to make it known that you’re rocking a $1,560 jacket, the back sports a huge 4G Givenchy logo.
7 Moncler Fragment Hiroshi Fujiwara Jacket
Not long ago, Moncler unveiled part seven of its collab with Fragment’s designer Hiroshi Fujiwara, who re-interpreted the brand with his subversive designs. Part of the Moncler x Fragment collection, this insane jacket features removable velcro patches and “BACKSTAGE” embroidery, as well as Moncler’s signature down padding and quilted lining.
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