Varsity Jacket – Everything You Need To Know About Varsity Jackets



What Is A Varsity Jacket? 

A varsity jacket (commonly known as a letterman jacket) is an iconic American piece of attire typically associated with high school and college sports teams in America. Constructed out of wool with leather sleeves for durability and featuring a large, sewn-on chenille letter patch representing each school or team represented, its main feature defining feature is additional patches or embroidery to represent individual achievements such as sports participation, academic excellence, or extracurricular endeavors.

How To Style Varsity Jacket


Styling a varsity jacket can be both fun and versatile, offering a blend of sporty, casual, and even polished looks. Here are some tips on how to style a varsity jacket:

Casual Look

 Chicago Blackhawks Varsity Jacket

Chicago Blackhawks Varsity Jacket

  1. Jeans and a T-shirt: Pair your varsity jacket with classic blue jeans and a simple white or graphic T-shirt. This creates a timeless, relaxed look.
  2. Sneakers: Complete the outfit with a pair of casual sneakers for a comfortable, everyday vibe.
  3. Hoodie: Layer a hoodie underneath the jacket for added warmth and a trendy, laid-back style.

Sporty Look

Men's Negro League Baseball Black and Brown Jacket

Negro League Jacket

  1. Athletic Wear: Combine the jacket with joggers or athletic pants and a moisture-wicking T-shirt.
  2. Running Shoes: Wear sporty sneakers or running shoes to enhance the athletic appeal.
  3. Baseball Cap: Add a baseball cap to emphasize the sporty theme.

Smart-Casual Look

Pro Standard Memphis Grizzlies Varsity Jacket

Grizzlies Varsity Jacket

  1. Chinos: Swap out jeans for chinos to elevate your outfit slightly.
  2. Button-down Shirt: Wear a button-down shirt or a polo underneath for a smarter appearance.
  3. Loafers or Dress Sneakers: Opt for loafers or clean, minimalist sneakers to add a touch of sophistication.

Trendy Look

  1. Skinny Jeans: Choose black or distressed skinny jeans for an edgier style.
  2. Graphic Tee or Turtleneck: Pair the jacket with a bold graphic tee or a fitted turtleneck for a fashionable twist.
  3. Boots: Combat boots or Chelsea boots can add a trendy, streetwear-inspired element.


  1. Scarves and Beanies: In colder weather, accessorize with scarves or beanies for warmth and style.
  2. Backpack or Tote: Carry a stylish backpack or tote bag to complete the look.
  3. Sunglasses: Finish off with a pair of cool sunglasses for a polished touch.

Color Coordination

  1. Match Accents: Coordinate the colors of your jacket’s accents (like the ribbed cuffs and collar) with other elements of your outfit.
  2. Neutral Base: Use neutral colors for the base of your outfit, allowing the varsity jacket to be the focal point.

By mixing and matching these elements, you can create a variety of looks that highlight the versatility of the varsity jacket, ensuring you stay stylish for any occasion.


How To Wash A Varsity Jacket

Washing a varsity jacket requires careful attention to maintain its quality and shape. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to wash a varsity jacket:

Materials Needed:

  • Mild detergent
  • Soft cloth or sponge
  • Cold water
  • Towels
  • Mesh laundry bag (optional)
  • Drying rack or hanger

Step-by-Step Washing Guide:

  1. Check the Care Label: Before washing, always check the care label on your varsity jacket. Some jackets may have specific washing instructions that should be followed.
  2. Pre-treat Stains (if necessary): If there are any stains on the jacket, spot-clean them before washing. Use a mild detergent and a soft cloth or sponge to gently dab at the stains.
  3. Prepare for Washing: Fill a basin or bathtub with cold water. Avoid using hot water as it can cause the jacket’s colors to fade and shrink.
  4. Wash the Jacket: Submerge the jacket in the cold water and add a small amount of mild detergent. Gently swish the jacket around in the water, focusing on any areas that need extra cleaning. Avoid scrubbing vigorously to prevent damaging the material.
  5. Rinse Thoroughly: Once washed, drain the soapy water and refill the basin with clean cold water. Rinse the jacket thoroughly to remove all traces of detergent.
  6. Remove Excess Water: Gently press the jacket against the side of the basin or tub to remove excess water. Do not wring or twist the jacket, as this can misshape it.
  7. Air Dry: Lay a towel flat and place the jacket on top to absorb excess moisture. Then, reshape the jacket and lay it flat on a drying rack or hang it on a padded hanger to air dry. Avoid hanging it directly on a hanger without padding, as this can cause the shoulders to stretch.
  8. Avoid Machine Drying: Never tumble dry a varsity jacket, as the heat can damage the wool and leather materials.

Additional Tips:

  • Spot Cleaning: For minor dirt or stains, spot cleaning with a damp cloth can often suffice without needing to wash the entire jacket.
  • Use a Mesh Bag: If you prefer to use a washing machine, place the jacket inside a mesh laundry bag to protect it from snagging or stretching.


  • Store Properly: When not in use, store your varsity jacket in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent fading and damage.
  • Avoid Ironing: Ironing can damage the materials of the jacket. If wrinkles persist after air drying, you can gently steam the jacket using a handheld steamer.

By following these steps and tips, you can effectively wash your varsity jacket while preserving its quality and ensuring it continues to look great for years to come.


Where Do You Put Pins On A Varsity Jacket

Pins on a varsity jacket can add personal flair and showcase achievements or interests. Here’s how you can strategically place pins on your varsity jacket:

  1. Left Chest Area: This is a classic placement for pins, usually positioned above or around the school or team logo patch. It’s a prominent location that allows pins to be easily seen and admired.
  2. Right Chest Area: Similar to the left side, the right chest area is another popular spot for pins. This balances the design if you have multiple pins or want to create a symmetrical look.
  3. Sleeves: You can place pins along the sleeves of your varsity jacket, either near the cuffs or higher up on the arm. This adds movement and interest to your jacket’s overall appearance.
  4. Collar or Neckline: Pins can be placed along the collar or neckline of the jacket, especially smaller pins or badges that complement the main design elements.
  5. Back of the Jacket: If you have a larger pin or a series of pins that you want to showcase, consider placing them on the back of the jacket. This area provides ample space for creativity and personalization.

Tips for Placement:

  • Balance and Symmetry: Consider the overall balance and symmetry when placing pins. Distribute them evenly across the jacket to create a harmonious look.
  • Avoid Overcrowding: While it’s tempting to cover every available space with pins, it’s best to leave some breathing room between each pin to prevent overcrowding and ensure each pin stands out.
  • Try Different Arrangements: Before permanently attaching pins, experiment with different arrangements by placing them temporarily on the jacket. This allows you to visualize how they will look and make adjustments as needed.
  • Consider Pin Size: Larger pins may be more suitable for areas like the back of the jacket or sleeves, while smaller pins can be placed on the chest or collar for a subtle touch.
  • Attach Securely: Use pin backs or locking pin clasps to securely attach each pin to the jacket. This helps prevent them from coming loose or falling off during wear.

By carefully choosing where to place your pins on your varsity jacket, you can create a personalized and visually appealing display that reflects your individual style and achievements.

Can You Wash A Varsity Jacket In The Washing Machine

Washing a varsity jacket in a washing machine can be risky, as it may damage the materials, especially the wool body and leather sleeves. However, some modern varsity jackets are designed to be machine washable, so it’s crucial to check the care label for specific instructions. Here are some general guidelines if your varsity jacket is machine washable:

  1. Check the Care Label: Look for instructions indicating whether the jacket is machine washable. Follow any temperature guidelines (usually cold water) and other recommendations provided.
  2. Use a Gentle Cycle: If your jacket can be washed in a machine, select a gentle or delicate cycle to minimize agitation, which can help preserve the jacket’s quality.
  3. Use Mild Detergent: Use a small amount of mild detergent that is suitable for delicate fabrics. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals, as they can damage the materials.
  4. Turn Inside Out: To protect the outer surfaces and any embroidered patches or decorations, turn the jacket inside out before placing it in the washing machine.
  5. Use a Mesh Laundry Bag (Optional): If you’re concerned about the jacket snagging or rubbing against other items in the machine, consider placing it inside a mesh laundry bag.
  6. Avoid Hot Water: Use cold water to wash the jacket. Hot water can cause the wool to shrink and the leather to become stiff or discolored.
  7. Air Dry: After washing, air dry the jacket by laying it flat on a drying rack or hanging it on a padded hanger. Avoid using a dryer, as the heat can shrink the wool and damage the leather.

When Not to Machine Wash:

  • Non-Machine Washable Jackets: If the care label indicates “Dry Clean Only” or if the jacket is made of delicate materials that could be damaged in a machine, it’s best to follow those instructions and avoid machine washing.
  • If Unsure: If you’re unsure about whether your varsity jacket can be machine washed, err on the side of caution and hand wash it following the manual washing instructions or take it to a professional cleaner.

By following these guidelines and checking the care label, you can safely wash your varsity jacket in a washing machine if it’s designed for machine washing. This helps maintain the jacket’s quality and extends its lifespan.


How Should A Varsity Jacket Fit

A varsity jacket should fit comfortably and stylishly, striking a balance between casual cool and a tailored look. Here’s how a varsity jacket should fit:

  1. Shoulder Fit: The shoulders of the jacket should align perfectly with your natural shoulder line. They shouldn’t extend beyond your shoulders nor should they be too narrow, restricting movement.
  2. Sleeve Length: The sleeves should end at your wrists when your arms are resting naturally by your side. This length ensures that the jacket looks proportionate and allows for easy movement without feeling too short or too long.
  3. Body Length: The body of the jacket should hit just below your waistband. It’s typically shorter than a regular coat but shouldn’t be so cropped that it exposes your midriff. This length maintains the jacket’s classic silhouette and ensures it covers your torso adequately.
  4. Fit Around the Torso: The jacket should fit comfortably around your chest and torso without feeling too tight or too loose. You should be able to comfortably zip or button it up without any pulling or stretching across the chest.
  5. Layering Consideration: Consider how you’ll wear the jacket. If you plan to layer it over thicker clothing like hoodies or sweaters, you may want to go up a size for a more relaxed fit that still looks stylish.
  6. Movement: When trying on the jacket, move your arms around to ensure you have full range of motion. You should be able to reach forward and lift your arms without feeling restricted by the jacket.
  7. Comfort and Feel: Lastly, the jacket should feel comfortable when worn. It shouldn’t feel constricting or overly bulky, but rather like a well-fitted outer layer that complements your style.

Overall, a well-fitted varsity jacket enhances your appearance while providing comfort and functionality. Whether you’re wearing it casually with jeans and sneakers or layering it for added warmth, a properly fitting varsity jacket completes your look with a touch of timeless style.

Why Are Varsity Jackets So Expensive

Varsity jackets command higher prices due to their premium materials, intricate craftsmanship and cultural relevance. Common components used are wool for warmth and genuine leather sleeves for sleeves; talented artisans handle stitching and assembly before adding details such as logos or patches that increase both customization and labor costs – it makes an investment well worth your while!

How To Customize Varsity Jacket

Customizing a varsity jacket allows you to personalize it with unique designs, patches, and details that reflect your style, achievements, or interests. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to customize a varsity jacket:

  1. Choose Your Jacket: Start with selecting a varsity jacket that fits well and suits your preferences in terms of color, material (typically wool body and leather sleeves), and style (e.g., snap buttons, ribbed cuffs).
  2. Design Your Customization: Decide on the theme or message you want to convey through your customization. This could include:
    • Embroidery: Add embroidered patches or logos on the chest, sleeves, or back. Choose designs that represent your school, team, or personal interests.
    • Patches and Badges: Sew or iron on patches or badges that showcase achievements such as sports awards, academic honors, or club affiliations.
    • Names and Numbers: Personalize the jacket with your name or initials embroidered on the front or back, along with a jersey-style number.
    • Additional Details: Consider adding extra details like stripes on the sleeves, contrasting piping, or even custom lining for a more bespoke touch.
  3. Gather Materials: Purchase or create the patches, embroidery designs, or other embellishments you plan to use. Ensure they are of good quality and complement the style of your jacket.
  4. Prepare the Jacket: Lay your varsity jacket flat on a clean surface. If necessary, turn it inside out to work on the lining or for easier access to certain areas.
  5. Attach the Customizations:
    • Embroidery: Use a needle and thread to carefully sew embroidered patches onto the jacket. Choose thread colors that match or complement the jacket’s color scheme.
    • Patches/Badges: If using iron-on patches, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to securely attach them to the jacket. For sew-on patches, use a needle and thread to stitch them in place.
    • Names/Numbers: Consult a professional embroiderer or use an embroidery machine to accurately stitch names and numbers onto the jacket.
  6. Finishing Touches: Once all customizations are attached, inspect the jacket to ensure everything is securely in place and the stitching is neat. Trim any loose threads and press the jacket gently if needed to smooth out any wrinkles.
  7. Enjoy Your Customized Jacket: Wear your personalized varsity jacket proudly, knowing that it reflects your individuality and personal achievements.

Customizing a varsity jacket allows you to create a unique garment that not only looks stylish but also tells a story about your passions and accomplishments. Whether you’re celebrating school spirit, team achievements, or personal milestones, a customized varsity jacket is a timeless and meaningful addition to your wardrobe.


How To Put Patches On Varsity Jacket

Putting patches on a varsity jacket is a great way to personalize it with symbols of achievement, personal interests, or team affiliations. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to put patches on a varsity jacket:

Materials Needed:

  • Iron-on patches or sew-on patches
  • Varsity jacket
  • Iron (if using iron-on patches)
  • Needle and thread (if using sew-on patches)
  • Scissors
  • Fabric glue (optional)


Steps to Put Patches on a Varsity Jacket

  1. Prepare the Jacket: Lay your varsity jacket flat on a clean surface. If necessary, turn it inside out to work on the lining or for easier access to certain areas.
  2. Arrange the Patches: Decide on the placement of your patches on the jacket. You can lay them out beforehand to visualize how they will look once attached. Consider symmetry and spacing to achieve a balanced and aesthetically pleasing arrangement.
  3. Iron-on Patches:
    • Heat the Iron: Preheat your iron to the temperature recommended on the patch packaging. Usually, it’s set to a medium-high heat setting without steam.
    • Position the Patch: Place the iron-on patch adhesive side down onto the desired location on the jacket.
    • Apply Heat: Press the iron firmly onto the patch and hold it in place for about 10-15 seconds. Apply consistent pressure and move the iron around slightly to ensure the entire patch is heated evenly.
    • Cool Down: Allow the patch and the jacket to cool completely before touching or moving. This helps the adhesive bond securely with the fabric.
  4. Sew-on Patches:
    • Thread the Needle: Choose a thread color that matches the patch or the jacket. Double-thread the needle and tie a knot at the end.
    • Position the Patch: Place the sew-on patch on the jacket in the desired location. Hold it firmly in place with one hand.
    • Sew the Patch: Begin sewing from the inside of the jacket, pushing the needle through the patch and jacket fabric. Use small, even stitches around the edges of the patch to secure it firmly.
    • Finish Securely: Once you have sewn around the entire patch, tie off the thread securely on the inside of the jacket and trim any excess thread.
  5. Optional: Use Fabric Glue: If you prefer not to sew, you can use fabric glue to attach patches. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the fabric glue and allow sufficient drying time before wearing the jacket.
  6. Check and Secure: After attaching all patches, check each one to ensure they are securely fastened. Press down on each patch to test its adhesion or stitching.
  7. Let it Set: Allow the jacket to sit for a few hours or overnight before wearing to ensure that all patches are firmly attached and won’t come loose.

By following these steps, you can successfully personalize your varsity jacket with patches that reflect your personality, achievements, or affiliations. Whether you choose iron-on or sew-on patches, this customization adds character and individuality to your jacket, making it a unique piece of outerwear.