The origin of the Letterman Varsity Jacket
I have been asking myself about the origin of the varsity and the letterman jacket frequently. Due to my curiosity, I have done a good research about their origin and I will share the information in this article. I will also try to bring out the minute difference between the two items. I bet quite a number of you are very curious about the jackets. Before we dive into what I have for you, have a glimpse of the article content listed below.
I used to think that the varsity and the letterman jacket came from a very dedicated designer with an intention of hitting the fashion design market until I learned the truth. It all started in 1865 at Harvard University. The university's baseball team wanted to mark their best team players. One of the members of the team sprung up and suggested that a letter 'H' for Harvard be sewed into their games uniform. The proposal was accepted and a huge letter H was sewn at the center of the sweaters. They were given a term: Letterman
The Letterman was only issued to those who participated in serious games. Other temporary players were given the letterman but would later return them after the games. Made of wool, the sweaters had stripes on one sleeve denoting the number of letters worn. A star on the sweater indicated a team captain. I have also been wondering on the connection between the letterman sweater and the varsity jacket until I learned that later on the letterman sweater evolved into a varsity woolen jacket with leather sleeves.
What is the difference between the Letterman and the varsity jacket? I spent a good time trying to draw the differences between the two jackets. It's just a little different in the patterns and the material used to make each of them To start with, I realized that the letterman jackets were made of a single material since they were baseball sweaters with a sewn letter. However, the varsity jacket is made of two material. The body is pretty woolen while the hands are made of leather.
Secondly, I carefully looked at the occasions when the jackets were won. The traditional varsity jacket was considered as a formal wear during events in schools. On the other hand, the letterman jacket was mostly won during games and especially the baseball game to mark the best players. I have also learned that the varsity and the letterman jacket were used as an award after an individual met a certain standard in universities in the US. To show that the jacket was given as an award mostly in sports, it came in a certain color an initial letters to denote the name of the institution an individual attended. The initials were made of materials that could be felt in touch.
Lastly, the tradition is firmly linked to graduation and the entry into early adulthood. Everybody knows that high school is an experience in teenage youth that completes a transition of childish ideals into finely crafted adult examples. The smaller groups that have established themselves for greater things are primed to experience the next steps of learning either in the university years, military service, or directly into the workplace. Geez, these days you can expect to see more of the younger generation walking through life in the university (expecting free tuition and living at home with Mommy and Daddy), well there are still the echoes of graduation heritage left over from the last 50 years still floating around. At least it was fashionable to travel to Disneyland, Hawaii, or even Las Vegas for that magical graduation weekend or even night. It was all about being an adult and finally getting the chance to spread your wings and fly, so-to-speak… All venues were considered safe bets (even though Vegas had as much chance that a visit would be just as expensive as a trip to Disneyland or even Hawaii (where alcohol age limits allowed new 18 year old teens to enjoy themselves to the limit) It was all about trust in this graduation age which included trusting that these teens would play it safe. It was sort of like betting on the internet scope of odds, which is harder to figure if you don’t know anything about safe online casinos than to trust that your own kids will use common sense. These days the same examples apply with responsible lifestyles and knowing about safe online gaming is a major step in a young mind they should know about if they decide to celebrate grad night with a smartphone hangout. Yep it seems that teens don’t travel anywhere unless there is WiFi connection attached.
In short- these jackets were later embraced by different institutions of learning in and outside the US. I have also found that the varsity jacket has found its way into the music industry and especially the hip-hop type of music.