The letterman jacket holds a special place in American high school and college culture. This varsity jacket is a status symbol earned by student-athletes and high achievers. While letterman jackets have a long tradition, today’s custom letterman jackets allow you to add your own unique style.
What is a Letterman Jacket?
A letterman jacket, also known as a varsity jacket, is a wool or leather jacket worn by high school and college students in the United States to represent school spirit and personal achievements. The name comes from the tradition of embroidering a large letter on the front to denote the school name.
Letterman jackets feature two or three leather sleeves with the school’s colors and stripes. They usually have a banded collar, cuffs and waistband made of a wool or cotton body. Custom patches, embroidery and other details are added to highlight the wearer’s identity, sports participation, academic honors and more.
Evolution of the Letterman Jacket
Letterman jackets have been around since 1865 when the Harvard baseball team first embroidered a large “H” on their uniforms. In the 1930s, the modern version emerged – a wool body with leather sleeves, pockets and decorations like patches or chenille letters to indicate the student’s name, class year, school, sport/club achievements and other distinctions.
The jackets were originally only awarded to elite athletes. Owning one carried prestige. Today, letterman jackets are more inclusive, but still symbolize hard work, school spirit and excellence. With customization, you can design your own stylish jacket.
Why Choose a Custom Letterman Jacket?
Custom letterman jackets allow you to showcase your personality and tell your own unique story. While jackets from decades past followed tradition, now you can:
- Select colors and materials like wool, leather, cotton, satin
- Add name, number, year and other text
- Choose from endless decorative patches and pins
- Pick school club, sport, award and other patches
- Select stylish fonts, sizes and layouts
- Embroider phrases, logos or designs
- Arrange details how you want for your vision
With customization, you control the aesthetics. The options are limitless when creating your one-of-a-kind varsity jacket.
Tips for Designing Your Custom Letterman Jacket
Follow these tips when styling your own custom letterman jacket:
- Pick meaningful patches – Select patches representing your school, sports, clubs, awards to tell your story.
- Highlight successes – Add patches noting major accomplishments like state championships.
- Consider classic colors – Traditional shades like black, navy or white have timeless appeal.
- Add bold colors – Vibrant red, yellow, green portray your bold personality.
- Size up – Order a size up for a comfier fit with room to layer clothes underneath.
- Mind the sleeves – Leather sleeves keep their shape better than knit.
- Focus on fit – Measure chest, shoulders and arms for an ideal tailored fit.
- Personalize the back – The jacket back offers prime real estate for designs.
- Accessorize – Pins, embroidered accents and other touches customize it further.
- Leather vs wool – Leather is stylish but wool provides more warmth.
Where to Buy a Custom Varsity Jacket
You have several options for purchasing a one-of-a-kind custom letterman jacket:
- Local tailor – Tailors and embroidery shops can make you a fully custom jacket.
- Online tailor – Etsy sellers and other online tailors let you design your own.
- Varsity jacket sites – Sites like Custom Letterman Jacket offer customization choices.
- Sporting goods stores – Stores like Academy Sports or Hibbett Sports sell customizable jackets.
No matter where you choose, provide all patch designs, text details, colors, sizes and other specifications so they can create your vision.
Unique Ways to Style Your Letterman Jacket
The great thing about custom varsity jackets is you can wear them however you like. Stay true to their sporty roots and pair them with athletic wear and sneakers. Or give your jacket a trendy edge with these style ideas:
- Jacket + jeans + graphic tee + sneakers
- Jacket + khakis + oxford shirt + loafers
- Cropped jacket + leggings + tank top
- Jacket over dress for ladies
- Rocker look with jacket, jeans, boots
- Preppy vibe with jacket, collared shirt, trousers
A custom letterman jacket transcends its high school roots as a timeless fashion piece. Adapt your jacket to any personal style.
Adding Custom Touches Over the Years
One advantage of custom letterman jackets is you can update them over time. As you participate in new sports and clubs, achieve new accomplishments, and express yourself in new ways, you can add:
- Sport team patches each year
- Academic honor patches as earned
- Championship patches for new titles
- Club patches as you join and participate
- Name patch if you marry and change last name
- Inside phrases representing your personal growth
Let your jacket evolve and tell your story throughout your school career and beyond.
FAQ About Custom Varsity Jackets
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about designing your own custom letterman jacket:
What fabrics are best for a letterman jacket?
Traditional wool or leather is recommended. Wool provides warmth while leather gives structure. Cotton, corduroy, satin and knits are also options.
What customizations can I add?
Name, graduation year, number, patches for sports/academics/clubs, embroidery, and flair like catchphrases or inside jokes.
How much do custom jackets cost?
Prices range from $100 to $300+ depending on materials, customizations and seller. Leather is more expensive than wool. More custom touches add cost.
How long does it take to make a custom jacket?
From order to delivery, allow 3-4 weeks for production time plus shipping. Rush orders can sometimes be accommodated for an extra fee.
Can I design my own patches and embroideries?
Yes, most sellers allow you to provide your own designs to have stitches onto the jacket. Make them meaningful to you.
Can I buy patches to sew on myself?
Some sites sell varsity jacket patches for DIY customization. But pre-designed jackets ensure a polished look.
Sport Your School Spirit in Custom Style
For students and athletes wanting to display their school pride, letterman jackets allow you to do it in your own way.
Rather than conforming to traditions, make the varsity jacket trendy again through customization. Add colors, fabrics, embroideries, patches and other touches that showcase your personal flair.
Design your custom letterman jacket to represent your unique identity. Whether inspired by old-school classics or new-school trends, create a varsity jacket as one-of-a-kind as you!