The fashion market nowadays is extremely varied, possessing something for every person’s style while representing a slew of innovative creators. However, some items remained a classic throughout the years. A lot of casual wear nowadays has a pretty long history. The most obvious showcase of this is jeans, a simple item of clothing that became popular during the late 19th century yet remains a popular choice even today. The other type of popular, old clothing is a varsity jacket. This well-recognized jacket has made its appearance in various media and keeps itself firmly present in every clothing shop. Something we rarely consider is the price of making these items though. The interesting combination of materials ,as well as possible variations, make it a lot more storied process than one would expect.
The appeal of varsity jackets
While nowadays wearing a varsity jacket is pretty commonplace it does bring over a simple question. Why are they so appealing? While reasoning may change from person to person the two most prominent ones are comfort and stylization. No matter what type of varsity jacket you wear or its style it’ll feel very comfortable. The way it forms around your body without feeling constrictive gives it a plus in the comfort category. What also helps is that they are good clothing choices for most weather conditions. This allows you to wear them no matter the season and always feel good wearing them.
The stylization is a whole other beast that gave rise to varsity jackets in everyday clothing style. While the original jackets had an emblem or other forms of designation to themselves, more often than not representing the school the wearer is from, the current designs get a lot more interesting. The backs of varsity jackets soon became the optimal location to stitch various interesting patterns on. These could represent the favorite sports team of the wearer, a piece of media, or just showcase a cool design. If you go looking for a varsity jacket nowadays you are very likely to find a slew of designs that play with the space available on the jacket. If none fit, it’s also possible to stitch the pattern yourself or bring the design and the jacket to a tailor that can better execute the idea you had in mind. However, it’s always nice to check the available styles in the shop. Online shops such as Mladengarment offer some decent choices in both design and fabric used. There are various waterproof options too, adding utility to the comfort and style to the list of reasons you may buy a varsity jacket.
And now for some history. The varsity jacket traces its origins to the letter sweaters. The name says it all, they were sweaters with a letter on them, one that’s supposed to reference the school of the wearer. The first example of these clothing items comes from 1865, where Harvard’s baseball team sew large old English “H” patches onto their uniforms to represent their university. Later these letter sweaters would evolve into letterman pullovers and cardigans in 1891, spreading the idea of showcasing school pride even further. It also started spreading to other sports too, baseball and football players adopted this practice some years after the popularity started to soar.
You may ask yourself when the varsity jacket of today came to be. The answer is the 1930s. This decade gave us the wool jacket with leather sleeves that we recognize today. It was initially made to keep athletes warm while maintaining the symbols from their predecessors. However, the jacket was still maintained as an athlete exclusive. Even acting as a showcase of rank and reputation with the additional stitches the athletes would get for good performance. It even spread to professional sports leagues but still maintained the sportsman-oriented popularity for quite a few years.
The varsity jackets became more available to the public around the 1980s when the popular athletes were getting their clothes turned into merchandise. However, these items were a lot cheaper in materials, usually being made of satin rather than expensive wool. From this point on the varsity jacket evolved in a steady place as a part of popular culture that everybody could partake in and alter.
Variation in quality and price
The varsity jackets of the best quality are usually the ones of the standard make, that is to say ,wool jacket with leather sleeves. The materials usually cost a decent chunk, due to the price of wool and leather, adding up to over 200 dollars in materials only. The added embroidery usually goes for 10 to 30 dollars, the lower cost ones usually cover only one letter while higher cost embroidery usually includes multiple digits that are perfect for writing out years on your jacket. The added patches usually vary between 10 and 20 dollars but may be a bit pricier if you require some more elaborate ones.
Of course, the hidden cost in most varsity jackets is one of the manufacturing costs. These jackets are one-offs and often made by hand. This means that time and work hours required cannot be cut by using automated machinery. The process can easily double the cost of production, as it can take up to 8 to 12 weeks to finish a jacket. The balancing factor is the exceptional quality this results in as well as the unique nature of every varsity jacket, even if they are made for the same school.
If you don’t have the funds to purchase one outright and have some tailoring skills we suggest you check out some online tutorials that can help you make your own. Keep in mind that while this may save a few hundred bucks it will still have the upfront cost of materials. The advantage is that you can skimp on some costs by replacing leather sleeves with fake leather or altering the costly embroidery with simpler, personalized additions.
The varsity jacket seems to have embedded itself firmly into popular culture and won’t be going away for a while. Its various styles and exceptional choices available may be enticing but are usually counteracted by considerable prices. Thankfully, the market allows us to find different deals that we may jump on, even if these deals don’t possess the same make as standard varsity jackets. In the end, the option to make our own is also not out of question. While the cost of components remains a concern, the added uniqueness of our own varsity jacket shouldn’t be underestimated. It will take a while, as it does with any varsity jacket hence the costs of their manufacturing, but it will be worth it.