When I think about letterman jackets, the first thing that comes to mind is the Cady Heron’s Mathlete Varsity Letterman Jacket from Mean Girls, Tina Fey’s film adaptation of Queen Bees and Wanna Bees. The jacket doesn’t make it’s iconic appearance till the end of the movie. To make up for almost ruining her teacher’s life, Cady officially joins the Matheletes and goes to states. After Cady remembers the limit does not exist, the North Shore Highschool Matheletes win the State Championship. They celebrate by going to The Spring Fling rocking their new letterman jackets and medals. Honestly, I thought highschool letterman jackets were strictly reserved for Varsity Athletes, which made me wonder what Letterman Jackets are for?
Fun Fact: Did you know there’s a Mean Girls Musical on Broadway?
Before I get into that, I wanted to share another movie that featured letterman jackets outside of sports. That was Stomp The Yard. In this film Black Fraternities and Sororities rocked their colors in various ways. Many used letterman jackets to show of their Frat and Srat Pride. This is made abundantly clear during Spirit Week and the annual step show competition. I’ve watched both films more than I’d care to admit. So, the honorable mention was necessary.
What is a Letterman Jacket?
Initially, letterman jackets were a means to keep ivy league collegiate athletes warm in attire that complimented their uniform. In most cases, the large letters that were stitched on the jacket were the university’s initials. Overtime, these jackets became a symbol of superiority and trickled down into highschools. To my surprise letterman jackets were open to extra curricular activities that involved academics. Like sports, some type of accomplishment was required. However, opening that option to academics was completely up to the school. If we go back to the Mathetes in Mean Girls, they had to prove their worth to the school to get their jackets. Considering letterman jackets started in Harvard and spread to universitys with similar status, their existence eventually reached other colleges. How did a this garment become mainstream?
From School To Pop Culture
Like trendy military inspired clothing, it’s fairly easy to find letterman jacket inspired coats on the rack. I put it this way because, initials have meaning. Fashion Designers have to keep that in mind. The wrong color scheme and acronyms could lead unnecessary trouble with organizations that take their symbols seriously. You might see jackets that make it abundantly clear the initials stand for the designer or they don’t have initials at all. The desire to do so comes from the jackets appeal and popularity in the music industry. For example, the King of Pop, Micheal Jackson, was a fashion icon as well. His Thriller Letterman Jacket is still popular today. Others since Micheal have worn them in music videos, press tours, and photo shoots. Whether Varsity Athletes like it or not letterman kackets opened up to everyone.
Are All Letterman Jackets Made The Same
Nope, the base level alone of these jackets are different. Turns out there are three types of authentic letterman jackets. There’s the traditional leather & wool, faux leather & wool, and cotton fleece. Let’s not forget lining. Satin lining can be a solid color or print. Since most companies sell authentic letterman jackets in bulk, some organizations opt out of the lining all together.
Fun Fact: Material wise, the cotton fleece is closer to the first letterman jacket than leather & wool.
Letterman jackets are not limited to Varsity Sports. In fact, the highschool and college demographic are typically limited by funds and the schools policy on who can receive one. Whereas an organization can get more use out of a letterman jackets than shirts. This type of outerwear is meant to be used on a regular basis. Since style and material varies, they serve as a year-round garment. Shirts are great but the details can fade or crack overtime. I’d rather get more bang for my buck. I’ll admit, there’s still an air of superiority that school varsity jackets give off. The older we get, the less we care about it. Don’t let that stigma stop you for investing in a jacket that’ll last longer than bags of company tees.
This is a sponsored post. However, the opinions are my own.
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