Since 1865, the varsity jacket has been an indefatigable symbol of sportsmanship, athletics and vigorously talented youth. While it continues to serve as a badge of honor for school-age youths, the varsity jacket has shifted into mainstream men’s fashion. You may not have worn a letterman since high school, but it might be time for you to go old school and pair this modernized jacket with a variety of modern ensembles. Of course, you'll want to keep in mind that while the varsity jacket is stylistically versatile, it is strictly an athletic and collegiate look; it's never appropriate for business professional or business casual.
Although most men stray from wearing jackets in warm summer months, the varsity jacket can make an impressively stylish statement when paired with typical summer clothing, like shorts and tee shirts. For example, designer Micah Cohen's 2013 summer and spring collections included varsity jackets coordinated with colorful, low-neck tank tops, dark shorts and slip-on shoes. Men's magazine FHM recommends a polo shirt, chino shorts and espadrilles for a no-fuss casual look.
Spring weather, in many parts of the U.S., can be unpredictable; fortunately, this will allow you to pair your varsity jacket with a variety of weather-appropriate outfits. On warm days, slip on a pair of khaki or tan corduroy shorts, boat shoes and a brightly colored t-shirt for a modern yet comfortable look. Cool days call for a little extra warmth. Go casual prep with a vintage polo or your favorite plaid shirt, casual slacks and penny loafers.
You'll have plenty of opportunities to wear your varsity jacket as the autumn days grow shorter and weather begins to cool. Use your varsity jacket to kick a little spirit into an otherwise drab outfit by wearing it with an oxford cloth button-up, khaki pants and a pair of lace-up sneakers. Switch out the khakis and sneakers for a pair of chino pants and colorful suede driving shoes to shake up your style routine.
Jackets were made for winter. This is your chance to really make your varsity jacket shine. Add a little old-school Harvard to your look by accessorizing with neutral colored wool scarves and your most comfortable cardigan. When the winter days reach their coldest, don't sacrifice comfort by wearing light materials. Wear denim jeans for an athletic look or corduroy pants for an old-fashioned Ivy League style. Keep your shoes simple and warm for winter by wearing high-top sneakers, ankle boots or leather loafers. As you work your way through the next year, keep in mind that personal style trumps fashion trends. Make sure that your look reflects your personality, comfort and tastes.