Which letterman jacket is best?

Letterman jackets, also known as varsity jackets, are a great addition to any closet and fit a range of styles, from classic American to streetwear. They’re also great protection against the cold, and in some cases can be worn while skiing or during other intense outdoor winter activities.

If you’re in the market for a well-made letterman jacket that promises to keep you warm, stylish and comfortable, check out the Stewart & Strauss Original Varsity Letterman

What to know before you buy a letterman jacket

Fit and cut

Ralph Lauren

Although letterman jackets feature the same general design, there are numerous fits and cuts. If you want something with a modern streetwear look, consider something with a boxy, oversized fit. If you want it to accentuate the width of your shoulders, opt for a cinched waist and a wider shoulder measurement. Or if you’re chasing the traditional look, consider something from a classic brand such as Ralph Lauren.

Level of warmth

Quilted Bomber

Before you purchase a new letterman jacket, consider how much warmth you want it to provide. Although it’s not traditional, you can find puffer letterman jackets with down insulation, such as the quilted bomber from Tommy Hilfiger. If you want something you can wear during the milder months of fall and spring, consider one made from cotton or lightweight wool.

What to look for in a quality letterman jacket

Materials

Pro Standard

Regardless of what type of letterman jacket you choose, premium materials are a hallmark of high-quality ones. If you choose a traditional varsity jacket such as the Pro Standard, keep an eye out for genuine leather sleeves and natural wool blends. If you want a puffer, consider jackets with certified animal-cruelty-free down or recycled synthetic insulation. 

Quality buttons 

Because letterman jackets tend to have buttons instead of a zipper, the quality of the buttons is important. High-quality letterman jackets have strong buttons that securely snap into place with a distinctive sound. Keep your eye out for bonuses, such as interesting contrasting colors or luxurious polished chrome buttons. 

How much you can expect to spend on a letterman jacket

As with most clothing, there is a wide range of prices when it comes to letterman jackets. Expect to spend $50-$100 for high-quality affordable jackets and anywhere between $150-$400 for luxury ones. 

Letterman jacket FAQ

Should I hang or fold my letterman jacket? 

A. We’re often told to avoid hanging wool or folding leather, the two main materials in most varsity jackets — but avoid folding them at all costs. Because the leather is supple and the wool is thick, folding will create creases difficult to remove. To avoid hanger bumps at the end of the shoulder, where the leather starts, get a wooden hanger with large, smooth curves that won’t press against the leather. 

What’s the origin of the letterman jacket?

A. They were first worn by Harvard University baseball players in 1865 and were popular with the athletes who wore them throughout the first half of the 20th century. They became a fashion trend in the 1950s, worn by such stars as James Dean and Elvis Presley, and later by Michael Jackson. Japanese fashion designer Nigo recently made the look trendy again. 

What’s the best letterman jacket to buy?

Top letterman jacket

Stewart Strauss Original Varsity Letterman

Stewart & Strauss Original Varsity Letterman

What you need to know: Boasting thick wool, genuine leather and a traditional slim-fit cut, this is ideal for anyone who wants a high-quality, versatile letterman jacket. 

What you’ll love: There are 33 colorways to choose from, and a zip-out lining, lets you lighten the insulation. The cinched waist, which features the same contrasting cuff as the collar and sleeves, is ideal if you want to accentuate the contrast between the size of your waist and shoulders. 

What you should consider: Although this jacket provides an excellent value for your money, some wearers felt it was too plain. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top letterman jacket for the money

Pro Club Fleece Varsity Jacket

Pro Club Fleece Varsity Jacket

What you need to know: If you’re looking for a slim varsity jacket with a regular fit and don’t want to shell out a lot of money, look no further than this. 

What you’ll love: It features the classic design but uses a comfortable cotton and wool blend for the sleeves instead of the traditional leather. Nonetheless, it maintains the classic silhouette thanks to the ribbed cuffs and outsized seams in the shoulders. 

What you should consider: Although it’s quite affordable, the fabric quality is slightly lacking. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Dress Club International Men's Varsity Letterman Jacket

Dress Club International Men’s Varsity Letterman Jacket

What you need to know: This jacket features a classic design with a modern fit and is made from the finest materials. 

What you’ll love: With thick, soft wool and real leather, it’s durable and well-made, and the blue-and-white striped patches lend it a luxurious sense of classic design. Stylish contrasting cuffs match the collar and waist, and it’s also available for women and children.

What you should consider: Because it’s classic in design and style, there’s not a lot of differentiation.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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William Briskin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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