How to Style A Varsity Jacket (And Not Look Like a Teen Movie Extra)


Toeing the line between sportswear and fashion.

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The varsity jacket, also known as letterman or baseball jacket, has forever held its position as the iconic American athleticwear. But it is not bound just to the pitch anymore. We’ve seen it transition into a high fashion piece that has become a street style essential in recent years. 

With the audience changing from high schoolers to fashion-forward street stylers, the varsity jacket has undergone quite a few changes in terms of fabric, design, and proportions. But despite all the changes, the signature elements that represent its iconic style remain the same.

Read on to find out this year’s take on the trend and learn how to style a varsity jacket.

Varsity Jackets in 2022

Unlike the lowkey presence at the fashion shows of the previous seasons, varsity jackets made a significant comeback this year.

The Kenzo show was dominated by capacious varsity jackets and knitwear in striking colors.

Likewise, Louis Vuitton showcased an oversized varsity jacket emblazoned with multiple symbol patches and matching loose-fit trousers. 

Undercover displayed several clean looks in darker tones but retained the signature leather sleeves of the classic varsity jacket.

How Should a Varsity Jacket Fit?

While recent fashion trends have been about relaxed cuts and oversized silhouettes, a letterman jacket tends to have a certain type of fit. They typically have a spacious cut with contoured shoulders and well-tailored sleeves. 

As a general rule of thumb, your varsity jacket should leave just enough space for a single layer of sweatshirt or jumper. Therefore, even the oversized iterations of the jacket are not designed to be exaggeratedly huge, as was seen in this year’s look by Kenzo and Louis Vuitton.

The traditional varsity jacket is neither cropped nor lengthy; instead, it sits right at the hip. The contemporary versions, in contrast, are more flexible, including cropped, classic, and lengthy jackets.

Varsity Jacket Styling Tips

Choose the right fit

Choose well-tailored varsity jackets and balance the outfit with streamlined pants or trousers for a trimmed and neat look. Avoid bulky silhouettes and wear jackets that are structured in the right places.

Avoid messy melange

Since most varsity jackets are graphic and loud, choose solid and simpler bottoms, minimal accessories, and basic kicks to avoid an overblown look.

Dress up or down

The choice of pants and shoes can shift the mood of your look. Tapered pants or chinos and semi-formal shoes like loafers work well for a dressier approach, whereas jogger pants or jeans and trainers are more casual appropriate.

Go for subdued color combinations

Keep the jacket the focal piece of your outfit and pair it with subdued colors to avoid a fussy look. 

6 Cool Varsity Jacket Outfits

A Casual Chic Fit

Varsity jacket shirt pants

A basic woolen varsity jacket adds a casual chic air to the otherwise dressy combo of the collared shirt and slim-fit checkered pants. Steal this move to transition your work outfit for after-work commitments in a laidback but sophisticated style.

Outdoor Ready with Shorts

Varsity jacket shorts

Show up at your next outdoor party in a classic varsity jacket paired with tailored chino shorts. Add a sleek belt for a smart-casual statement, slip into canvas sneakers and finish off the look with shades for a classy sports look. 

With a simple t-shirt and jeans

Justin beiber red varsity jacket

If you’re low on inspiration to hop on the trend, take it from your favorite celebrities. Justin Bieber and many others, including Travis Scott, Jay-Z, and Kanye West, seem strong advocates of the varsity jacket as they’ve been spotted wearing the same in recent times. 

Justin Bieber takes the edge of this super loud varsity jacket by pairing it with a plain t-shirt and some black jeans.

The Classic Preppy Look

Red varsity jacket jeans

A combination of black and red is hard to get wrong. Dress in a classic red varsity jacket paired with relaxed pants for a head-turning look. To add extra personality to the outfit, introduce a printed tee underneath. Throw on a baseball cap or beanie and finish with casual slip-on sneakers for an ultimate preppy look.  

Go Easy with the Colors 

White varsity jacket chinos
Depositphotos

For a contemporary take on the trend, wear varsity jackets in pastel or nude colors with minimal graphic details. Case in point: A basic white jacket paired with loose-fit warm tan pants looks super clean and unfussy. You can spice up the look by adding a pair of chunky sneakers and choose tapered or slim-fit pants instead.

Varsity Coat?

Long jacket jeans sweater

Historically speaking, a varsity coat is not exactly a thing. But Alex Badia’s look in a roomy coat featuring a clean Yankees logo proves the attempt to introduce the varsity jacket element into a coat incredibly successful. Layer underneath as you like and finish off with relaxed pants and basic trainers for a street-style look that stands out all.


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Mariah Syed

Mariah is a writer at The Boardwalk.

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