When researching some of the different styles of leather jackets, you may come across letterman. Letterman jackets have been around for decades. During that time, they’ve become particularly popular among high school and college students. Even if you’ve already graduated, though, you can still sport a letterman jacket. Letterman jackets offer many of the same benefits as traditional flight jackets, thus making them a smart investment for all fashion-conscious men and women.
What Is a Letterman Jacket?
A letterman jacket is a type of leather jacket that’s commonly worn by students. Most of them represent some form of academic or athletic achievement. Also known as varsity jackets, they come in a variety of styles and colors. Regardless, most of them look like traditional flight jackets but with a few nuances.
Origins of the Modern Letterman Jacket
Letterman jackets originated during the early 20th century. Some of the first letterman jackets were worn by students at Harvard University. Members of the Harvard University baseball team began wearing letterman jackets to symbolize their athletic achievements. Letterman jackets gradually found their way into other universities and schools. Today, they rank as one of the leading types of leather jackets.
Long before letterman jackets were invented, there were flight jackets. Flight jackets refer to traditional leather jackets that were designed for pilots. In the early years of aviation, airplanes didn’t have climate-controlled cockpits. To protect against hypothermia, pilots wore special jackets that trapped their body heat. These jackets were flight jackets.
Common styles of flight jackets include the following:
- A-1 jacket
- A-2 jacket
- G-1 jacket
- G-2 jacket
- B-3 jacket
- M-445 jacket
Flight jackets paved the way for many other styles of leather jackets, including the letterman jacket. Letterman jackets emerged in the wake of flight jackets. They were originally worn by students, but letterman jackets are now worn by the general public as well.
Benefits of Choosing a Letterman Jacket
What are the benefits of choosing a letterman jacket exactly? For starters, they are warm. All leather jackets, of course, are warm, but letterman jackets offer a superior level of warmth. They share many of the same characteristics as flight jackets.
Flight jackets were originally designed for pilots, so they are warmer than most other jackets. When inspecting a flight jacket, you may notice that it has a wraparound collar and sleeve cuffs. The collar and cuffs aren’t made of leather. While flight jackets are typically constructed mostly of leather, they use other materials for the collar and cuffs. This allows for a tighter and more secure fit. The collar will wrap around your neck, whereas the cuffs will wrap around your wrists. Letterman jackets typically feature a similar wraparound collar and cuffs.
Most letterman jackets have pockets. Like their flight jacket counterparts, they typically have two front pockets. You can use these pockets to keep your hands warm. Placing your hands inside these pockets will protect them from cold weather.
Letterman jackets are versatile. You can wear them in countless outfits. Many people wear them with jeans and a t-shirt. If it’s cold outside and you need a little extra protection from the elements, you can grab a letterman jacket. You can also wear a letterman jacket in dressier, more formal outfits. Some people wear them with button-up dress shirts or polo shirts, for example.
How to Shop for a Letterman Jacket
You should choose a letterman jacket made of real leather. Like with other styles of leather jackets, not all letterman jackets are made of real leather; some of them are made of faux leather. Faux leather is artificial or fake leather. It’s designed to look like real leather, but it’s actually made of a base material that’s coated in plastic or a plastic-like material.
Don’t overlook the color when choosing a letterman jacket. Letterman jackets are available in a variety of colors. You can find them in traditional colors like brown and black, and you can find them in bold colors like red and yellow.
Keep in mind that a flight jacket is a viable alternative to a letterman jacket. Flight jackets and letterman jackets are strikingly similar. The main difference is that flight jackets feature a more traditional and classic style, whereas letterman jackets feature a more modern jacket. Some people prefer the timeless appearance of flight jackets. If this sounds familiar, you should consider choosing a flight jacket instead of a letterman jacket.
Whether you prefer a letterman jacket of a traditional flight jacket, you should choose the right size. Letterman and flight jackets aren’t one-size-fits-all. You can find them in different sizes. Choosing a jacket in the wrong size is a serious mistake. If it doesn’t fit, you probably won’t wear it very often. You’ll get more use out of your new letterman or flight jacket if it fits your body.
Tips to Make Your Letterman Jacket Last a Lifetime
After buying a letterman jacket — or a flight jacket for that matter — you should take some basic precautions to make it last. Letterman jackets can last a lifetime when properly maintained. You’ll need to clean your letterman jacket. When worn regularly for an extended period, it will inevitably gather dirt and debris on the surface. Allowing this superficial dirt and debris to go unchecked may shorten the lifespan of your letterman jacket.
You can clean your letterman jacket using a damp washcloth. Take a damp washcloth and blot your letterman jacket until it comes clean. For stubborn dirt and debris, place a few drops of mild dish soap on the damp washcloth.
Along with cleaning your letterman jacket, you should condition it. Assuming you choose a letterman jacket made of real leather and not faux leather, it may dry out. Real leather can dry out due to its porous nature. Conditioning your letterman jacket, however, will restore its moisture content. Conditioning products are designed to hydrate leather while subsequently protecting it from dehydration.