Patches From The Past: The History of Letterman Jackets

Patches From The Past: The History of Letterman Jackets

Custom patches have a wide range of functions. Not only are they stylish, but they can also be used as a form of expression, advertising, and marketing. Patches are small billboards that can show your personality while providing a distinguished way to stand out. 

Sure, there are several ways to stand out, but patches are always a great option. Simply adding one to your favorite garment is a unique way to show off your personality, style, and character. 

For students at high schools, colleges, and universities, another way to stand out is by wearing a letterman jacket. These jackets have long been an icon of high school and college, worn by everyone from athletes to scholars. They are however, considerably less popular today than in decades past.

Letterman jackets are also known as letter jackets and varsity jackets. Crafted from wool and leather, they are still seen around campus across the country, offering a stylish way to stand out. Let's examine the history of letterman jackets and patches.

The Origins of the Letterman Jacket

The history of the letterman jacket dates back to 1865. The university baseball team at Harvard started the trend. The exclusive Ivy League school’s baseball team began adding an Old English style "H" on their jerseys. The star players got to keep their custom uniforms, while the other players had to give theirs back. 

Around a decade later, the Harvard football team started making jackets for their star players. Like the baseball uniforms from ten years earlier, the jackets featured a simple design that included an Old English style H. The jackets spread to other universities, becoming more detailed and ornate as time went on. 

More players gained access to the jackets through the years, while star players got chenille patches and stripes on their sleeves. These patches and stripes were used to show their status and recognize their accomplishments. The first photographic evidence of the letterman jacket in a high school was in Phoenix Union High School’s 1911 yearbook. The popular woolen and leather jacket we know today was first introduced in 1930. 

The letterman jacket trend continued to gain popularity, which can be still be seen on many high school and university campuses across the country today. Letterman jackets have even become a mainstay in mainstream fashion. The letter exclusivity tradition still lives on. Today, anyone in a club, group, or outstanding student in athletics, academics, and others can get an official chenille letter for their letterman jackets. The chenille patches are created for specific victories and achievements. 

The best part about creating custom patches is that you have creative control over the look of your patch. You can create patches in practically any shape or size imaginable. With a reputable patch provider, your students will soon be wearing their letterman jackets with pride.