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How to Wear a Men’s Varsity Jacket: Timeless & Iconic Style Staple

How to Wear a Men’s Varsity Jacket: Timeless & Iconic Style Staple

When we picture a villain in an ‘80s or ‘90s teen movie, they’re nearly always an aggressive jock in a bright, two-toned varsity jacket.

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Yet, teenage social structures and dressing norms have evolved from these seemingly simple and more segmented times. Nerds drive the tech industry, and over the past two decades, that archetypical aesthetic has given way to thick-rimmed hipster glasses, ironic graphic tees, and knit cardigans.

As well, classic athleticwear is now less about celebrating the jock’s status at the top of the social pyramid and more about the deconstruction of style that unfolded during the ‘90s.

The men’s varsity jacket, for obvious reasons, falls into the latter group. It has risen, at least in how we interact with style, with the gray heathered and logo-based Champion sweatshirt and athleisure’s increasing dominance. As well, its silhouette mirrors that of the bomber jacket, resulting in another nostalgic interpretation. 

Even if you received a “C” in gym class and never made it onto the JV league, here’s how you can try out the varsity jacket.

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TOP PICKS AT A GLANCE
  • Available in a wide variety of colors
  • Great value for money
  • Comes with or without a hoodie
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  • Comfortable
  • Will keep you cozy without sacrificing style
  • Durable
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  • Cool patches give it a streetwear look
  • Features several pockets and compartments
  • Made from high-quality materials
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Our Top 10 Picks For Men’s Varsity Jacket

Here are our top 10 picks for the perfect varsity jackets in men’s fashion.

COOFANDY Mens Fashion Varsity Jacket

Best for the Budget Conscious

The COOFANDY Varsity jacket is of high-quality at a budget-friendly price. They make crafted with premium materials, such as soft cotton and warm wool lining, to ensure lasting comfort and durability.

These garments also feature iconic collegiate details, like striped ribbed cuffs and collars, to give you a classic and stylish look.

It comes in various colors so that you can pick the right color for your wardrobe. This jacket is a slim-fit cut, so it flatters your body. This men’s varsity jacket is easy to dress up or down.

PROS: Wide variety of colors and the option to get a hoodie

CONS: Relatively basic, and lacks logos. 

  • Star rating: 4.5 out of 5
  • Comfort: This is a comfortable jacket with a cotton and polyester blend. 
  • Fit: This is a slim-fit jacket that comes with or without a hoodie.
  • Color Options: You can get this jacket in various colors, including black, grey, navy, purple, red, and others. 
  • Durability: This jacket will handle the roughest wear due to the polyester and cotton blend. 
  • Value: This jacket is great value.

Shop on Amazon.com


Pro Club Men's Varsity Fleece Baseball Jacket

Best for Cold Weather

If you’re looking for a jacket that will keep you warm in cold weather, the Pro Club Varsity Jacket is a good option. It’s made from a heavyweight cotton blend and has a quilted lining for extra warmth.

The jacket also has two pockets and a ribbed collar, cuffs, and hem for a snug fit. It comes in a range of classic colors, such as:

  • Royal blue
  • Black
  • Grey

This is an excellent men’s varsity jacket for individuals who live in colder climates. The fleece lining will keep you cozy without sacrificing style. It’s also double stitched in some areas. This jacket would be a home run if it had more color options.

PROS: Fleece lining will keep you warm in colder conditions.

CONS: Fewer color options.

  • Star rating: 4 out of 5 stars
  • Comfort: This is a comfortable variety jacket mens made out of a cotton and polyester blend. 
  • Fit: Slim-fit. 
  • Color Options: This varsity jacket comes in black, grey, red, royal blue, and other colors. 
  • Durability: This is a durable jacket and the close snap buttons will stand up to years of use. 
  • Value: This jacket is a great value. This jacket will keep you comfortable with its fleece lining without breaking the bank. 

Shop on Shopproclub.com


Varsity College Jacket Baseball Bomber Jacket

Best for Streetwear

If you’re looking for a varsity jacket that will give you a streetwear edge, look no further than the Moshtashio jacket for men.

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Made from high-quality materials and featuring a sleek, streamlined design, this one is the perfect choice for any guy who wants to make a statement. 

The Moshtashio men’s varsity jacket also features several pockets and compartments, making it the ideal choice for guys who need to carry their essentials with them.

PROS: Cool patches give it a streetwear look. 

CONS: A baggier cut that can be less flattering on the body.

  • Star rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • Comfort: This is less comfortable because it is only polyester.
  • Fit: The baggier cut means it fits loosely on your body. 
  • Color Options: This jacket comes in black, brown, green, and purple. 
  • Durability: Although the polyester used to make this jacket is less comfortable, it’s more durable than a polyester blend.
  • Value: This jacket is a good value, especially since it has patches that give it some additional style points. 

Shop on Amazon.com


SMOKE RISE Unisex All Star Varsity Jacket

Best for Different Color Options

If you’re looking for varsity jackets with different color options, we recommend the SMOKE RISE Hipster Urban Varsity Jacket for men. It is soft and comfortable and available in multiple colors.

With its clean design and classic varsity style, it is perfect for guys who want a stylish and versatile piece that they can wear on any occasion.

PROS: This is a stylish jacket with lots of swag. It will take any fit to the next level. 

CONS: It’s more expensive. 

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  • Star rating: 5 out of 5
  • Comfort: This men’s varsity jacket is quite comfortable. It’s made out of cotton, polyester, and nylon blend. 
  • Fit: This is a slim-fit jacket that flatters the body. This jacket is also available in various styles, including a vest, and bomber jacket
  • Color Options: This jacket comes in various colors, including black, grey, purple, royal blue, and olive. 
  • Durability: This is a durable jacket, but the patches may begin to show signs of wear.
  • Value: This jacket is stylish but more expensive than the other jackets on this list. 

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Tencen Custom Varsity Jacket For Men

Best for Customization

The Tencen jacket is perfect for somebody who wants to stand out in a crowd and wants a varsity jacket for a custom look.

These are perfect for men who value craftsmanship and excellent design and want their clothing to be truly one-of-a-kind.

With Tencen Custom varsity jackets, you can print any image you want on the front and back of the jacket. Instead of using a patch, Tencen uses a digital printing method that may show wear quickly. The low-quality digital printing is why we gave this jacket a lower rating.

PROS: Lots of customizable options on the front and back of the jacket. 

CONS: Low-quality printing and materials. 

  • Star rating: 3 out of 5 stars
  • Comfort: This jacket is made out of comfortable cotton and polyester blend. 
  • Fit: This is a slim-fit jacket that will flatter your figure. 
  • Color Options: This jacket comes in black, grey, and pink. 
  • Durability: The jacket is made of decent materials, but the digital print will likely fade after several uses. 
  • Value: This jacket is a decent value. 

Shop on Amazon.com


Ultra Game NFL Classic Varsity Coaches Jacket

Best for Sports Fans

Whether you’re an avid sports fan or you want to show support for your favorite team, the Ultra Game NFL varsity jacket is a perfect choice.

This jacket is made from premium quality materials. It features your favorite football team’s iconic colors and logo, making it a stylish and functional piece that you’ll love wearing on and off the field.

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PROS: Can select the jacket that matches your favorite team’s logo.

CONS: Not as stylish as other jackets on this list. 

  • Star rating: 4 stars out of 5
  • Comfort: This jacket is made of a comfortable polyester and wool blend. 
  • Fit: This is a slim-fit jacket that will flatter your figure. 
  • Color Options: This jacket comes in various colors based on your favorite NFL team’s logo. 
  • Durability: The jacket is made of high-quality materials, but the patches may show wear after multiple washes. 
  • Value: This is a high-quality item at a reasonable price so it’s a great value. 

Shop on Amazon.com


TRIFUNESS Varsity Jacket

Best for a Classic Look

The TRIFUNESS Varsity Jacket Mens is made from high-quality wool and features classic men’s varsity jacket styling. This is the perfect jacket for a professional man who wants to invest in a timeless piece. 

The long sleeves and banded collar give this jacket a stylish and sophisticated look, while the wool material ensures that it will keep you warm and comfortable all day long. Whether you’re wearing it to the office or out on the town, this one is sure to make a statement.

PROS: Stylish and high quality.

CONS: Few color options.

  • Star rating: 5 out of 5 stars
  • Comfort: This is a comfortable jacket made out of high-quality fabric.
  • Fit: This is a slim-fit jacket that will flatter your figure. 
  • Color Options: This jacket is only available in black and red. 
  • Durability: This jacket is durable due to its high-quality materials and stitching. 
  • Value: The value of this jacket is off the charts. It’s a stylish jacket made of high-quality materials at a reasonable price. 

Shop on Amazon.com


Lavnis Men's Faux Leather Jacket

Best for Comfort

The Lavnis Faux-Leather Varsity Jacket is both stylish and comfortable. It is made from durable and soft faux leather and is perfect for long work or play days.

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Its classic varsity style makes it versatile enough to pair with any outfit, while its comfortable fit ensures that you’ll stay comfortable all day long. 

Best of all, this Lavnis jacket is available in a wide range of sizes so that you can find the right size for you. So if you’re looking for a men’s varsity jacket that is both stylish and comfortable, this one is the ideal choice.

PROS: A comfortable jacket that will keep you warm and stylish in any weather

CONS: Due to the faux leather, this jacket is dry clean only.

  • Star rating: 5 out of 5 stars
  • Comfort: This is a comfortable jacket. It’s 100% polyester and features a faux leather lining. 
  • Fit: Slim-fit and flattering. 
  • Color Options: This jacket is available in blue, red, yellow, and white. 
  • Durability: This jacket is durable, but the faux leather will show wear sooner than genuine leather. 
  • Value: This jacket is an outstanding value. It’s stylish and will keep you cozy at a reasonable price. 

Shop on Amazon.com


Nike Varsity Jacket

Best for Active People

The Nike Varsity Jacket will keep up with your active lifestyle and keep you looking good. This jacket is made of high-quality materials, including a durable polyester outer shell and soft cotton lining to keep you comfortable even during your most intense workouts. 

Additionally, the jacket features a stylish varsity-inspired design with iconic Nike branding, allowing you to show off your love for this popular brand wherever you go.

So whether you’re hitting the gym, going for a run, or simply enjoying some time outside with friends, you’ll stay comfortable and look great in this men’s varsity jacket.

PROS: High-quality materials and zipper.

CONS: Expensive and only comes in black.

  • Star rating: 4 out of 5 stars
  • Comfort: This jacket is designed for comfort. The zipper makes it easy to take the jacket on and off.
  • Fit: This is a slim-fit jacket that hugs your figure. 
  • Color Options: This jacket is only available in black. 
  • Durability: This jacket is made of the highest quality materials and will stand the test of time. 
  • Value: Although this jacket is high quality, it’s one of the most expensive jackets on this list.

Shop on Amazon.com


Mordenmiss Men's Basic Leather Varsity Jacket

Best for a Classier Look

The Mordenmiss Leather Varsity Jacket looks vintage and gives a sophisticated look without compromising comfort. It’s made with genuine leather and has a classic varsity silhouette. The fit is slim, and the length hits right at the hip. It also features a varsity collar and cuffs and a full-zip front closure.

This garment is perfect for professional men who want to invest in a quality piece that they can wear for years to come. It’s also an excellent option for men looking for a jacket that can easily be dressed up or down. It comes in multiple color options to choose from, you’re sure to find one that matches your style.

PROS: Real leather and stylish.

CONS: Hand wash only.

  • Star rating: 5 out of 5 stars
  • Comfort: This is hands down the most comfortable jacket on this list. It features a synthetic fur lining that feels great. 
  • Fit: This is a slim-fit jacket with a zipper opening 
  • Color Options: This jacket comes in royal blue, red, and yellow. 
  • Durability: This jacket is made of genuine leather and features excellent stitching. It’s built to last. 
  • Value: This jacket is a great value. It should be more expensive based on the quality of the materials used. 

Shop on Amazon.com


More Varsity Jackets Worth a Mention

Pull & Bear Varsity Jacket

Pull & Bear Contrasting Varsity Bomber Jacket with Patch

Comfortable and classic, this jacket from Pull & Bear is styled as a two-toned textile bomber with patch accents and snap buttons for a more timeless yet effortless vibe. 

Shop on Grailed.com


GUESS Originals X J Balvin Amor Paz Satin Varsity Jacket

GUESS Originals X J Balvin Amor Paz Satin Varsity Jacket

A style partially inspired by the Sukajan or souvenir jacket stands out with multicolored bubble letter Second Summer of Love-style accents. 

Shop on Modesens.com


MKI College Varsity Jacket

MKI College Varsity Jacket

Head down the preppy path in this tonal jacket featuring a wool/nylon blend, leather sleeves, and lightly contrasting embroidery. 

Shop on MKIStore.co.uk


Scotch & Soda Wool and leather college varsity jacket

Scotch & Soda Wool and Leather College Varsity Jacket

Classic construction gets enhanced with a hint of adventure through multiple patches and embroidery with an outdoor theme.

Shop on Scotch-soda.com


Tommy Hilfiger LEATHER AND SUEDE VARSITY BOMBER

Tommy Hilfiger Leather and Suede Varsity Bomber

Feel like you’ve earned it with this sturdy, contrasting combination of leather and soft suede

Shop on Tommy.com


Polo Ralph Lauren Pile Fleece Baseball Jacket

Polo Ralph Lauren Pile Fleece Baseball Jacket

Contrasts here don’t come from the sleeves but rather yellow trim on a high-pile fleece body that’s ready for cooler days. 

Shop on Lyst.com


River Island Cream Regular Varsity Jacket

River Island Cream Regular Fit Varsity Jacket

Go in a pastel, low-key direction with this tri-colored classic collegiate combination.

Shop on Lyst.com


YSL Teddy in Wool

Saint Laurent Teddy in Wool

A slimmer cut with contrasts around the shoulders and pockets reflects Anthony Vaccarello’s vision for Saint Laurent while nodding subtly to ‘80s New Wave.

Shop on Nordstrom.com


Off-White Letter White Jacket

Off-White Leather Patch Varsity Jacket 

Varsity jacket meets retro Starter inspiration in this nylon, wool, and leather combination accented with two contrasting patches on the front.

Shop on Lyst.com


Astro Varsity Jacket

Billionaire Boys Club Astro Varsity Jacket

Transform your style with this dark-green vintage Billionaire Boys Club varsity jacket. It now has full leather sleeves, a logo patch on the back, and an astronaut logo on the breast.

Shop on BBCIcecream.com


ASOS Varsity Jacket

ASOS DESIGN Varsity Jacket in Black with Real Leather Sleeves and Badging

ASOS hits all the heritage notes (or is it touchdowns?) you want with a classic wool and leather combination featuring a large patch graphic on the back.

Shop on Modesens.com


What is a Varsity Jacket?

Also going by the name of “letterman jacket” thanks to the exterior appliques, the men’s varsity jacket maintains a specific combination of features.

For starters, it begins with a cuffed bomber jacket profile with a ribbed collar. A two-tone design reflecting a school’s colors differentiates it, although this combination isn’t always essential. As the finishing touch, letters or a patch were sewn onto the chest to indicate which sports the wearer had participated in. 

Along with these basic design principles, varsity jackets veer away from bombers by featuring a button front rather than a zipper. These may be with holes or a snap placket. The fit tends to be a bit oversized rather than the modern bomber’s slimmer, streamlined appearance.

Customization, similar to a class ring, played a role. Jackets often featured the wearer’s name embroidered somewhere and the school’s initials or logo.

The first varsity jackets were supposedly awarded to Harvard University’s baseball team in 1865 and were quickly adopted by its football team and eventually by other colleges and universities. Initially, these designs were more like cardigans than the wool and leather combinations seen in the 1980s and ‘90s. In all contexts, the design and customization signaled a higher social status and athletic prowess around campus. 

Even before the golden age of teen movies, letterman jackets started transitioning from high school and college campus environments by the 1950s. Popularity predictably was spurred by Hollywood stars and cinema, from James Dean in Rebel without a Cause to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video and youth-oriented movies from the 1970s onward.

Varsity Jacket Buyers Guide

If you’re looking for the best jackets for men, there are many factors to consider. Some of the key considerations include:

  • Style
  • Materials
  • Fit
  • Cost

There are many different men’s varsity jacket designs to choose from when it comes to style. If you’re looking for a classic, you can’t go wrong with a traditional wool design. Alternatively, you can choose one made from other materials, such as leather or suede.

stylish varsity jacket mens

When it comes to materials, varsity jackets can be made from various fabrics. Some of the most popular materials include: 

  • Wool
  • Leather
  • Suede

For durability, you may want to choose one made from leather or suede.

Men’s varsity jackets are available in various fits. If you’re looking for a relaxed fit, you may want to choose one with a looser cut. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more tailored look, you may choose a more fitted cut.

No matter what your style or budget is, there’s a varsity jacket for you. So if you’re looking to purchase one that is both stylish and high-quality, consider all of your options. 

Try looking at varsity jackets in men’s stores nearby and online. If you have a low budget try looking in the sale racks.

What to Wear With a Varsity Jacket

Essentially what you can do with a bomber you can also do with a varsity jacket. Within the spectrum of style options, the two-tone, often dual-material garment sits between the lighter-weight track jacket and the smart-casual solid-color bomber. 

Yet, a few considerations need to be taken into account:

  • Fit: Varsity jackets have a wider, more spacious cut. As such, avoid pairing them with baggier pants. Rather, look for some kind of contrast, ideally through slim to skinny jeans or chinos. At the same time, the space proves to be optimal for layering, so consider wearing a hoodie underneath. 
  • Colors: Despite the image you have in your mind, muted to monochrome tends to offer more possibilities for a varsity jacket. For greater wear in your wardrobe, look for a solid-color or tonal design featuring patch accents. 
  • Occasion: You might be able to pull smart-casual with a men’s varsity jacket – but it also clearly sits in the casual category, generally as an emblem of youth upgraded for a more mature audience. As such, consider pairing it with neutral to muted colors. Footwear can range from classic athletic shoes – think Chunk Taylors to Jordans – to dress boots.

It’s easy to create an excellent fit with a varsity jacket. The jacket should be the star of the show, so your other clothing choices shouldn’t clash or detract from the jacket. A black or white t-shirt under the jacket is always an excellent way to start, and your pants should match.

model wearing varsity jacket

Paring a men’s varsity jacket with jeans and hi-tops will give you a more casual look. This is an excellent look for a date. Jeans and sneakers give a casual and stylish vibe.

You can also dress it up with a button-up shirt, corduroys, and leather dress shoes. This is an excellent look for a casual work outing or a fancy restaurant date.

A metallic belt, basketball hat, sunglasses, and gold rings are all very good accessory options. When selecting accessories focus on either a casual or a smart look.

The Story Behind Varsity Jackets

It is estimated that the varsity jacket originated in 1865 at Yale University. They were called “club jackets” and were made of wool with leather sleeves. The men’s varsity jacket soon became popular at other Ivy League schools, such as Harvard and Princeton.

In the early 20th century, varsity jackets took on a new meaning and became popular among athletes and sports teams. The Letterman sweater or jacket is a version of the garment given to individuals who made the varsity sports team.

By the 1950s, the varsity and letterman jacket became popular with athletes and non-athletes. This jacket style became a fashion icon when celebrities like James Dean and Elvis Presley wore this jacket. Today, varsity jackets for men are still a wardrobe staple. They are durable, versatile, and can be worn in various settings.

Final Thoughts

Every man should have a varsity jacket in his wardrobe. It’s an iconic and timeless piece. The varsity jacket is versatile and can be dressed up or down. Find the men’s varsity jacket on this list that suits your style and rock the fit.

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Best Varsity Jackets for Men

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