letterman jacket

Letterman Jackets

80's Tops May 02, 2022

When you take a look back at the 1980s, you’ll notice that some trends were wildly popular and some that might otherwise be forgotten. One of the bigger 80s fashion trends for younger folk attending high school or college was the “Letterman Jacket”.

letterman jacket
Letterman Jacket Were A Huge Fashion Trend In The 1980s

Letterman jackets were basically jackets that had your school’s name or initials on them, and they were typically worn by the students who were athletes and it was a quick way to recognize the “cool kids”.


How Letterman Jackets Ruled The 80s

The 1980s was a decade that took many fashion mistakes to the grave including oversize shoulder pads, neon-colored clothing, legwarmers, and overtly loud print t-shirts. It also saw the rise of acid wash jeans, tracksuits, and Reebok sneakers. But one item more than anything was of course the varsity letterman jacket. It was practically seen in every American town and also found a prominent place in many of the most iconic 80s movies.

letterman jacket
Emilio Esteves Wears A Letterman Jacket In “The Breakfast Club” (1985)

Everything from feature films like- All the Right Moves, The Breakfast Club, Beverly Hills Cop, Teen Wolf, and every other 80s movie that featured varsity jackets more often than any other trends of the day. But, why were varsity letterman jackets a popular 1980s fashion trend?

Perhaps the easiest answer is what they represent. If you were in high school or in college, it was about representing real school pride, but it was also announcing to everyone else that you were part of an exclusive club. Varsity athletes were usually the popular kids in school, and you needed to make sure you let everyone know you were a part of that exclusive clique.

Letterman Jackets Often Appeared In Iconic 80s Movies Like “Teen Wolf” (1985)

For every girl who was lucky enough to be dating one of the team members on a baseball, basketball, or football team, this was a huge honor to wear their boyfriend’s jacket for good luck during a game. It also represented your school’s honor and was the defending colors that were symbolic of a winning team. Just being friends with someone from your home team was actually considered a cool status trend.

If you wore a varsity jacket, you were pretty much a superhero without having to wear a cape. Yet, when it came to looking cool, nothing said it more proud than the brilliant bold colors and the oversize letter embellished on the front side of each jacket.

A Winning Trend That Took Off

If it wasn’t for a strong love affair with the 1950s and 1960s team spirit, the letterman jacket wouldn’t have been such a solid symbol. Perhaps this trend changed when Michael Jackson featured a letterman jacket in his epic mini-movie music video “Thriller” in 1983. Upcoming east coast rap bands including Run DMC and NWA were quick to catch onto this trend and made it cool to represent and wear their favorite team letterman jackets.

Michael Jackson Wore A Letterman Jacket In “Thriller” (1982)

It didn’t take long before well-known professional sports teams like the Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics were making their own letterman jackets. The trend exploded and became an image that was celebrated by everyone no matter where you grew up. It’s one of the very few fashion trends that crossed all boundaries and still stood for standing strong alongside that team spirit. You just don’t find any other item of clothing that does that anymore.

And though the 1980s are long gone, the letterman jacket is still around making a comeback as a cool retro clothing item. Yet few remember back to those days when everyone could embrace a fashion trend that made everybody feel they were all on the same winning side.