Letterman jackets: an expensive artifact

Josh Tucker ‘23, Copy Editor

Varsity jackets, also known as letterman jackets, have long been a symbol of school pride and achievement. Originally worn by high school and college athletes in the United States, varsity jackets have now become a popular fashion staple among people of all ages. However, as the varsity jacket trend continues on, the price tags have sparked controversy: are varsity jackets worth the cost?

Online, the average starting cost of a varsity jacket, without any patches, medals, or engravings is a steep $195, with add-ons costing anywhere from $5-$20. Local Metro Detroit shops like Kensington Valley Varsity in Brighton and Parkside Cleaners in South Lyon offer similar rates to the online options. A jacket with a final price tag pushing affordable limits deserves investigation: why exactly would anyone want to pay so much?

One of the main reasons that people value varsity jackets is because they are a symbol of accomplishment. In order to earn a varsity jacket, a student must have excelled in their chosen sport or club, demonstrating hard work, dedication, and skill. Wearing a varsity jacket can serve as a reminder of past achievements and provide a sense of pride and accomplishment, a symbol that could truly be invaluable to a hardworking student.

In addition to being a symbol of accomplishment, varsity jackets are also a way to show school spirit and support for one’s team or school. Many schools and teams tend to have specific colors and special designs for their varsity jackets, and wearing one can show support for the team and a sense of belonging to a community. This can be especially meaningful for students who have dedicated years to participating in a sport or activity and want to show their support for their school. 

 However, one of the largest reasons behind the cost of varsity jackets is because of their durability and quality. Varsity jackets are typically made of high-quality materials, such as leather or wool, and are built to last. This means that they can be worn for many years and may even become a treasured item that is passed down from generation to generation. The investment in a varsity jacket may seem steep at the time of purchase, but the jacket’s durability and quality mean that it can be a memento enjoyed for a lifetime.

In the end, varsity jackets are often considered to be a classic and timeless fashion item. They have been popular for decades and have been worn by everyone from athletes to celebrities. While fashion trends may come and go, the varsity jacket remains a timeless and iconic piece of clothing, perhaps even more now than ever before. They’re everywhere in street style.  Even if the initial cost of a varsity jacket is high, it may be considered a worthwhile investment for those who value eternal style.

However, not all students believe this.  Senior Daniel Phelka said that for him, “They only mean anything in high school, so it’s not worth it for me to buy one.”

In the end, varsity jackets can be seen as a valuable investment for many people due to their symbolism of achievement, representation of school spirit, durability, and timeless fashion appeal. While the initial cost of these jackets may be high, their value to many far exceeds the price tag. Whether worn to remind oneself of past accomplishments, show support for a team or school, or purely for style, varsity jackets can provide a sense of pride and joy for years to come—that is, if the price does not deter you from purchasing.

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