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The Original Boyfriend Jacket

I’ve always wanted to own a classic varsity jacket, but they are not easy to come by in Australia. A couple of months ago however, I attended a Unique Vintage warehouse sale with a friend. Their ad stated that varsity jackets were amongst their huge collection of vintage items imported from America, and I was determined to snaffle one if I could.

We arrived half an hour after the sale had opened, and already the warehouse was crowded with bargain-hunters. I immediately dived into the scrum gathered around the precious – and very small – rack of varsity and baseball jackets.

I was quick enough that there was still a good selection, and I snatched up the one I liked the most: a navy wool jacket that buttoned with real buttons, not snaps. It was clearly a baseball jacket, rather than a varsity jacket, but I liked the shape and the felt logo emblazoned across the front. I’m really into navy at the moment too. It also looked like one of the oldest, the best quality and condition.

The Letter A, from James Worthy, Rowing Crew and Collections Catalog, c. 1920sVarsity or letterman jackets have of course been worn by students for a long time, and to be dating a guy who had one bestowed enormous cachet on a girl, especially if she got to wear it too when she was cold!

Cool girl from the 1940sSporting her boyfriend's jacket

Now, I know zip about baseball, and I couldn’t begin to guess how old this jacket could be. Some Googling uncovered the information that Brooklyn’s baseball team, the Dodgers, had moved to Los Angeles in 1958. Possibly the jacket predates that move, taking into account the fabric and detailing, and the design of the label, which reads Empire Sporting Goods, New York, Union-made. That company operated from 1925 to 2012.

A cute look from a Polish artistI’ve worn the jacket out a couple of times, and I can asseverate that it is extremely warm. Admittedly it is a little big for me, being an extra large, but I pretend I’ve borrowed it from my (non-existent) boyfriend. I joked to my sister that maybe one day a future boyfriend can borrow it from me and call it his girlfriend jacket!

Fashion Notes

I’m wearing the jacket with a Claude Maus striped wool jumper, Calvin Klein jeans and a Jasper Conran wool cap – all second-hand too.


Photo: August 2016
NB The background is actually a vintage photo of the old Yankee Stadium, and was sourced from an article on its history at Stuff Nobody Cares About.

Coach 1941 brings back the varsity jacket for Fall 2016!

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