Letterman Jacket Patches: FAQ

Your extracurricular activities and achievements are a big part of who you are. Celebrate each one with the lasting pride of a custom school patch – the ultimate badge of honor for your letter jacket.

Letterman jackets have a long and storied history. Letter jacket patches are a uniquely American tradition that started in the late 19th century. Walk around any high school or college campus, and you’ll spot these jackets. 

Harvard was the first to start the tradition to instill school pride and encourage development within baseball. Football would soon follow, and the letterman jacket was born. What began as a simple woolen sweater would quickly evolve into distinctive woolen jackets with leather sleeves. 

Although they were initially given to senior male athletes only, times have changed, and now you can find patches for letter jackets for female athletes, school choirs, robotics clubs, and the arts. Letterman jackets have become an inclusive symbol of pride and accomplishment that can be customized to each individual’s preferences.  

Not only are high school letterman jacket patches essential apparel for showing unity with your school and team, but they’re also fun pieces of memorabilia well into adulthood. They’ll serve as a reminder of growing up and the golden years of high school.  

Every school will have its own style of patches for letterman jackets. They’re mostly handed out at awards ceremonies to recognize achievement at the start or end of each academic year. You can also order these letterman jackets online at Jostens. One of the things that makes these jackets unique is that they can be adorned with customized patches to express each student’s activities and individual style.   

However, there are several letter jacket patches you’ll find in most high schools, such as academic, sports, and cheer patches for letterman jackets. 

Chevrons are handed out to athletes participating in sports. Additional bars are awarded for each year they’ve committed to their sport. Depending on the school, they may be general chevrons or specific to each sport. Every sport will have a slight variation on its chevrons. 

Most chevrons are worn on the sleeve, but if you’ve played multiple sports and have several bars, the jacket can start to look cluttered. Get some inspiration from other letter jackets or fellow team members for ideas on how to incorporate various chevron types. 

Letters and Mascots 
You’ll find varsity jacket patches representing the school on the front of the jacket. It’s usually the first letter of the name of the school. For example, if you go to Westgate High School, your jacket will have a large “W” on it. 

Letters vary in style and may differ for each club type. For example, schools may have separate letters for academic, musical, and athletic teams. 

Large letters and mascots are the most traditional high school patches on modern varsity jackets. 

Commemorative Patches 
Each year’s editions may come with special commemorative patches. Commemorative patches mark the extraordinary achievements of the school as a whole. 

For example, if your school ranked first in your state or the football team won a conference title, there might be a patch for that. 

Attendees of major events might also receive patches simply for coming out and supporting the school. 

Back Patches 
Large back patches may come with a mascot or a particular position, such as being a cheerleading squad member or in the marching band. Large letter jacket patches on the back are distinct to each school, and the student body wears them with pride on campus. 

Activity Patches 
Activity patches are reserved for use by clubs within the school. If you see a figure of a person swimming, they’re a swimming team member. Drama club students might have two masks on their coats. Students will get letter jacket patches for every extracurricular activity. 

Designing a jacket is not just about the number of patches but how they are positioned. You don’t want to have a jacket that’s too cluttered. 

Creating a chic, beautiful jacket should be a top priority for students as this is the attire that’s truly unique to you. 

No two patches for letterman jackets look the same. 

Last Name – Your last name goes across the back of your jacket. Some schools may even allow you to add an effect, such as a shadow or outline. 

First Name – Add your name to the front right chest. It doesn’t have to be the same font as your last name. Some schools may allow you to include a nickname too. 

Varsity Letter – Your school will provide you with your varsity letter. These small letters go on the front left chest. You can also sew emblem patches onto the varsity letter. 

Grad Year Patch – Your class of 2022 letterman patch indicating your imminent graduation goes on the top of the left sleeve. Your school may offer you several color combinations. 

Additional Patches – Sport, creative, and academic patches for a letterman jacket can go on the sleeves or back of your jacket. You’ll usually have control over the positioning of your patches, but make sure they’re nicely spaced and aligned. 

Try to come up with different designs before grabbing your needle and thread. It’s also good to collaborate with your friends to see what they’re doing with their jackets. 

The traditional letterman jacket comes with a two-toned design and a collared band in both colors. Your school will have its colors, which you can spot on the flags and emblems of the school. 

You’ll spot the school’s official colors on the jacket’s panels. With every patch earned and rewarded, you’ll need to find a special place on the jacket. 

Other than the varsity letter and name placements, which the school defines, you can freely place your jacket patches where you please. 

Look up some jacket designs online to find out what other students have done. Avoid using glue or other adhesives on your jacket. The best way to handle placement is to learn how to sew. Most schools also have sewing classes if you’re in your freshman year and learning the skill for the first time.