Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dress Code: LIFUL, and a Discussion of Varsity Jackets

-I recently learned about Korean brand LIFUL through Hypebeast and was very impressed by their collection. Their varsity jacket variations, two of which are seen in the bottom image, are stripped of the typical letterman adornments—leaving just the essential wool, leather and color. I always see varsity jackets and think that I'd like to buy one, and the LIFUL versions are probably the cleanest that I've seen, but I started to wonder why they appeal to me. Varsity jackets, and their appeal, seem to be more a product of the idealism of high school in America than a product of well-thought style. Let's examine further after the jump.

-I've got two secondhand lettermans that I purchased at vintage/resale stores. Both have goofy names, interesting patches and great color combos — but I don't wear them ever. I think I want to avoid looking like these jackets are actually my lettermans from high school and I'm still wearing them, refusing to let go to past glory. So why then, would I choose to rock a new varsity jacket? Well, nobody's really likely to confuse a Supreme varsity with some high school, but I think it's just the idea. My group of friends in high school, though most of us lettered in something and some of us actually bought the jacket, would never actually wear ours. We didn't want to be those douches with letterman jackets. We didn't like those douches. I'm not saying that every athlete who wore a letterman is a douche, but in American cliche movie culture, that's pretty much the idea. We had an image to protect: Even if we we lettered, peopled needed to know that we cared a lot more about skating, rock and roll, and drinking and partying then we did about our athletic/academic achievements. I don't know if all those things are at play when I see a dope piece like the LIFUL or the Supreme, but it's interesting to consider.

-On a more concrete level, there's the issue of actually working a varsity into an adult wardrobe. We see almost every streetwear brand with a varsity this year, and your stock streetwear kid can easily pull one off. But how does a responsible, but still young and risk-taking, sartorialist pull one off? I'm thinking I could do the red/white LIFUL with a white BD and black tie, maybe even a bow tie. I think scarves and varsities are always a good combo, especially if you can play the scarf color off one of the minor colors in the jacket. As far as adornments go, I can see the appeal of both. The Supreme piece is more traditional, it harkens more to the high-school ideal. The minimalist LIFUL reduces the jacket to the essentials – but does removing the patches and names also remove the context of why people in America (and Korea and Japan) are so intrigued by the aesthetic of a varsity jacket? Share your thoughts.

1 comment:

barron said...

interesting post and ironic to me, considering i've been looking for one specific royal purple varsity jacket by Nautica for a while now (and have been posting about it on twitter: http://bit.ly/79mxX1)

I'm sure there are lots of ways one can incorporate this into a more gentlemanly wardrobe, and of course the right fit has a lot to do with it. I'd be interested to experiment with these ones from LIFUL. Great find.