Back in October I ran an entry about my jersey collection. Today we’re gonna take a look at one of my other uni-related apparel collections: vintage varsity-style team jackets, along with a few related items that aren’t quite team jackets but are still in the same spirit.
Just as with my jerseys, I’ll only buy a vintage jacket if it fits me — I’m looking to wear it, not just own it. But as is often the case in New York apartments, I have very limited closet space, so this collection has sort of rotated over the years — as I acquire new ones, I often end up selling some of the older ones. Here are the ones I have at the moment, beginning with a real beauty:
Got that on eBay for about $40 in 2009, I believe. The shoulder gussets and color scheme pretty much make this a Paul Lukas slam-dunk before we even get to the spectacular rear design, which features magnificent chenille graphics. I didn’t know what “Lane” referred to when I got the jacket, but many people (including a few who’ve stopped me on the street) have now informed me that the jacket is from Lane Tech in Chicago.
Picked this up at a Brooklyn vintage shop last fall. I forget the price — $35-ish, maybe..? Love those leather shoulder stripes. The name on the back apparently refers to this school, which I’d never heard of until I got the jacket. Tucked inside the collar are a nice label and the name of the original owner (“Chuck Campbell,” although it’s hard to read in that photo). True story: When I came down with chickenpox last year, I grabbed this jacket and ran off to the doctor to get some meds. As I was crossing the street on my way out of the doctor’s office, some douchebag yakking on the cell in his SUV nearly ran me down. Cell-ing while driving is illegal in this state, so I yelled at him to get off the phone. His response: “Go back to Ohio, asshole!” Took me a minute to realize why he’d said that.
Scott Turner gave me this jacket for my birthday in 2008. I love the uni number on the sleeve, and beautifully arched rear lettering. And what kind of ball is this? Water polo! Yes, really — it’s a water polo jacket. Best one (okay, only one) in Brooklyn, I’m pretty sure.
Bought this magnificent bowling jacket at a shop in Brooklyn in late 2008. Price was about $65-ish and worth every penny. The patches on the front are nice (look at the chain-stitched finger holes!), as is the tag, but the real prize is on the back. And here’s the best part: Berles Carton was located in Paterson, New Jersey — which is where I go bowling! The operation still exists in Paterson today as the Accurate Box company.
Got this on Etsy a few weeks ago for $24. Love the colors, natch. Turns out it’s rather lightweight and unlined, so it’s almost more like a flannel shirt than a jacket, but that’s fine. I have no idea what the logo on the back is for. Anyone..?
Just got this last week on eBay for $31. Couldn’t resist the Ohio-shaped speed skating patch, although I also like the other chest patch and the sleeve patch. Rube Adler Sporting Goods not only sold the jacket — they apparently sponsored the skater too. And they’re still in business today.
Incidentally, after I sent in my eBay payment for this jacket, I got a note from the seller, a guy named Peter Thompson: “I am shipping out the jacket today and you should have it by the end of the week. Also, I wanted to let you know that I am huge Uni Watch fan. I love the blog and will be a lifelong supporter.” First time I’ve stumbled upon a Uni Watch reader in an eBay transaction.
If you do any thrift/vintage shopping, you’ve probably seen plenty of these great blue corduroy FFA jackets. I got this one a few blocks from my house about four years ago for $12. Not a team jacket per se, but the awesome logo and vertically arched chain-stitching on the back make it a close cousin (here’s a closer look). And who makes a Future Farmers jacket? Future Farmers Supply Service, natch. My favorite detail: If you look at the front-view photo above, you’ll see that the zipper doesn’t zip all the way up to the collar. Why? Duh, so your necktie will show. I love that.
While working on a travel article in the summer of 2003, I drove from San Francisco to L.A. with my friend Karen Eng (who published the great food zine PekoPeko). At some point along the way — I no longer recall where, but I’m pretty sure it was closer to L.A. than to SanFran — we stopped at a thrift store, where I picked up this jacket for $5. I still remember how it felt when I tried it on — “Holy shit,” I thought, “this is the single most comfortable, best-fitting jacket I’ve ever worn.” More than seven years later, it still is. It’s blank on the back, and the two front patches aren’t anything special, but the jacket has a quilted lining that makes it much warmer than you’d expect, plus it’s my favorite color. An indispensable piece of my wardrobe.
I realize some of you don’t have the patience and/or the inclination to go hunting for vintage clothing. And that’s fine (esp. since it means there’s more left for me), but you should still get yourself a varsity-style jacket — they’re warm, they look cool, and one of the best sources for them happens to be one of our advertisers.
Got any gift ideas?: I’ll soon be starting work on my annual holiday gift guide column for Page 2 and would like to include as wide a range of offerings as possible. If you know of good uni-related gift ideas — or if you’re offering some product or service yourself that you think might be appropriate — please let me know. Thanks.
Uni Watch News Ticker: Oregon State basketball will be wearing turquoise uniforms on Sunday, as part of a promotion celebrating Native American heritage. As gimmicks go, this one seems better than most, especially since Oregon State’s roster includes a Native American player who’s the first member of his tribe ever to earn a full scholarship to a D1 program. Further details here. … Double-decker FNOB alert: Russ Washington of the Chargers (with thanks to Eric Stangel). … Everything’s coming up orange in Denver, where Broncos coach Josh McDaniels says he likes the orange jerseys, sports columnist Dave Krieger is lobbying for a full-time switcheroo, and some fans have started a petition (with thanks to George Scordo). … Here’s the full uni set for the newly renamed Omaha Storm Chasers (with thanks to Patrick Runge). … New hoops uniforms for San Francisco and Seton Hall. … And a new gray alternate for St. Joe’s (with thanks to Joe Schmidt). … There’s a new Aussie-rules football team: the Great Western Sydney Giants (with thanks to Drew Douglas). … On Saturday I mentioned that Texas Tech wore red pants for what I believed was the first time. As Susan Freeman and several readers have pointed out, I was wrong about that. … St. Francis, a prep school in Buffalo, hasn’t taken the most creative approach to their football uniforms. … Yesterday I mentioned that photo of Cy Halladay on the cover of MLB 2K11 showed the Phillies’ chest insignia with red stars instead of blue. Cork Gaines was curious enough to contact the video game company about this, and he got a response. … How do you serve arrest warrants on people who won’t come out of their houses? If you’re in western Pennsylvania, you just drive up in a Steelers van (thanks, Kirsten). … New identity set for the New Hampshire Fishercats (with thanks to Richard Kennedy). … While looking for something else, I came across some wonderful vintage softball sleeve patches. Look here, here, here, and here. … And speaking of vintage softball gear, if you scroll down to the very bottom of this auction listing, you’ll see something very rare: vertically striped stirrups! … Several readers noted that Michael Vick began Monday night’s game wearing a visor but then removed it once the rain started. … Several good submissions from Jake Doyle: a look at the Winnipeg Jets’ rarely seen one-season inaugural uniform; the Red Wings’ odd diamond-shaped “A” designation from, I believe, the 1950s; and an old Keds ad for the ages (dig that arrow!). … You know, it’s vulgar enough that Nike uses military-style Humvees to promote their college football designs, but now they’re bringing this marketing approach to high schools. That shot was taken in the parking lot of St. Edward High in Lakewood, Ohio, yesterday morning. This isn’t your standard corporate douchebaggery — it’s marketing war to kids, and it’s disgusting.