A letterman jacket or varsity jacket is an important outfit that you should always keep in good condition. However, letterman jackets require some special extra care—unlike most of the outfits in your wardrobe. To start with, your letterman jacket will come with special instructions on how to take care of it—depending on its material. These instructions should help you to get started.
With that, let’s look at the 5 important rules to follow when taking care of your letterman jacket.
Inspect your jacket
This is the first step towards making sure that your jacket is in a good condition. Inspecting your letterman jacket regularly helps you to know whether your varsity jacket requires special attention. As your letterman jacket ages, the materials can become brittle—but this will depend on how you store your jacket.
Just like photographs and paper, leather and fabrics (which are the main materials of letterman jackets) can fade and deteriorate—thank the constant exposure to sunlight. Besides, your letterman jacket is susceptible to damage at the fold lines and seams. If you tend to hand your jacket on a hanger frequently, the shoulder seams can become loose. And, if you keep your jacket folded for a long time, there is a possibility of cracking or discoloration of the material at the folds. Therefore, you should watch out for such signs of damage when inspecting your letterman jacket.
Clean your jacket
Unlike the other outfits in your closet, letterman jackets require specialized cleaning. First, you should never wash your jacket as you would your normal clothes. Besides, you should avoid using a leather conditioner when cleaning your jacket.
The following are important tips to follow when cleaning your varsity jacket:
Cleaning a leather or vinyl letterman jacket
- Use a mild water and soap solution to spot clean the jacket – if the fabric is dirty, dab it down using mild water and soap solution. Dip a clean cloth in the solution, squeeze the excess water out, and dab the cloth on the letterman jacket. Avoid rubbing the jacket, as you risk leaving ugly marks. All you need to do is to dab to avoid getting excess water on the varsity jacket. You can hang your jacket to dry after cleaning it.
- Use alcohol to clean small stains – in case you have small stains, like pen marks on your jacket, use alcohol to clean them. You can use a cotton swab or cloth to apply the alcohol. Once done, use a hairdryer to dry the jacket—make sure the dryer is in a low-heat setting.
- Wet your jacket to get rid of water stains – in case water dries on one area of your jacket, there’s a chance that your jacket will have a stain. You should dry your jacket as a whole to get rid of the stain. Thus, you should dampen the whole jacket, and then hang it to dry.
- Remove oil stains using cornstarch – this ensures that your vinyl/leather jacket doesn’t absorb the oil stains. So, you should sprinkle some cornstarch as soon as you notice the spill. Allow it to sit for around 5 minutes before removing it. Also, you can use the cornstarch on old oil stains—but you will need to rub it with your fingers to remove the oil.
Removing stains on wool letterman jackets
- Start by absorbing the spill – when liquid spills on your wool letterman jacket, try to absorb most of the liquid with a clean cloth first. Continue dabbing the jacket until you remove most of the liquid.
- Remove oil-based stains with mineral spirits – in case your jacket gets grease, sauce, or oil stains, use a butter knife first to remove the grease. Then, blot the stains using mineral spirits and a lint-free cloth.
- Remove black coffee stains using a vinegar and alcohol solution – in case your letterman jacket gets coffee stains, dip a lint-free cloth in an alcohol and vinegar (white) solution, and then dab the stain using the cloth to moisten it. Then, press a clean cloth against the stain to remove it. This method also applies to white chocolate, tea, or coffee spills too.
Storing your letterman jacket
Never store your letterman jacket in the basement, garage, or attic area. Rather, you should keep it in a dark closet, with good ventilation. You can either hang your jacket or store it in a drawer (with a clean cotton sheet padding) or a large storage box. Use acid-free tissue to pad the sleeves, and arrange them in a manner that prevents folds and creases. Always inspect your jacket regularly to check for the signs of damage indicated above.
Ironing your letterman jacket
Whenever possible, avoid ironing your letterman jackets by VarsityBase. When you take it out of storage, allow it to hang for some time. And if it still has creases and wrinkles, remove them with an iron on a cool setting. When ironing the jacket, place it on a clean, flat surface (preferably ironing board). Next, place a pillowcase or sheet over the jacket before you start the ironing process. If possible, use steam iron for the best results.
Hanging your jacket
Always use broad and sturdy wooden or plastic hangers when hanging your varsity jacket. Such hangers ensure that the jacket’s weight doesn’t stretch and shoulder areas. Besides, you should avoid hanging your jacket in tight areas; otherwise, it will become crumpled.