Now an indispensable part of any Harvard student’s wardrobe, the Harvard H sweater is known for its simplistic, vintage look. The H sweater is beloved because it succinctly, through one simple letter, conveys exactly which Ivy League school you attend. Usually made of cotton or wool, the H sweater is great for East Coast winters and pairs nicely with other preppy articles of clothing, such as a button up underneath or khakis.
Historically, the H sweater (and in fact the concept of the varsity letter) dates back to the 1865 Harvard baseball team. With the advent of sports, teams needed identifying uniforms and letters became the obvious choice to embroider jerseys. Letter jerseys became desirable, as team captains would choose to only permit players who played in important games to keep their letter jerseys. Thus, the concept of the varsity letter became a symbol of status.
Now the H sweater is a commodity, sold at nearly every retail location in and around Harvard Square. However, it still hasn’t lost the aura of prestige and elitism that it has garnered with over a hundred years of use.