Saint Laurent’s Teddy jacket is former creator director Hedi Slimane’s take on the original varsity jacket. Varsity jackets date back to 1865 at Harvard University’s baseball team. Since then, athletic teams have painted their colors and logos on these style of jackets. Towards the end of the 20th century, varsity jackets were loved by High School jocks in the nostalgic coming of age films. Mainstream media rocketed their reputation as jackets for sports and athletics. By then, varsity jackets have evolved to feature contrasting horizontal stripes in elastic areas such as the waistband and cuffs and adorned a sewed-on team patch.
The Teddy differentiates itself from the rest of the market by bringing in a more refined and upscale feel. The colors are simple and consist of three main sections: The outer shell, the leather strips, and elastic areas. The Teddy comes in many colorways but they typically maintain simple color schemes.
The Teddy made its first appearance 2013 as part of Saint Laurent’s F/W collection. Since then, each season comes with a slightly different jacket. Most seasons have a thicker weave of wool. Certain seasons are gabardine–still wool but are much thinner making them suitable for warmer days and nights. Year of release also matters because the earlier Teddies were more slim-fitting. I have both the thick wool and gabardine jackets today to draw my comparisons.
Here is the 2017 F/W black teddy jacket. It is thick and heavy. The inside is lined with silk that is cool and smooth to the skin. The white leather strips on each shoulder are very eye-catching and are what really discern this jacket from the rest. The stripes are made from soft lambskin. Though, you do somewhat notice the slight rigidity of the stripes during wear because they kind of act like shoulder padding.
This is the Navy teddy jacket from 2015. The wool is clearly much thinner indicated by the wrinkles and contours of the jacket. The lighter material is pretty nice because one could wear this jacket throughout spring to the fall and inside as a casual jacket, whereas the thicker weave is definitely too heavy for warm days. As for sizing, this jacket fits a whole size smaller than the other. This may be due to the year of release or the weave of the wool.
As noted, the later jackets tend to fit a little bigger. It’s best to go in-store to try them on and figure out your size. If you really can’t determine your size, then go with your normal shirt size. 46 = s, 48 = m, 50 = L, etc
This is undoubtably one of Saint Laurent’s most popular items. They continue to push the jacket out with every seasonal release showing that there must be sales to continue selling this jacket. If you search #saintlaurent or #saintlaurentparis on Insta, you’ll inevitably find an abundance of people showing off their teddy jacket. That raises the question: is the Teddy too popular? I think this jacket is overrepresented online, but if you go outside to even the most fashionable cities, you’ll rarely see this in person. So you have to look at what you want to get out of this jacket and your audience. If you just want to show off to people in real life, they’ll definitely think it’s a nice jacket, but will never associate it with being expensive. If you’re trying to show off online, there is a small, but very vocal minority of people who will instinctively recognize this jacket, and the majority of people will online who will see it as an expensive Saint Laurent jacket. If you’re posting to the Saint Laurent Buy/Sell/Trade group, it’s just going to be another Teddy jacket.
The jacket is a beautifully simple piece of clothing, but the retail price is is insanely high. You can get this jacket on sale for about half of retail and even less second-hand. The Teddy is an easy addition to anybody’s closet as it is very simple in design and comes in many colorways. Is it worth the price, new or secondhand? I think that like any other purchase, you have to look at what you want to get out of this jacket. On balance, this jacket to me is very cool looking, has significance behind its design, and holds its value well (if you don’t pay retail), so it’s a good buy.