Trends - Home Run Style

Baseball Jackets Making Way Into Ad Specialty Market

Baseball JacketBecause of their timeless look, baseball jackets are an ideal promotional canvas for showcasing clients' brands. "Traditionally, baseball jackets have been sold to teams, schools or sports-oriented companies," says Gina Barreca, director of marketing at Vantage Apparel (asi/93390). "Recently, however, there's been a trendier component as younger individuals are choosing these styles as fashion jacket options."

Barreca points out that baseball jackets can be found with zip or snap fronts. The most popular styles typically have banded bottoms and cuffs and are made from lighter- weight fabrics.

Mark Robinson, vice president of sales at Alternative Apparel (asi/34850), says the most popular baseball jackets are more form-fitting than their earlier, bulkier counterparts. "The trend is toward a slim-fitting take on the letterman silhouette, in solid dark colors," he explains. "Vintage-inspired styles continue to be popular, of course. The post-recession customer is looking for classics, but wants a twist."

Alternative offers a new baseball jacket made of soft Eco-Cashmere jersey. "The old-school varsity jacket was the inspiration for this new style," Robinson says, "but we updated the throwback classic with a very modern fabric, which lends itself to daily wear."

Robinson adds that baseball jackets are still popular with collegiate and sports programs, and have now surfaced in corporate branding efforts, as well.

Baseball jackets make a perfect promotional piece, not only because of their distinctive style that draws impressions, but also due to the number of appropriate decoration methods. "They look great with embroidery, screen printing and appliqué embellishment," says Barreca. "Most styles can accommodate left chest, full front and full back placements."

Robinson says rising expectations from buyers have helped drive the popularity of promotional baseball jackets. "Customers are moving away from inexpensive promotional apparel and looking for the same quality and brands that they buy at retail," he says. "They want apparel products that combine fit, feel and a branded story. These items ensure repeat wear and, in turn, provide increased promotional exposure."