The hoodie is a pillar of the casual wardrobe. It has transcended its roots as a sportswear staple and is an essential garment regardless of social class or aesthetic taste. Though the design hasn’t changed much over the years, brands are offering versions of the hoodie in a range of quality fabrics unfound in previous decades.
Still comfortable and durable, these sweatshirts show the depth of materials available in French terry, fleece-back and double-face constructions. Whether you’re a fan of pullover or zip-up styles, quality fabric is what makes the garment. Explore the range of options below and invest in a hoodie worth wearing for years.
Best Overall HoodieFlint and Tinder 10-Year Pullover Read More
Best Upgrade HoodieKnickerbocker Hoodie Read More
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Outerknown Sur Snap Hoodie Read More
Terms to Know
Sometimes referred to as loopback cotton, this fabric is warp knitted with a flat face and loops on the underside, which serve the same purpose as the loops on a towel: to absorb moisture and sweat. Most commonly offered in 100 percent cotton, French terry can also include added elastane for stretch.
To create fleece-back fabrics, the underside of a knitted fabric is brushed with sandpaper or wire brushes until the yarn becomes soft and fleecy. This technique can be applied to a large range of knitted cotton fabrics and is utilized for its velvety hand feel.
This material is made up of two interlocking knitted fabrics. A double-knitted jersey, for example, is made up of two single jerseys knitted together so that both the underside and outside of the fabric are flat. Domestically, the Northwestern Knitting Co. has a proprietary knitted fabric made of two distinct layers, while internationally, brands like Norse Projects utilize this material.
Contrary to cotton, jersey is not a fabric but rather a type of knit. This knit offers stretch and shape retention without the employment of additional material or synthetic fibers.
This is a technique invented in 1938 that calls for heavy-duty cotton cut on the cross-grain to prevent shrinkage. Rather than stitching the sweatshirt vertically, Champion, the originators, did so horizontally and with side panels to nearly eliminate the possibility altogether.
This is the front pocket found on most hoodies. They typically have two points of entry on either side.
What to Look for
"Hoodies are about attachment," American Trench designer (and hoodie collector) Phat Phu says. "They're almost as important as a T-shirt. Everyone needs at least one hoodie that’s personal to them, something they wear all the time, something uniform."
As for what to look for, he identifies four prerequisites: "Warmth, fit, hood size, design — these are variables we all weigh when making a purchase," he says. "For a T-shirt, the design can be okay, or the fit could be meh, or it can be less-than-comfortable. But at a lower price point, and for a brand you enjoy, you'll make it happen. Hoodies are a bigger investment. They need to check off all the boxes. They need to be balanced."
How to Style a Hoodie
"I've never felt guilty about wearing a hoodie, in any setting," Phu says. But he agrees that it "depends on how you wear it." That being said, hoodies are generally more acceptable than ever. "I think almost every brand has a hoodie for sale now. So, yes, they’re more acceptable," he adds.
As for his boss, American Trench owner Jacob Hurwitz, he doesn't like wearing hoodies in formal settings. "When I am going to a nice restaurant, I want to wear tailored clothing," he explains. "I want to wear a blazer. But that doesn't mean I have to abandon comfortable knits — [the] hoodie's cousin, the crewneck, can look great in a setting like that."