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How to Choose a Men’s Sweatshirt + Our Favorites

How to Choose a Men’s Sweatshirt + Our Favorites

When it comes to the spectrum of garments, a men’s sweatshirt tends to be unassuming. We picture something classic, likely in heathered gray with a crewneck and lined with fleece or French terry for warmth.

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Yet, for men, the sweatshirt has moved far beyond its underwear and athletic origins, and today, luxury versions abound. They’re also a quintessential aspect of ‘90s logomania, now revived: Sufficient surface area turns them into the perfect canvas for this graphic addition.

TOP PICKS AT A GLANCE
  • A mix of premium cotton and lyocell
  • Super comfortable to wear
  • Lightweight
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  • Unique and interesting design
  • Classic
  • Good for casual events
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  • Suitable for everyday wear
  • Moisture-wicking Dri-FIT technology
  • Excellent material quality
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  • Subtle
  • Versatile
  • Made from French Terry cotton
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  • Simple yet impactful
  • Available in different bright colors
  • Perfect fit
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Table of Contents

If you’re thinking about revisiting the sweatshirt, here’s how you can get started. 

Origins of Men’s Sweatshirts

Sweatshirts in their current form were invented in the 1920s as a mid-layer type of undergarment. Football players quickly adopted the cotton construction known to wick away perspiration, as it offered more breathability compared to the era’s wool garments. 

Champion started manufacturing sweatshirts by the 1930s, opting to add a hood that offered protection from the elements.

Fernweh Editions Fern & Petals Candle

model wearing stylish sweatshirt

Into the 1950s, Ivy League students began sporting these garments not just for playing sports but for showing campus pride. Reflecting that today, logo-emblazoned sweatshirts are a staple of collegiate or Ivy League preppy style. 

While the 1960s and ‘70s gave it an effortless normcore makeover – transporting it into a tough-guy staple worn by Paul Newman and Steve McQueen – the ‘80s saw the hoodie diverge from the sweatshirt, preferred in urban subcultures for its ability to camouflage the wearer’s face.

For men and women, the sweatshirt soldiered on, turning into an athleisure staple and casual layering piece over the next few decades. 

What to Look for in a Men’s Sweatshirt

Sweatshirt design borrows from T-shirt attributes: generally, the simpler, the better, but it’s also easy to appear big and bulky. 

Traditional sweatshirts feature a long-sleeve form with ribbed cuffs and a similar hem.

model wearing cool sweatshirt

A crewneck, often with a stitched V-notch, goes around your neck. Initially, the notch helped with controlling sweat in this area, but today, the element adds reinforcement to prevent the elastic going around the neck from stretching out. 

Along with these basic elements:

  • Consider a men’s sweatshirt with raglan or baseball-style sleeves that allow for more natural movement.
  • Materials span traditional cotton and French terry to fully fleece, which tends to offer more warmth. 330g to 380g is standard for sweatshirt fabric. In between, a cotton-polyester blend produces that recognizable heathered appearance, while fleece lining holds onto more body heat. Luxury sweatshirts may incorporate cashmere for a softer feel. 
  • Pay attention to fit: Avoid a tight sensation around the collar, shoulders, and wrists, as this can feel restrictive, but avoid something too loose, as this will envelope your frame with shapeless material. As well, look for something that hits right at the hips. The upper seams, meanwhile, should align with your shoulder, and the sleeve should fit right into your armpits. 
  • Think about how it will layer with other garments. Based on the weather, sweatshirts are designed to be worn over T-shirts and base layers and, for more of an Ivy League look, over collared Oxfords. More for modern sensibilities, it’s relatively common to see a sweatshirt under a midweight denim jacket or bomber, as well as a heavier overcoat. 

Styles of Men’s Sweatshirts & Recommendations

Traditional Sweatshirt

This is the gray heathered jersey sweatshirt your mind immediately pictures. Maybe you associate it with gym class or some retro athletic vibes, but the garment merges a degree of performance with style.

Typically, this sweatshirt includes a crewneck and minimal additions – maybe a hood or a logo across the front – and therefore, they’re the most versatile for loungewear, active use, and preppy ensembles.

Purple Label Fleece Crewneck Sweatshirt

Purple Label Fleece Crewneck Sweatshirt

You can’t get any more traditional. This Purple Label sweatshirt keeps the silhouette standard and adaptable while elevating construction with smoother-feeling fleece and a mix of premium cotton and lyocell. 

Shop on Nordstrom.com


Burberry Logo Print Cotton Hoodie

Burberry Logo Print Cotton Hoodie

Certain purists will tell you a hoodie isn’t a sweatshirt. Wherever you stand, this garment enters the realm of luxury by virtue of its logo. 

Shop on Burberry.com


Hugo Boss Cotton Sweatshirt

Hugo Boss Relaxed-Fit Cotton Sweatshirt with Logo Patch

The off-white eggshell shade lightens up this staple, while French terry gives it a softer yet still traditional feel. Cotton for this style comes from Hugo Boss’s more sustainable, rain-fed initiative in Africa.

Fernweh Editions Candles

Shop on Hugoboss.com


Statement Sweatshirts

Statement sweatshirts began appearing in streetwear toward the middle of the 2010s. Now, you’ll find countless prints and graphics splashed across otherwise traditional construction. Although these sweatshirts can be worn as a layer, realize that they deliver a more impactful presence. 

Polo Ralph Lauren Tie-Dye Fleece Sweatshirt

Polo Ralph Lauren Tie-Dye Fleece Sweatshirt

Tie-dye is everywhere right now, and sweatshirts are no exception. This interpretation adds pastel vertical stripes to the traditional crewneck silhouette for a bright, multicolored appearance that offers a unique spin on preppy style. 

Shop on Zappos.com


Burberry Thomas Bear Print Cotton Sweatshirt

Burberry Thomas Bear Print Cotton Sweatshirt

We’ve seen a number of interpretations of Burberry’s check logo this season. This sweatshirt applies it to their teddy logo added to the front and back and given a three-dimensional effect. 

Shop on Nordstrom.com


Hugo Boss Mercerized-Cotton Hooded Sweatshirt with Logo Artwork

Hugo Boss Mercerized-Cotton Hooded Sweatshirt with Logo Artwork

Menswear is experiencing peak logomania at the moment. Take advantage of the trend with this Hugo Boss hoodie offering a ribbon-style interpretation and softer French terry construction, thanks to a mercerized finish. 

Shop on Hugoboss.com


Short-Sleeve Sweatshirts

We tend to associate short-sleeve sweatshirts with that training sequence in the first Rocky movie. Today, the design is a bit more sophisticated and fashion forward than cutoff sleeves.

Fernweh Editions Candles

Nike Dri-FIT Short-Sleeve Training Hoodie

Nike Dri-FIT Short-Sleeve Training Hoodie

Upgrade your training experience with style that’s suitable for everyday wear. Nike adds its moisture-wicking Dri-FIT technology to a short-sleeve sweatshirt made of lighter-weight jersey. 

Shop on Walmart.com


Burberry Monster Graphic Cotton and Lambskin Hoodie

Burberry Monster Graphic Cotton and Lambskin Hoodie

A muscle-tank silhouette sets the stage for a mix of cotton and lambskin designed to create a monochromatic contrast. 

Shop on Farfetch.com


Toddsnyder Sweatshirt

Todd Snyder Midweight Short Sleeve Sweatshirt in Treetop

Go back to basics with forest green-colored French terry featuring cuffed sleeves and a ribbed hem.

Shop on Toddsnyder.com


Collegiate Sweatshirts

The combination is recognizable enough: You spot a heathered or solid-colored crewneck sweatshirt with a school’s name or initials in angular block letters across the front. However, options beyond your alma matter abound.

RL Fleece Logo Hoodie

Polo Ralph Lauren The RL Fleece Logo Hoodie

The most direct reference strays from the familiar template with eye-popping pastel hues. 

Shop on Macys.com


Hugo Boss Logo Sweatshirt

Hugo Boss Logo Sweatshirt in French-Terry Cotton

Go for a more monochrome interpretation that offers a more subtle option for trying out logomania. 

Shop on Hugoboss.com


L.L. Bean Classic Crewneck Sweatshirt

L.L. Bean Classic Crewneck Sweatshirt

Consider this two levels of preppy style in a single garment: the originator of the duck boot with a design inspired by classic Ivy style. 

Shop on Llbean.com


Hoodies

Hoodies are divided into two basic types: The full-zip versions that function more like lightweight jackets, and pullovers based on a sweatshirt. The latter, which we’re highlighting here, uses that same heathered cotton bolstered with fleece combination and functions more as a layer over tees and long-sleeve shirts

RL Fleece Hoodie

Polo Ralph Lauren The RL Fleece Hoodie

Keep it simple yet impactful with this classic style standing out with a bright, solid-color hue.

Shop on Ralphlauren.com


Burberry Monster Graphic Cotton Hoodie

Burberry Monster Graphic Cotton Hoodie

A large graphic across the back shakes up this slightly oversized fully cotton hoodie. 

Shop on Burberry.com


HugoBoss French Terry Cotton Hooded Sweatshirt

Hugo Boss French Terry Cotton Hooded Sweatshirt

Adaptable, comfortable style gets paired with a saturated hue in this garment naturally designed for layering.

Shop on Hugoboss.com

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Man wearing a sweatshirt