There was a time, with balaclavas, loot bags, and black and white striped tops, where a hoodie was something that instantly marked you as a potential thief and a misstep.
But, with as much as this humble sportswear staple has the potential to send passers-by straight across the street, for now, we urge you to take style advice from David Cameron (you remember him? ?) And to tighten a hoodie.
Why? Well, on the practical side, thanks to a design redesign, the hoodie has gone from being the de facto uniform of angry teenagers to the item most likely to cover the backs of well-dressed men.
The lone loser here is Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg, whose normcore hoodie just became #menswear. Bad luck, Mark.
The history of the hoodie
Long before he found himself witnessing questionable transactions in dark alleys, the hoodie was the uniform of champions. OK, that’s a bit of a stretch, but athletic clothing company Champion Products claims to have created the world’s first hooded sweatshirt in the 1930s.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that – there you go – the hoodie was designed to keep athletes warm and dry in miserable weather. Since then it has been embraced by hip-hop culture, skateboarders, snowboarders, angry young adults, stag parties, college students, and (the reason we’re here) the piste.
The return of the hoodie
Even though fashion week is coming, many news outlets like to ridicule the most outrageous runway looks they can find, in truth most men’s clothing is born out of practicality. And that’s exactly what the hoodie offers: comfort, comfort and more comfort.
The return of the hoodie indicates that we are now at the peak of athletics. After successfully approaching high-end sportswear in its various forms, it was only a matter of time before menswear had its mittens on the almost century-old basis.
Everyone from newbies to hawking streetwear (Off-White, Vetements) to more established menswear heavy hitters (Balenciaga, Versace) have started offering high-end versions in their collections, which means that the he hoodie hysteria is about to continue for quite some time yet.
To get you started with the look early on, here are five expert-approved ways to wear yours.
How to wear the hoodie
As part of a layered look
As much as we tout the power of the hoodie, don’t think wearing it is about making a statement. When used as part of a layered look, the hoodie can be surprisingly modest.
Olie Arnold, Mr Porter’s Style Director, says: “A comfy cashmere hoodie is a great layering piece for a day on the town that will make you look great while keeping you warm at the same time.”
To achieve this look, wear a zip-up hoodie over a simple white crew-neck tee, then add an overcoat or jacket, skinny jeans and a cool pair of sneakers.
As part of an Athleisure look
Whenever comfort and cool go hand in hand, you can be sure we’ll be enthusiastic cheerleaders. This is the case with athleisure, and thanks to these smart menswear designers, you won’t run the risk of looking too lazy to change up your gym gear.
James Jee, Head of Menswear at Jaeger, says: “The days of the loose, oversized logo hoodie are over. The fabrics are softer and heavier – a sign of better yarn quality and more. The fit is a bit sharper and sharper. “
To work out, pair a black hoodie with tailored black sweatpants and slip on a pair of minimalist leather sneakers. Made.
Under a leather jacket
If you’re not sold by the high-low mix (it’s not for everyone) then you can stick to more familiar territory. A leather jacket and hoodie combination is one of those low octane combinations that work well season after season.
Alex Field, Menswear Design Manager at Reiss: “Hoodies have improved dramatically in terms of quality and fit. Therefore, men are looking to invest in well-fitting and well-made casual styles that can be worn in various situations. Whether at the gym or as part of a stylish casual look. “
Using a black leather jacket and black or indigo jeans as a base, experiment with hoodies in different colors under your outerwear and pair them with a pair of leather or suede Chelsea boots to elevate this look.
If you wear a hoodie with a suit or blazer, you channel a ‘look’ and instantly stand out as a cardholder member of the Menswear Club. That’s no reason not to give this high-low combination a whirl.
As Giles Farnham, Director of Style Studio at River Island points out: “Of course, a hoodie paired with straight jeans and sneakers is a proven combination that works perfectly. But if you’re looking to sharpen up, try layering under an unstructured suit for an outfit that rocks the traditional rulebook. “
To create the sport-meet-suit look, try a mid-weight gray hoodie with a charcoal gray suit and choose white lace-up sneakers in place of your normal work shoes.
With tailored pants
For a slightly less engaged way of mixing chic and casual, a hoodie worn with chic pants is your best bet. Again, this is an easy way to avoid this dreaded, overgrown adolescent territory.
Nick Eley, Men’s Clothing Design Manager at ASOS, says: “We’re seeing a real shift towards ‘high-low’ dressing, so pair your hoodie with loose pants or a longer formal coat. “
Achieve this look by opting for a neutral colored hoodie, then add some sporty luxury pants and sneakers. If you’re feeling brave, try a small pattern on the bottom half, like stripes or checks.
General Hoodie Guidelines
- Don’t destroy your old Linkin Park hoodie. You’re not a distressed teenager and it’s not the 2000s anymore.
- Look for pure cotton models for the best quality and longevity (bonus points for brushed cotton and loop construction).
- Sweater models generally seem smarter than zip-up models.
- Don’t look for the latest must-have hoodie if you want to get the most out of it. Instead, opt for a timeless and versatile design in a color that complements your existing wardrobe.
- A fitted hoodie is a good way to make sure you look neat rather than sloppy.
- If in doubt, leave the logo. Spots or mottled weaves are a good way to add interest.
- Unless you are on campus, college hoodies are prohibited.
- Custom comedy hoodies are always a failure.
- Over 40? A hoodie in a luxe fabric worn with tailored pieces will make sure you look grown-up.
If you’ve got too many months to spare, Main Street has plenty of decent entry-level options. Topman offers reasonably priced hoodies in virtually every shade in the sun, as does Swedish mega-chain H&M with its sporty LOGG line.
For something more streamlined for the gym, Uniqlo should be your first port of call. Looking to make more statement? Head straight to online giant ASOS, where you’ll find oversized and long options that are great for reverse layering.
Elsewhere, styles created by Spanish quick-fashion kings Zara run the gamut, from simple everyday throws to designer label ‘homages’, with cutout sections and on-trend prints.
As of right, streetwear hoodies must prioritize quality (heavyweight, pure cotton is a minimum) and performance over design. Despite this, among streetwear circles, the logo is everything.
The hoodies from skateboard brand Palace are great (if you can get your hands on some) for those who want to look casual, while higher up the chain you’ll find Tokyo-based BAPE and the cult New York company. Supreme, both of which offer oversized streetwear hoodies with distinctly non-streetwear price tags.
Of course, if you want the best, go to the Olympics. Champion’s Reverse Weave line, with its classic handwritten logo, has been to hoodies what Levi’s has been to denim for almost 90 years. Subsequently, the American firm inspired many other big names in the sector, including Carhartt, Stüssy and even Vetements.
High-end hoodies are ideal for pairing with smarter pieces and often come in fabrics like lambswool, cashmere, and premium cotton for an addicting outfit.
Bond’s favorite brand Sunspel is our tip for solid loop construction, while UK brand Derek Rose and Italian company Brioni are worth exploring if you’re looking for timeless designs in ultra-luxurious materials.
With over 200 years of knitwear production experience, it’s no wonder that Derbyshire-based John Smedley’s simple merino wool zip-ups are some of the best on the market. Although more surprising are Suitsupply’s 100% cashmere deals, which cost less than £ 150.
Having made a name for themselves in sportswear, collections from designers like John Elliot, Alexander Wang, and Neil Barrett are also rarely without an elevated take on loungewear essentials.
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