The hoodie was championed in the early 1930s in the US and advertised to those who laboured in freezing conditions. It wasn’t even until the 90s that it was termed a ‘hoodie’ and began to blow up. Since then, it has slowly and surely worked its way into being a wardrobe essential for any bloke.
The issue, as with most items of clothing, is finding the right one. After all, we don’t all want to look like we’ve just left the skatepark. To help out, we’ve drafted this simple buying guide that will chaperone you through the different characteristics of this everyday garment. We’ll also share our favourites from John Lewis, ASOS and Amazon, which include both designer and budget options over and under £50.
Melissa Melles is a Wardrobe Concierge based in Manchester, helping both women and men find their style and have confidence in what they wear by organising their wardrobes. With 10 years industry experience, Melissa's clients trust her expert opinion when it comes to style advice. Her experience spans from TV, music and editorial styling, to working in Paris showrooms, to personal shopping in luxury department stores and more.
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Melissa Melles is a Wardrobe Concierge based in Manchester, helping both women and men find their style and have confidence in what they wear by organising their wardrobes.
With 10 years of industry experience, Melissa's clients trust her expert opinion when it comes to style advice. Her experience spans from TV, music and editorial styling to working in Paris showrooms, to personal shopping in luxury department stores and more. Find out more about Melissa via her Instagram or head over to her website.
The zip-up style is often considered the slightly more sophisticated version of the hoodie and is perfect for blokes who don’t want to mess up their barnet. They're a little bit more versatile too, as they tend to be made from lighter fabric and can be worn in warmer weather either open or closed.
The downside is that they aren't usually as warm, so you will need to layer up in the winter months with another jacket. Plus, with the pocket in the front being split in two by the zipper, they're not regarded as the cosiest of options. Also, while it may not be of major importance initially, you’ll have to watch for the zipper wearing out after repeated wear and washing.
For a warmer option to layer up in cold weather, try our best fleece jackets for men!
Zip-up hoodies can be a smarter option. Many brands do merino wool and cashmere zip-up hoodies; these are really cool worn under a blazer over a t-shirt for a layered casual look. Zip jersey hoodies also can give a chicer look as opposed to the traditional hoodie.
A pullover hoodie is certainly the more casual option. They are often the more comfortable of the two styles too, due to the fact they tend to use heavier materials and don’t have a zipper to contend with. With the pockets across the front and large in size, they can easily fit both your hands in – the only downside is they’re not very good for storing valuables as they don’t tend to have closures.
The issue with pullovers, however, is they are more laborious to get in and out off, which may leave you needing to restyle your hair or detangle yourself from your headphones, or worse, exposing the gut if taking it on and off in public. Plus, they don’t give you as much versatility fashion-wise, as once you’re wearing one, it will likely be the dominant layer that people see.
If you prefer the feel of a pullover, you might like some of our best jumpers for men!
It can be nice to wear a hoodie as a statement piece, for example, a printed or graphic one or bright colour; this can sit well under a biker jacket or a blazer for a cool smart/casual look. Although it can be a struggle to pull on and off, it is a super comfortable piece that everyone should own once they're on!
When it comes to the material, there are a few usual suspects to decide between. The first is soft and cosy cotton – the ultimate choice for a garment designed for comfort. However, 100% cotton hoodies (as with sweatpants and other items) are becoming increasingly less common, and you’re more likely to see a cotton-poly blend.
This leads us into the other main material you'll come across: polyester. Poly is not quite as snug as cotton but it does have some great qualities nonetheless, such as its durability, its ability to dry quickly, and its wrinkle-resistance. These make it a solid choice to blend with cotton because you'll get the best of both worlds.
The only time we would recommend opting for a 100% polyester hoodie is if you’re looking for one that you can wear while exercising. As well as the above qualities, the garment will be able to stand up to more frequent washing (which it will need post-workout!), so it'll last much longer.
For more options for your wardrobe, check out our best flannel shirts for men!
Cashmere and wool fine knit hoodies are great for travelling as they're super lightweight but keep you nice and warm; they give a nice luxury feel to the usual casual look. Poly hoodies are for running and exercising. My favourite kind, though, is a cotton or poly-cotton blend for ultimate comfort.
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Small Logo Hoodie
A Comfortable 100% Cotton Garment From the Originators of the Hoodie
Standard Zip Hoodie
A Sleek and Stylish Staple with an Organic Material Blend
100% Polyester Hoodie From Sports Giants, Perfect for Outdoor Winter Athletics
Fruit of the Loom
Classic Hooded Sweatshirt｜Charcoal
A Reliable and Popular Choice That’s Cheap and Cheerful
Get the Classic American Casual Look With This Durable Zip-up Option
Embrace 90s Nostalgia With This Casual Hoodie From an Iconic Sports Brand
Area 33 colour block hoodie
Create a Retro Look With this Tricolour Statement Piece
Rival Fleece Full Zip Training Hoodie
Super-Comfy, Stretchy and Perfect for Athletes With Its 4-Way Material
Oversized Faux Fur Hoodie
Faux Fur Hoodie With Elasticated Trims and Half Zip to Keep Out the Cold
A Colourful Pullover Made From a Cotton-Rich Blend
In the same breath as we mention Levis with denim, Baracutta with the Harrington Jacket and Clarks with the Desert boot, Champion are synonymous with the hoodie. After all, it was these guys that invented the now noteworthy piece of apparel all those years ago, albeit under another name.
This is one of their latest offerings, and you can see that they've not lost their flair. It's 100% cotton, so it's guaranteed to be supremely comfortable, and it has a deep hood for the chillier winter days and stylish contrasting drawstrings which add a bit of character to the design. On top of that, there are elasticated hems and a large pouch pocket, all in a relaxed fit which is perfect for lounging.
This staple grey hoodie by Scandinavian brand Weekday is 95% organic cotton, so it's a great option for those looking to improve their wardrobe without impending on the environment.
The simple design makes it a great addition to any wardrobe, as it will fit in well with whatever style you are trying to curate. It may not be the best option for those who are looking for an exiting new garment, but if you're after some extra layers for the colder seasons, you can't beat Weekday at this price!
Made with performance in mind, this 100% polyester offering from Adidas is the perfect accompaniment to a winter afternoon run thanks to its moisture-absorbing fabric. The design comes in a subtle-yet-interesting 'legacy' green colourway with accents of white for the stripes on the sleeves.
While it is mainly focused on its ability as workout wear, this hoodie will also be a wardrobe staple for those who like to keep themselves looking sporty when they're out of the gym too – just pair with your favourite joggers for the classic P.E. look.
If you're looking for reliable hoodie without the high end price, then this classic from Fruit of the Loom is going to be perfect for you. The material is made up of a similar blend to many other contemporaries, and it's even available in 12 different colours.
You've probably worn this brand without knowing it, as they're best known for wholesale products, and often other brands will buy from them without the label before stitching their own in the back. So while it might seem like a bit of a gamble, we'll bet they will feel familiar on arrival.
This is the staple hoodie from prep pioneers Ralph Lauren, and frankly, it's American casual wear at its best. While it might not be the softest of hoodies around, the company opt for a slightly more durable combination thanks to their inclusion of a higher ratio of polyester. And while it may cost you a bit more, it should last a long time.
It has a full-frontal zip fastening as well as a drawstring hood and a split pouch pocket, so it's practical as well as smart. Whether you're looking to pair it with joggers in the house or jeans and trainers around town, it's sure to look just as good wherever you decide to wear it.
Probably one of the most iconic sports brands of all time, Nike have produced their fair share of hoodies over the past three decades or so. It's interesting then, how recently they have returned to producing garments, like this hoodie, with the swoosh and classic 90s typography. We don't know why they've returned to this, but we have to say we're here for it.
This hoodie uses an 80/20 blend of cotton to polyester, which means you get the best of both worlds in terms of comfort and durability. However, if you're looking to stand out from the crowd, this popular brand may not be your best option.
This offering from adidas is easily a crowd-pleaser. The bold hoodie is made from medium-weight 100 % cotton material, making it great for layering up in colder months.
It features a drawstring hood and ribbed cuffs and hems. Although, if you're looking for a versatile staple in in your winter wardrobe, this tricolor hoodie might not be the one for you, as it's not guaranteed to match everything.
This sports-influenced offering from Under Armour has a lot of nifty features going for it. For starters, its loose cut and ribbed trims make it super comfy, and the 4-way stretch material allows for complete manoeuvrability.
Whether you're looking for a garment to wear on rest days or just something to complete the athletic look, this is going to be there for you. However, whilst it's marketed as a sports jacket, and we're sure it would do a decent job, the cotton blend is not ideal for this situation. We'd recommend looking for 100% polyester apparel for this instead.
Ever wanted to know what it's like to wear a blanket outside? Well, with this hoodie, ASOS get you as close as you can be. The hoodie has a front pouch pocket, elasticated trims to keep the warmth inside, and a fixed hood for that extra added comfort.
As a pullover, this garment offers maximum comfort. Our only concern is that it may be difficult to wear with another layer, which could be a problem if you find yourself caught in heavy rain.
This garment is constructed of an 80% cotton, 20% polyester blend, so it's great for keeping warm in the winter but could also be used as a light single layer during the changing seasons!
The multicoloured patchwork design is a perfect statement look, and can be used to curate a striking outfit with minimal effort! The only reason it hasn't ranked higher is that it may be an acquired taste, and won't fit everyone's taste.
Written and researched by Lewis Clark
No. 1: Champion｜Small Logo Hoodie
No. 2: Weekday｜Standard Zip Hoodie
No. 3: Adidas｜AEROREADY Hoodie
No. 4: Fruit of the Loom ｜Classic Hooded Sweatshirt｜Charcoal
No. 5: Ralph Lauren｜Full-Zip Hoodie
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