Fall is sweatshirt weather and everyone has a favorite sweatshirt, but what really makes it your favorite? The fit? The fabric? The logo?
These days there are so many options for really cool (or warm as the case may be) sweatshirts. So I’d like to take a moment to break down some of those options and terms and give everyone a little Sweatshirt 101.
Firstly, millennials, they are called sweatshirts, not sweaters. If you call it a sweater, I’m going to think you mean a Knit cardigan or pullover, not fleece sweatshirt. Also, it’s not a “fleece”. A Fleece refers to the old term, Polar Fleece. When 100% polyester fleece first came into the market is was called Polar fleece to differentiate it from cotton-fleece.
A traditional sweatshirt is usually made up of some combination of cotton and polyester. A 50/50 blend is typically a lighter weight fabric, often 8-9 oz., and are what the average school uses. Styles with more cotton tend to feel a little heavier or stiffer than their poly-heavy counterparts. Most youth styles are a 50/50 blend, it will be hard to find a heavy cotton option. The average weight sweatshirt is about 9 oz. Ten ounces feels thick, 12 oz. is downright heavy. Hockey sweatshirts, and a lot of styles made specifically for hard working folks, are often 11-12 oz. weight. It is very rare to find something over a 14 oz. weight, if you do they are usually a brand geared for outdoor weather and durability. The basic cut or styles: Crew neck, Pullover hoody or Full-zip hoody aka. Zippy.
About 8 years ago Polyester became a cheaper fabric to produce and people were seeking “moisture-wicking” styles. The theory being that polyester pulls the moisture away from your body allowing it to evaporate, rather than cotton, which holds the moisture in the fabric. So the polyester style options exploded and now we have a new category Polyester fleece; which is made of 100% polyester.
No one makes a true 100% cotton sweatshirt. They all typically have a stretch knit collar, cuffs and waistband and therefore contain at least 10% polyester. Polyester holds color better too. So a bright neon or safety color will always have more polyester content.
Fabrics are trending on the lighter weight and softer side these days. The newer Triblends becoming main stream. A Triblend is combination of cotton, polyester and rayon, giving it extreme softness and fluidity.
All that being said, here’s a few of our favorites and our reasons why.
For a good, basic sweatshirt you can’t go wrong with Gildan. A tried and true brand, they are the standard that everyone is familiar with. They generally offer 8-9.3 oz. and 50/50 blends in the crew, hoody and zippy. I primarily recommend these for schools and anyone wanting a good quality, reasonably priced option. Available in a variety of colors and sizes.
My favorite cotton-heavy brand would be the Hanes Ultimate Cotton line.
Weighing in about 9.7 oz. with a 90/10 Cotton/poly blend.
This shirt is great for those wanting something a bit heavier and a bit nicer.
Crew neck, zippy and hoodies available in adult sizes. I sell these mostly to
businesses for corporate branding.
The popular trend in pullover hoodies for the last couple seasons is the Hockey hoody.
They are a pullover with a cris-crossed set of hockey laces at the neck.
Coming in on average of 10 oz. in an 80/20 cotton/poly blend they are built for use.
They have side panels with stretchy gussets for mobility, a warm 3 piece hood,
and they tend to be a bit over-sized for layering. They are great for sports teams
and primarily come in team colors. There are colored lace add-on options to
truly customize your team look. Ask about a tackle twill or applique’ logo.
Custom embroidery available.
Polyester fleece, honestly, is not my favorite fabric. Most people I show it too, don’t like the shininess, the propensity to snag or the overall “feel” of it. There are some nice color-blocking design options for teams, but honestly, I just don’t sell much of it. If you need polyester fleece options for the moisture-wicking benefit, there are some higher-end lines that do a much better job with the fabric finishing and technology and are worth the investment.
Then there are the trends…
Fabrics are softer and lighter weight. The fit and colors are retail inspired. Popular with the younger generation, these trends are not leaving any time soon. Terms like Triblend, Sponge-fleece, Performance Triblend and French Terry refer to softer fabrics that still give you the benefits of moisture-wicking,
but feel more breathable like cotton.
This Bella/Canvas Sponge Fleece hoody is so soft you just want to snuggle right into it. The fleecy lining has superior loft and fuzziness factor. It’s a unisex cut, not over-sized. Not too heavy, it’s a great layering piece under jackets.
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