It’s difficult to think of any one item of clothing that has had quite as colourful a history as the humble hoodie.
Over the past century, this sportswear staple has gone from playing field to runway, stopping off at every conceivable urban subculture along the way. It’s been name-checked by prime ministers, designers and screeching Daily Mail editorials, and has even been banned in some parts of the western world for brief periods of time, all thanks to its street associations.
Today, the hoodie is enjoying a golden era of acceptance. Just as with Elvis, denim jeans, electronic music and all other aspects of youth culture that initially made grown-ups nervous, everyone has now calmed down and said a collective, “You know what? Maybe a sweatshirt with a hood on the back isn’t inherently evil after all.”
About time too, because the hoodie truly is a wonder garment. It’s functional, comfortable and stylish in equal measures. And now, thanks to fashion’s ongoing steamy love affair with streetwear, it’s also bang on trend.
“The hoodie epitomises streetwear,” says fashion designer Gordon Richardson, former creative director of Topman. “What began as a trend in the 1990s has developed into a global phenomenon because of its versatility and comfort.”
There aren’t many items of menswear that work for a hungover afternoon of Netflix, streetwear stunting, a hobble back home from the gym and an athleisure-ly stroll around the city. But the hoodie has you covered for all of them, and even smarter outfits, too.
“As the hoodie has become a wardrobe staple, big brands are listening to their market. Guys aren’t afraid to splash the cash on designer sportswear now, and mixing track tops or joggers with tailoring has become a trend in recent years,” says Richardson.
With all of that in mind, here are the best places to hug a hoodie right now.
For the past 17 years, online fashion retail giant ASOS has been keeping our wardrobes up to date and our wallets happy with its huge, ever-rotating selection of clothes, footwear and accessories.
The retailer’s in-house brand has a reputation for affordable prices and up-to-the-minute styles. Hoodies are one of its staple items, so you can expect trend-led designs, low prices and unbeatable variety.
It may only have been on the scene for 10 years, but already COS is one of the coolest names on the high street. With tightly-curated seasonal selections, containing all killer and no filler, COS has been instrumental in bringing that clean, Scandinavian aesthetic to the everyday consumer.
Timeless yet contemporary designs, premium quality and zero obnoxious branding all come as standard when you pick up a hoodie from here.
Heritage American sportswear label Champion has been doing the hoodie thing for longer than pretty much anyone else. It’s produced kits for the NFL, the NBA and the US Olympic basketball team. In a crowded market, this is an undisputed MVP brand.
Champion is well-known for its patented ‘reverse-weave’ cotton, which uses unique fabric construction and panelled side inserts to eliminate the risk of shrinkage. Needless to say, its hoodies are some of the best around.
The hoodie is a classic piece of streetwear, so where better to buy one than from a classic streetwear label? Stussy is one of the oldest names in the game and widely credited with starting the scene pretty much single-handedly.
The hoodie is one of Shawn Stussy’s eponymous brand’s staple items, appearing season after season since day one. Expect bold branding, contemporary styling and street cred in abundance.
At the high end of the high street, Reiss sets itself apart from its neighbouring stores with superior construction and premium price points. The retailer is also well known for its sleek, fuss-free styling and use of quality materials.
When it comes to hoodies, it’s more of the same. Shopping here, you’ll find a refined selection of premium leisurewear that manages to straddle the line between timeless and trendy.
Thanks in no small part to its lightning quick supply chain, Zara is one of the global high street’s leading names when it comes to hard, fast fashion. Providing an enormous array of seasonal clothing styles and with its finger firmly on the pulse, this is the perfect spot to get cutting-edge fashion at reasonable prices.
Shop here for trend-focused hoodies you won’t need to sell any organs to afford.
Japanese menswear’s undying obsession with all things vintage Americana, utilitarian and workwear is encapsulated perfectly in the output of Beams Plus. The label is the men’s fashion arm of the sprawling Beams franchise and has been kitting out clued-up shoppers since 1999.
Expect to find a mix of plain and patterned styles, rendered in high-quality fabrics, and with premium Japanese construction.
Good old reliable Topman is one of the most trusted names in menswear. It doesn’t matter what your style is or what you’re into, you’ll be able to pick a full wardrobe out in there, no bother.
Classic, plain hoodies are one of the retailer’s key items and always come back season after season in one form or another. For a huge selection and unbeatable value for money, Topman is your one-stop-shop.
American heritage workwear label Carhartt has a long-standing reputation for wearability and ruggedness, but in recent years, especially with the introduction of its ‘Work In Progress’ line, it’s become known for its streetwear styling too.
Those combined factors make it one of the best options for finding a hoodie as hard-wearing as it is stylish. For workwear meets urban cool, nowhere does it better.
Comme des Garcons
Rei Kawakubo’s Comme des Garcons has long been known in fashion circles for its forward-thinking approach to design and cutting-edge seasonal collections that push the boundaries of fashion. The label’s PLAY line blends these trademark traits with street-friendly styling.
A hoodie from CDG PLAY won’t come cheap, but it’s a timeless piece from an industry-leading label, featuring that now-iconic bug-eyed heart branding.
The North Face
Founded in Berkeley, California, in 1968, The North Face quickly became one of the most reputable outdoor brands on the market. In addition to manufacturing industry-standard mountaineering gear, the brand churns out some top notch casualwear, and its hoodies are no exception.
Buy from The North Face and you can rest assured of quality, style and finishing touches such as printed logos and woven branded tabs.
Originally set up as a contractor for the United States armed forces, Alpha Industries quickly grew into one of the biggest commercial manufacturers of military-style clothing and is known the world over for game-changing silhouettes such as the MA-1 bomber jacket.
But it’s not just outerwear Alpha Industries makes to exacting standards – the brand’s range of casual clothing now includes hoodies, sweatpants and much more.
Swedish fast-fashion juggernaut H&M is one of the most recognisable names of the high street and can be credited with bringing simple, Scandinavian styling to the mass market. The brand is well known for it’s affordable basics and one piece that crops up over and over again, in various fabrics, patterns and all colours of the rainbow, is the hoodie.
If you’re watching your spending and want to get the most bang for your hard-earned buck, this is definitely the place to go.