Photo: Mark Kauffman/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty
Sweatshirts have far surpassed their reputation as a shvitz-soaked garment for working out — though there are plenty of technical options out there, should you choose to do so — becoming as much of a staple for work and hanging out as a standard knit sweater. They’re especially practical for layering in the early fall, when it’s not quite cold enough to put on your heaviest turtleneck, but when you still want something to throw on over a T-shirt or Oxford shirt. To find the best sweatshirts for any kind of guy, we talked to various sweatshirt wearers and found a slew of options, from affordable to luxurious to ones you’d wear on the weekend or even (yes) to work up a sweat.
A.P.C. Relaxed Fit Crewneck Sweatshirt
Sometimes, even the most subtle embellishment or logo makes a garment less versatile. Thankfully, there are plenty of simple, unadorned crewneck sweatshirts out there, like this A.P.C. number, which was recommended by Omar Sosa, co-founder and creative director of Apartamento magazine. “I’m very specific with how big the neck is, and if the neck is too loose or if it’s too tight and becomes uncomfortable,” he says. “I have an A.P.C. one that I like a lot that shows just the right amount of neck.” Sosa says that his favorite A.P.C. sweatshirt is very heavy and has a very warm fleece lining. “What I like about the A.P.C. is that it really hugs you,” he says. “It’s what I wear if I’m going to be on a plane for more than three hours.” The sweatshirt hits the sweet spot between comfy and presentable, too. “It’s super cozy and it’s the only one that my wife says doesn’t look like I’m going to the gym,” he says. “It’s great for when you want to be comfortable and don’t have to think about what you’re wearing.”
Best Made The Standard Crewneck Sweatshirt
“I love this Best Made Standard crewneck sweatshirt,” says David Shaftel, editor and co-founder of Racquet magazine. “Feels like your dad wore it for the duration of the ’70s then you pulled it out of the attic and it’s still perfect.” Crucially, Shaftel notes, it doesn’t bunch up around the waist and it isn’t too bulky. “Just right,” he says.
J.Crew French Terry Crewneck Sweatshirt
“This sweatshirt is pretty hard to not wear constantly,” says orthodontist Justin Maccaro. He told us that this crewneck stands out from baggier, bulkier sweatshirts for its “slightly slimmer, tailored cut.” The French terry is so soft, according to Maccaro, that it “might as well be made of kitten fur and cotton balls; it is so soft and fluffy.”
Todd Snyder x Champion Fleece Pocket Sweatshirt Navy
“I love a good sweatshirt, but this is my favorite for its cool vintage feel with the pocket and the V-stitch under the collar,” says Joseph Suchodolski, head of global communications at Allen Edmonds. “The fabric also only gets better and better with age.” Suchodolski is a fan of the white sweatshirt from the collaboration — more on that below — as well as the navy, which he says “goes with everything.” He notes that “they aren’t cheap,” but assures that these sweatshirts are “well worth the investment.”
Todd Snyder x Champion Classic Garment Dyed Pocket Sweatshirt in Vintage White
“My wardrobe is fairly limited … I only wear white,” says Nicholas Morgenstern, owner and founder of Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream. “Oddly, not everyone makes a white sweatshirt; they’re kind of hard to get to.” If you, too, are on the hunt for a rare white sweatshirt, take a note from Morgenstern, who recommends this one from Todd Snyder’s collaboration with Champion. “It just fits well; it’s not big and bulky,” he says. “I’m still trying to maintain my trim figure here, and with a big sweatshirt the cut is always kind of floppy, so it’s nicer when they’re a little bit tighter.” Morgenstern describes the material as “medium weight,” and thinner than a classic Champion crewneck.
Gap Vintage Soft Crewneck Sweatshirt
“My problem with so many sweatshirts is always the fit,” says Jason Chen, former deputy editor at the Strategist. “They’re always just a bit baggy or low in the armholes, or most often, too long. I pretty much gave up on finding a good one until I read (of all things) Derek Blasberg talking about his search for a good crewneck sweatshirt, which ended up coming from the Gap.” Chen says the cut on the small is exactly right for him, and that he’s gotten a few over the past years. “Gap’s changed the material from a lightweight cotton to something a bit heavier, but the fit is always spot-on,” he says.
Alternative Apparel Men’s Champ Eco Fleece Sweatshirt
For those looking for an ecoconscious sweatshirt that won’t break the bank, Alternative Apparel’s crewneck is a worthy option, according to Dejon Mullings, product comms manager at Pinterest. “I love, of course, that it’s made with organic and recycled materials, but it’s still extremely affordable,” he says. “I can wear this sweatshirt with jeans or chinos, and because it’s a little bit on the slimmer side, I’ll wear it as a layering piece under jackets all the time.”
Håndværk Stretch-Pima Cotton Sweatshirt
“NO ONE does sweatshirts better (or classic ‘basics’ in general) than Handvaerk,” says Christopher Blomquist, a writer and professor at Parsons New School. “Their Flex Sweatshirt is a classic crewneck in pima cotton (and in sensible solid shades like black, white, gray, or blue) without the damned Dorito triangle underneath the neck.” Blomquist admires the simplicity of this crewneck, and calls it “gorgeously comfortable” and “beautiful.” He has it in black, but says he wants to order all of the other colors, as well.
Maison Kitsuné Tricolor Fox-appliqué Cotton Sweatshirt
If you don’t mind sporting a logo or some color to flex your taste, we heard from several stylish men about crewnecks that are not dressed-up exactly, but have a little something extra — including this Maison Kitsuné one, which Alexander Olch, a neckwear and accessories designer who is also the founder of the Lower East Side’s Metrograph cinema, named as his favorite. “I wear a tie every day, so in the fall and winter, I’m looking for a sweatshirt with just the right cut to reveal a shirt collar and necktie knot underneath,” says Olch. He says this Maison Kitsuné crewneck fits the bill. “It’s my favorite shade of navy, and has become almost a uniform for me,” Olch says.
Fred Perry Laurel Wreath Print Sweatshirt
Shaftel told us that when he’s going between meetings and the tennis court, his crewneck of choice is this Fred Perry Laurel Print Sweatshirt. “High quality and fits great,” he says. “Fred Perry is the embodiment of a brand that jumped from tennis to the popular culture, so it looks good whatever the situation. Especially the black.” Shaftel told us that his magazine is also selling a tennis-inspired logo sweatshirt made with classic Champion crewnecks. “They hold their shape forever, and look better as they wear in,” he says about Champion’s sweatshirts.
Acne Studios Logo-embroidered sweatshirt
“These Acne Studios sweatshirts are on the pricey side, but perfect in every way, so worth the splurge,” Shaftel says. “They stay soft no matter how much you wash them.” Consider this one more of a dinner sweatshirt than a gym sweatshirt though. “I feel weird about sweating in such a beautiful garment though, so I never do more than warm up in it,” he says.
Saturdays NYC Colorblock Sweatshirt
For something a little more colorful, try this Saturdays NYC crewneck suggested by J.P. Collett, a co-founder of wellness brand natureofthings. “Saturday’s sweatshirts have the perfect cut and weight,” he says. The color-block sweatshirt is Collett’s “new go-to for everyday wear,” thanks to its versatility and ability to be dressed up or down depending on his plans.
Saturdays NYC Simon Reverse Fleece Sweatshirt
We also heard about Saturdays from Zach Weiss, director of public relations and brand partnerships at Nice Laundry, a company that specializes in customized underwear and socks, who says that the brand’s reverse-fleece crewneck has “absolutely the perfect weight and cut.” It makes a particularly appealing option for those who like a clean silhouette but want something bolder than navy or gray, he adds. “They always keep it simple, so you know what to expect, but offer a great selection of different, unique colors every season,” Weiss says. He loves the fit, too: “Tailored, but with some room to breathe, and quality cuffs that don’t stretch out.”
Billy Reid Dover Crewneck Sweatshirt With Leather Elbow Patches
If you want a crewneck with a little extra detailing, Brian Boye, vice-president of Nike Communications, recommends this Billy Reid one. It looks simple from the front, but has some bookish flair thanks to patches on each elbow. “I love the leather elbow patches on this lightweight sweatshirt,” Boye says. “It has ribbing at the waist, but doesn’t bunch up, so it lies flat and is universally flattering, too. Bonus: It’s made in the USA.”
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