growing a minimalist wardrobe: sweatshirts

March 21, 2017


The ultimate minimalist wardrobe trick? Feeling comfortable in your own skin, er, sweatshirt.

I’ve said before that the biggest indicator of whether something is going to have staying power in my wardrobe is its comfort factor. If something’s comfortable enough that I want to put it on day after day, it’s going to stick around, but it also needs to be comfortable on a more metaphysical level. Regardless of how it fits, I need my clothes to make me feel good. Enter sweatshirts. Maligned as weekend wear, or schlubby mom clothes (rude), sweatshirts aren’t typically celebrated as self-esteem boosting wardrobe staples. But give me a rack of designer clothes and include sweatshirts of any kind in the mix and the gravitational pull is going to be fierce. 

I’m not saying that I swan around like royalty in a sweatshirt, but I do feel good. The trick is in the tailoring and the material. A thick French terry with perfectly draped shoulders and a thick hemline? Yes. A vintage sweatshirt with just the right details? Worth its weight in gold, I see. 

Sweatshirt love isn’t my own quirk. Lots of folks are hip to the hype and there are plenty of lovely places for sourcing the perfect crewneck, should you be on the hunt. In case any of you are searching for stellar sweats, here are a few sweatshirts that have caught my eye lately:

Baserange: Basic Sweat
Known for their thoughtfully made cozy underthings, it’s no surprise that Baserange also has a killer-looking basic crewneck for layering on top. I love the blush color, but it also comes in black and off-white  Made in Portugal.

Calder Blake: Isamu French Terry Pocket Pullover 
For a sweatshirt with a twist, I love the look of this French terry pullover that’s been designed so that the terry loops are on the outside. For a more classic look, the Brady French Terry Sweatshirt is a simple crewneck made from a cotton blend. Made in California.

Everlane: The Slim Classic French Terry 
I haven’t personally tried their latest iteration of the French terry sweatshirts, so I can’t vouch for the quality, but I owned one of Everlane’s original crewneck sweatshirts and wore it until it was threadbare and stained (user error). Made in Vietnam.

Jungmaven: Hemp Crew 
These guys are my go-to source for all things comfy and hemp. They’re on a mission to support industrially grown hemp because it regenerates the soil it’s grown in and helps mitigate climate change (noble cause!). Their unisex hemp crew looks A+ and I can’t lie, I’m also very intrigued by the super-cozy looking turtleneck sweatshirt. Made in the USA of globally sourced fabric.

Of A Kind: Professional Enthusiast Sweatshirt
If you’re searching for a sweatshirt with just a little extra something, look no further than the very peppy French terry sweatshirts produced by the women at Of a Kind. Professional Enthusiasts of the world, take note. Now in a short-sleeved version, too. Made in Brooklyn, of Japanese fabric.

Tradlands: Althea Sweatshirts
Crew neck sweatshirts are part of Tradland’s latest foray into the world beyond button-ups. I loved their new sweatshirts so much, that I made sure to keep this one around after the photoshootMade in the USA.

United by Blue: French Rib Swing
United by Blue is a relatively new-to-me company that has a slightly quirky approach to environmental stewardship. For every sale they make, they pledge to remove a pound of trash from a local waterway. When I recently saw their French Rib Swing sweatshirt in my favorite color du jour, I couldn’t help myself. Made in China from organic cotton.

Victor Athletics: Women’s Sweatshirts 
I’m a very big fan of the hoodie that I bought last year from Victor. Nerd alert: James and I have matching hoodies and we both love them very much (Mine’s blue and his is gray. We’re not total weirdos.) Made in the USA from organic cotton.

PS. In case you have a sweatshirt affinity and little guys you like to dress, consider something special from Rudy Jude: Faye and Silas have matching naturally-dyed Indigo raglans, and I’m v. v. tempted to try to squeeze into the size 10 Piglet. Such a perfect color, huh?

What about you guys? Favorite sweatshirts worth crowing about?

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41 Comments

  • Reply Erin March 21, 2017 at 10:29 am

    I like that these are all crew necks. I feel that crew necks look a bit more pulled together than hoodies (and I always feel like I’m choking in a hoodie). I could easily dress any of these up for my office (it’s a very casual environment) or throw them on with jeans on a Saturday to feel comfy, yet not slobby. Love the first one in pink. Perhaps it’s worth saving my pennies for?

    • Reply Tonya Lynn March 21, 2017 at 10:45 am

      I was just saying the same thing. I think it’s the hood that makes it feel/look frumpy.

  • Reply Tonya Lynn March 21, 2017 at 10:44 am

    I agree! I also I think there is a significant difference between sweatshirts with and without hoods. With a hood I feel frumpy but without a hood I feel as if I can looked polished and ready to go on an outing with my kiddo.

  • Reply Anna March 21, 2017 at 11:09 am

    I’m a fan of cardigans. In them you can wrap yourself, or just throw on your shoulders.

  • Reply Kirsten March 21, 2017 at 11:54 am

    I love sweatshirts and hoodies. Comfort is very important.

    -Kirsten

  • Reply Alie March 21, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Also love sweatshirts from Eileen Fisher and Alternative Apparel! My Alternative Apparel one is my fave of all time :). Love this list; thanks!

  • Reply Mary Beth Wile March 21, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    Love this post. I’m always looking for a nicer quality sweatshirt without writing on it. It’s really hard to find them. These are some really good options!

  • Reply Moni March 21, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    I’ve been coveting the victor hoodie and jogger sweatpants for quite a while. Love the style and that they are organic cotton. But they only have the mens available to preorder otherwise sold out. Do you think they are fairly unisex?

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 21, 2017 at 1:20 pm

      Their women’s hoodies are quite fitted. I really love mine because of that (not frumpy at all), but it’s all a matter of personal preference! If fitted sounds like what you’re after, you could always bookmark the page and check back in to see when they restock!

  • Reply Rachel March 21, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    This website has unique sweatshirts that are all made in the USA. https://youreupstate.com/pages/about

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 21, 2017 at 3:09 pm

      Beauties!

    • Reply Genevieve March 21, 2017 at 5:37 pm

      Those are lovely!

  • Reply Brittney March 21, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    Oh gosh, I ADORE a good sweatshirt. There is nothing I’d rather wear – this winter my “going out outfit” was a basic sweatshirt and leather leggings – love the high quality ones that are fitted like you showed here. I think I need to add that blush baserange one to my closet!

  • Reply Julia March 21, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    I love that you mention United by Blue on this list! My husband and I have participated in a few of their waterway cleanups here in Philadelphia (where the company is based), and they really practice what they preach. I love that their stewardship has an on-the-ground immediate impact where it’s sorely needed–and their clothes are great! (Their male button-downs are especially dreamy).

  • Reply Morgan March 21, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    Kotn! Is a great young Canadian brand that’s trying to boost the Eqyptian cotton industry! They market as mens wear, but I have a white tee and a sweatshirt that I love!

  • Reply Breanna Marie March 21, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    All such great options!

  • Reply http://whimsicalwolfblog.com/ March 21, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    Thank you for sharing this, it was very informative and nice to read.

  • Reply Barbara March 22, 2017 at 5:42 am

    Love your writing . “Swan around like royalty.” So good.

  • Reply Stephanie March 22, 2017 at 9:15 am

    I am not a sweater fan because I have yet to find a cut that suits me, but I love the way they are tidy in your drawer!

  • Reply Lee March 22, 2017 at 9:53 am

    I love my Wild Feminist sweatshirt from WILDFANG. http://www.wildfang.com/

    I have to confess that my favorite sweatshirt is not quite “grown-up” enough to wear out of the house; it is from a summer camp I worked at in undergrad. It is so soft and brings back such warm and fuzzy memories!

  • Reply Jessica March 22, 2017 at 10:22 am

    I know my husband has already bought me the Tradlands sweatshirt for my birthday (in mid-July…), and I CAN’T WAIT. I could have a wardrobe composed entirely of good v-neck tshirts and sweatshirts and be perfectly happy.

  • Reply Erin March 22, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    I, too, have one of the OG Everlane sweatshirts from about 4 years ago. It is THE BEST. It’s light grey. I’ve loved it so much that I’m starting to notice a couple tiny holes (and a few faint stains that don’t disappear completely in the wash).

    I’m considering replenishing in the near-ish future with their newer version, but I’m bracing myself to be let down considering how much I love my current version (which, of course, I would still keep in my rotation! but as you make clear in your post, it’s so nice to have a sweatshirt that feels crisp and “fancy”)

    PS – Erin, I know you posted a while ago about sprucing up your mending kit. Do you have any good sources for beginner clothing mending tips? Or do you just throw caution to the wind and go for it when mending little holes and the like?

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 22, 2017 at 2:21 pm

      Ha! I throw caution to the wind with just about everything. I’ve never tried to mend a hole in a sweatshirt though. I imagine you’d probably need to patch it! Not sure, but Katrina Rodabaugh might have some ideas for you on that front!

      • Reply Erin March 22, 2017 at 2:54 pm

        Thank you!!

  • Reply kimb March 22, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    There are a handful of sizes/colors of Everlane’s original sweatshirts (the 100% cotton, made in LA ones) still available at https://www.everlane.com/collections/limited-product-collection. Hope that helps someone!

    • Reply Erin March 22, 2017 at 4:07 pm

      That is awesome! Thank you for sharing 😀

  • Reply Danielle March 22, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    I adore my “I Did My Best” sweatshirt from Shopbando. I’ve been complimented on it more than any other item I own. I even wore it to my annual job review. I think their sweatshirts are from Alternative Apparel but if anyone can confirm this I would greatly appreciate it. Softest sweatshirt ever.

  • Reply Sarah E March 22, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    Thanks for this round-up! I work in craft beer, and so we get a bunch of free swag. My work hoodie has succumbed to the pressures of physical work and an energetic puppy, and I’m not thrilled with the prospect of replacing it with yet another “this is the cheapest one we could get that doesn’t fall apart in the first wash and can still make a decent return on once we screen print them” selection.

    Again, great timing, and thanks for doing the legwork on these shopping round ups. One of the hurdles to ethical shopping is the time it takes. You can let the brands you work with know that I search your site for recommendations and round ups before I make a big purchase for household or apparel items.

  • Reply Joy bela March 22, 2017 at 7:40 pm

    So funny — I was literally JUST thinking about writing a blog post about this very topic. I work from home twice a week, and I live in comfy jeans and a crewneck. I like to think i’m french girl chic 🙂 xo

  • Reply Micaela March 22, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    I have the Baserange + two original Everlanes (from when they were made in the USA) … I consider myself something of a sweatshirt connoisseur! Hence, I love this roundup. Thanks for turning me on to some new beauties that are now at the top of my wishlist!

  • Reply Jen March 23, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    I just got the new Everlane hoodie and it’s quite nice.

    https://www.everlane.com/products/womens-classic-ft-sq-hoodie-washedblack?collection=womens-sweaters

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 24, 2017 at 9:22 am

      so glad to hear that!

  • Reply amybee March 24, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    I haven’t clicked through all the links, but can you recommend one in larger/plus sizes? Thanks!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 24, 2017 at 1:54 pm

      Hi Amy, It would take clicking on the links to confirm the sizes since I admit I’m not sure off the top of my head which of these guys might have the largest sizes!

  • Reply amy treinen March 24, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    The off white one in your drawer, is that tradlands? I have their navy one and I love it, perfect weight and I think I’m ready for a lighter colored one for spring.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 24, 2017 at 1:50 pm

      yes!

  • Reply Kiley March 24, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    I love a good sweatshirt! Mine are primarily crew neck and thrifted, but I’ve had my eye on the short sleeve street fleece from Everlane for quite some time. It looks so polished, I feel like I could get away with it at work: https://www.everlane.com/products/womens-street-fleece-short-sleeve-sweatshirt-grey

  • Reply Nicole Brant March 26, 2017 at 12:11 am

    This is so timely! Thank you! I’ve been trying very hard to be more mindful of my purchases & try for quality over quantity and wanted a brand list. This is perfect.

  • Reply Christine March 26, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    American Giant. Best hoodie I’ve ever owned, hands down.

  • Reply Lisa March 27, 2017 at 11:17 am

    Omg the piglet is the cutest! I totally agree with you on the comfort factor. love how motherhood has made me feel proud to wear sweaters also in work situations. Like I’ve earned it, you know. Growing up is not such a bad thing, eh. Regarding hemp, I read an interview with Yvon Chouinard where he said that the processing of hemp into fabric is always done with toxic chemicals and hence it’s a bad choice for the environment regardless of how the hemp was grown. He advocated organic cotton all the way. Haven’t had time to look into it yet, and obviously he’s got vested interests in Patagonia’s supply chain, but it made me hesitate. Has anyone had time to read up on hemp?

  • Reply Lotus April 4, 2017 at 4:33 am

    Oh I love a great sweatshirt as a mum especially due to the easy of chucking them in the washing machine. There is an amazing New Zealand organic, fairtrade label called Kowtow who do great designs and a fantastic cut.

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