Sweatshirts 101: All You Need to Know

Sweatshirts 101: All You Need to Know

Of all the types of clothes we own, sweatshirts are among the most called upon. Like an old friend after a rough day, they embrace us with their cotton arms in a swarm of comfort. Sweatshirts are so popular, in fact, that the average person owns three or four. Except for Trevor Noah – he owns a ton!

While we often pull on sweatshirts without giving them much thought (What makes them tick? Or, more accurately, what makes them thick?), this apparel is interesting. If it walked into a bar, the cute graphic t shirts and fluffy sherpa hoodies would rush to sit near it, hoping to hear it spin a yarn or two.

Some of its most fascinating facts are easily revealed through a little Q&A…...

Who invented the sweatshirt?

Centuries ago, there was no such thing as casual clothes: When people wanted to lounge around the house, they did so in a particularly roomy corset, not pants with elastic waistbands. Fast forward hundreds of years and even in the early 20th century women wore floor length dresses while playing tennis.

Enter Benjamin Russel, the owner of a women and children’s underwear factory. In 1920s Alabama, he developed a line of sweatshirts using the materials from his factory, an endeavour he undertook after his son (a football player for the Rolling Tide) complained of the itchy, wool jerseys he was forced to wear each time he suited up for games or practice.

The new duds were an immediate hit, quickly spreading throughout the sporting world – from football to baseball and beyond. For years, they were synonymous with athletics before eventually becoming more synonymous with comfort.

Why is sweatshirt called so?

The factory workers who first made sweatshirts noticed that they were sweaty after wear. Thus, they adopted a literal moniker and the term was born. Over the years, other nicknames have emerged, including “hoodie without a hood” and “cotton jumper.” Some people simply refer them as “sweats” (a term that include sweatpants).

How can you wear a sweatshirt?

There are many ways to wear a sweatshirt. Some people prefer to wear them with matching joggers, sweatpants, or jeans. They can also serve as a layer under a denim jacket or a long coat. Their job might not be such a stylish one, either: You can wear a sweatshirt to stay warm when the weather cools. They are commonly tied around waists or stowed in backpacks for later use.

How should a sweatshirt fit?

The #1 rule of thumb when it comes to sweatshirts is comfort. If you’re wearing a regular style, the fit is dictated by the size. For a loose look, buy a size larger than what’s normal for you; for a tighter look, do the opposite.  If you’re buying an oversized sweatshirt and want it extra roomy, go up a size as well.

When should you wear a sweatshirt?

While you’re probably not going to wear a sweatshirt to a wedding or a job interview, they are extraordinarily versatile. Formal settings aside, they work just about anywhere. Wear them to lounge, to hike, to workout at the gym, or to dine with friends.

Can sweatshirt be worn in summer?

Sweatshirts worn in the summer may translate into sweatier-shirts. Yet that doesn’t mean they need to hang alone in your closet until the temperature drops. You can wear sweatshirts in the summer if you’re comfortable. Consider something light cotton or only wear one during certain times of day, such as periods of rain or high cloud cover or in the evenings when the sun goes down.

Can sweatshirts be worn without an undershirt?

You can wear a sweatshirt with or without an undershirt. If you’re going to do the latter, take caution with the inner layer. Brushed cotton is the best choice as it offers the most comfort against your skin. Look rad without a rash.

Will sweatshirts shrink when put in dryers?

They might! Some sweatshirts are pre-shrunk to avoid this issue while others contain fabric components infamous for condensing. Sweatshirts with a little bit of polyester are least likely to change shape; it won’t compromise your garment’s breathability, either. 

Is Earl Sweatshirt a type of sweatshirt?

No! He’s an American rapper, songwriter, and record producer living in Los Angeles.

Which brand of sweatshirt is best to wear?

When choosing the best brand for yourself, look for the things that make a sweatshirt worth wearing. These include versatility, durability, ethical manufacturing, and streetwear cred. Comfort is highly important as well (as mentioned above, that is the entire reason these garments were invented) so something with a cotton-base is a smart option. Above all, make sure that you choose a sweatshirt that is true to your style. Be you, whether you’re wearing a sweatshirt bought at a sales discount or a luxury branded polo shirt.

What sweatshirt is Trevor Noah wearing?

Trevor Noah is well known for wearing sweatshirts, often caught looking comfy on camera. But the exact brands he wears remain a mystery. There are a few Reddit threads dedicated to discovering the fashion facts. Stay tuned!

For a hundred years, sweatshirts have been staples of our everyday wear: Wardrobe Wizards. Garment Giants. Cotton Kings. You know why you wear them; now you also know their history

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.