Reviewed & updated: October 19, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA
Rumour has it, this British winter is going to be one of the coldest in records, which means now is the ideal time (and gives you the perfect excuse) to treat yourself to some new, cosy garms. This season it’s all about the fleece, so read our style guide on how to work this staple into your look.
What Is A Fleece?
Warm. A fleece is warm. Other than being warm, a fleece is a jumper, sweatshirt, hoodie, activewear, outerwear (or whatever you’d like to call it) which used to be made from natural sheep’s wool but is now created by a synthetic version of it. Men’s fleeces also come in variations of borg and in many different styles and colours. People seek fleeces because they’re great for layering and adding that extra element of warmth, making them perfect for the colder months. The fleece has come in and out of trend, usually being categorised as part of the ‘dad trend’, but lucky for us, this is back and better than ever. So, read on for everything you need to know.
History of the Fleece
It won’t come as any surprise that wool has been around for a long, long time – wool has had a plethora of uses for centuries. Dating right back to the Iron Age, wool was plucked from sheep as shears were not yet invented. Technology eventually progressed, and so did the uses that wool was put to. Despite the increase of access to this fuzzy material, one problem remained: natural wool didn’t a) keep you that warm unless you wore layers and layers and b) it didn’t cope well with getting wet.
This is where Malden Mills came in. He invented Polarfleece – a blend of a polyester fleece which is used to this day create more practical clothing. Mills received a whole load of praise for making an innovative version of fleece that was both warm and quick to dry. Nowadays, pretty much every fleece manufacturer has ditched the natural wool and uses synthetic as a nifty alternative, giving us the fashion fleece jackets and sherpa jackets we love.
What to Wear With A Fleece
Fleeces took their turn on the main stage in the 80s when they were worn by both the youth and middle-aged men. This tends to be the vision that a lot of people associate with wearing a fleece, but that vision is outdated and fleeces are back. Knowing how to wear a fleece is a pretty easy thing to do, especially with the help of this style guide. You can either dress them up for more formal events or down for a casual look by switching up the style of fleece and interchanging bits of your outfit.
For a casual look, we recommend you wear a fleece hoodie or a fleece gilet. The men’s half-zip fleece is also a great option as these hoodies can get pretty warm, so having the choice of a bit of ventilation will work in your favour. As they do get quite hot, you won’t need to wear much underneath, especially if you’re wearing a fleece hoodie. A plain T-shirt will work well as you should avoid clashing prints with a fleece texture – it will make your outfit too confused.
When styling your fleece casually, wear it with a pair of wide jeans or chinos. This will give your look that 90s edge. Trainers are always the go-to when dressing down – stick to a white pair to make the look flow. Accessorise the outfit with a cross body bag styled over your should for a roadman touch.
Here’s that awkward term again: smart-casual. This is a tricky one to get right, but when done properly it can look really good. Pulling off a smart-causal look is the art of being able to assemble both smart and casual separate pieces into one outfit. This can be done by switching up the shoes, jackets or trousers etc.
In the look below, we have paired our burgundy men’s fleece jacket with a pair of grey joggers and white trainers. This is one of the best men’s fleeces, as it brings a whole new dimension to an outfit whilst giving it the casual element. To finish it off and add the ‘smart’ part, we have added a camel overcoat. If this look is too out there for you, switch up the burgundy fleece with a white or black one. This will considerably tone down the colours.
Dressing a fleece up smart may seem like mission impossible to the large majority of you, however, this look is not that hard out of your reach. We have put together the below attire using our navy borg hoodie, with our navy and burgundy Varsity Stripe scarf draped over the top. The colour of the scarf and hoodie compliment each other – a good trick when adding accessories.
A pair of grey pinstripe trousers will go with most outfits, whether smart or casual. Here, we have paired them with some grey wool socks and black loafers, making the hoodie transform from casual to smart with ease. It really is this simple. If you’re dressing up a look, we suggest you try to match the colours as much as possible. Loud colours and a mass of patterns will dress down the outfit.
How to Fit A Fleece
When wearing a fleece, it’s imperative to make sure you get the fit right. If the material is too thin, the fleece will become flimsy and give off that middle-aged commuting man vibe… the kind who rides a scooter to work. Avoid this by going for a thick fleece that has more of a structure to it.
Because fleeces tend to be pretty warm, it’s always best to go oversized. Too baggy is not good, but too skinny will look ridiculous. Try and find a happy medium and find one that sits loosely against the body without being too snug.
There is a whole range of cool fleece jackets and cheap fleeces for men on the market – they don’t all have to cost you a months rent. Plenty of brands have released fleece pieces, including The North Face fleece and the Supreme fleece.
How To Wear A Fleece This Season
- Fleeces have been worn for centuries. The material has evolved from natural wool to polyester wool for a series of functional and practical reasons.
- Casual Fleece. To wear your fleece casually, team it with a pair of jeans or chinos and some trainers. Add a cross-body bag to accessorise.
- Smart-casual fleece. For a smart-casual look, wear a fleece with another dressy piece such as a pair of suit trousers or an overcoat. Make sure the balance is right.
- Smart fleece. This is the hardest look to pull off, but when it’s done well, it’s worth it. Wear a pair of smart trousers, muted down wool socks and a pair of loafers to compliment the fleece.
- Fleece jackets. You can get a fleece jacket that either zips up the whole way or one that is more of a borg material. Denim jackets with fleece or borg collars are a great piece for autumn and winter fashion.
On That Note
There is a whole load of fleece hoodies and jackets on the market. They have a pretty significant stamp on history as they were originally made from natural wool. Now, all the fleece you will find will be polyester (man-made) which makes them warmer, more resistant to rain and quicker to dry. It also makes them a lot cheaper whilst being a softer material to wear. Whether you go for a hoodie, sweatshirt or a fleece-lined jacket, this style guide should help you style all of the fleeces from casual to smart.
Feature image from Pinterest