When the mercury drops, one of the best items of clothing any guy should have in his wardrobe is a fleece jacket. Designed to provide a layer of thermal insulation, but not necessarily any protection against the other elements, fleece jackets are an ideal mid-layer to put on underneath a winter jacket or coat, when you find yourself outside in a blisteringly cold downpour.
Fleece jackets come in a range of styles and can be made from a number of variations of the fleece fabric. Styling will likely come down to personal preference: do you want a pullover design with a quarter-zip or a full zip fleece jacket? Some offer pockets, some don’t, and when browsing, you’ll likely come across various thicknesses, the importance of which will depend on where you plan on wearing yours.
And obviously, style comes into play too. There is currently a resurgence of retro-inspired designs flooding the market, which can look seriously cool, but they won’t be suitable to wear under a blazer to the office. For those scenarios, you’ll want to pick up something with a more business style, and fleece jackets from the more traditional outdoor brands such as Patagonia and The North Face will be more than appropriate.
Fleece Jacket FAQ
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Price: From $99
Patagonia is one of the true kings of outdoor clothing. A real champion of sustainably made clothing, the majority of materials that go into Patagonia clothing are recycled or sustainably-sourced.
It’s hard to choose a singular piece to recommend as the entire range of Patagonia fleece jackets are all fantastic, but for its heritage design, we’ve singled out the Woolyester Pullover. This fleece is made from a blend of recycled wool and polyester, gifting it both soft-feeling and quick-drying properties. The pullover design ensures more warmth is kept in, and a quarter zip is on standby to open up to let any heat out should you feel too warm. Rib-knit cuffs and hem give finish off the sophisticated look.
The North Face
Price: From $89
Another big-hitter and high-street name in the world of warming outerwear is The North Face. Literally named after the most dangerous side of any mountain, The North Face is well-equipped to provide clothing designed to keep you moving in the harshest conditions.
For a perfect combination of retro style and modern fabric technologies, look no further than the Denali 2 fleece jacket. Made from 100 per cent recycled polyester, the Denali 2 will provide all the warmth you could need. Blocks of abrasion-resistant material can be found over the chest and shoulders for a retro, yet useful, touch and if you own a shell jacket from The North Face, you’ll find zips on this fleece that will allow it to zip in and become an integrated layer.
Price: From $149
Canadian luxury outerwear brand Arc’teryx has clothing ranges for all sorts of disciplines, whether it be hiking, skiing, rock climbing or running. It also has an Essentials range for everyday clothing. No matter which range you get your clothing from, you can be safe in the knowledge that it will be able to perform to the highest level.
The Covert Cardigan is one such piece made for everyday wear, being made from a completely recycled polyester Alpenex II fleece. Soft on the inside but a more rugged woollen outside, it’s the perfect mixture of style and substance. Hand pockets and a third pocket on the arm can be used for keeping your keys and wallet close by and gussets under the arms give you complete range of motion. Factor in a range of colours and you could have yourself an Arc’teryx fleece jacket for every day of the week.
Price: From $195
Filson is a real old-timer when it comes to outerwear, having been founded in 1897 in Seattle, Washington, where its headquarters remain today. It set out to design and develop clothing for outdoor enthusiasts and continues to be one of the biggest names in the business thanks to its commitment to using only the finest materials, resulting in unmatched durability.
The Ridgeway fleece jacket is made from a Polartec fleece fabric, making it lightweight yet incredibly warm and best-suited to mild to cool weather. The Polartec fabric is quick-drying too, so whether you’re caught in a light shower or you sweat underneath, the fabric won’t retain the moisture. A full-length zip makes it easy to take on and off, while three pockets can be used to store the essentials.
Price: From $45
Marmot – which refers to a large ground squirrel that lives in mountainous areas – was founded in 1974 by a group of students from the University of California Santa Cruz. Marmot’s very first products included a vest, sweater and a few down sleeping bags, so developing apparel for harsh mountainous regions has been in its DNA since day one. It’s also a movie star, with 108 of its “very puffy jackets” being used in the Clint Eastwood movie ‘The Eiger Sanction’ and is the oldest customer of W.L. Gore, with Gore-Tex being used in the majority of its products, especially sleeping bags.
The Rocklin’ 1/2 zip fleece jacket is a versatile number in that it can obviously be used for outdoor adventures, but has a minimalist and premium look that easily lends itself to being worn on chilly evenings on the town. This particular fleece doesn’t include Gore-Tex, but that’s reflected in the low price. Instead, you get a 100 per cent polyester fleece that is sure to keep you warm on cold days with a generous 1/2 zip to allow for airflow.
Price: From $150
Swedish brand Fjallraven is unmistakably Scandi in its approach to design, with minimalist designs being the order of the day, and sustainability featuring highly in their production. It specialises in outdoor apparel, gear and equipment, with its G-1000 rugged fabric making an appearance through most of its collections.
The Keb Fleece Hoodie makes use of that G-1000 fabric to reinforce the shoulders and provide improved water resistance. Elsewhere it’s made from a blend of wool, partly recycled polyester and elastane resulting in a completely functional fabric that moves with you, keeping you warm at the same time and one that wicks moisture away from the body. The hood is snug, to say the least, but you’ll appreciate it if you find yourself in particularly chilly conditions, but most of all, we love the way it looks. Simple, yet stylish.
Price: From $54
Columbia Sportswear has been a force within the outerwear industry since its founding in 1938. Its jackets in particular were responsible for its rapid growth and rise in popularity, due to their use of breathable and waterproof materials. Today, if there’s something you need for an outdoor adventure, Columbia will have a product to suit and is a name that can most definitely be trusted.
The Helevtia Half-Snap fleece jacket is for those who like to have some fun with their outerwear. It can be had in a number of eccentric, vintage-inspired designs and is made from 100 per cent Sherpa Pile fleece to keep you extra cosy warm on cold days. It does forego hand pockets in favour of a single chest pocket, so if you need to keep your hands warm you may want to invest in a further outer layer, but for outright design-appeal that serves a purpose, this Columbia pullover fleece is perfect.
Price: From $129
Topo Designs really is a brand you’ll want to get to know. The Denver-based clothing company is mad about the outdoors, but designs its products in such a way that they can equally be used for urban explorers and not receive weird looks. The company’s bag range is where it really excels but it has an accomplished range of clothing to boot.
The Subalpine Fleece is made from super-soft sherpa Polartec fleece, making it cosy, warm and breathable. While it won’t be the best protector against full-on blizzards, it’ll happily do itself justice when the temperature can be classed as “chilly”. The chest, back and shoulders all receive reinforcement to not only make the Subalpine a durable little number but to provide a contrasting colour block section, resulting in a retro-tastic design. There are pockets all over, including some on the inside, so you’re not left wanting when it comes to storage space.
Price: From $75
Nike ACG is the sportswear giant’s tougher, more rugged arm. Standing for ‘All Conditions Gear’, ACG gear – which has been around since 1989 – is designed to be used outdoors no matter what the conditions may bring.
This Pullover Hoodie may look like a conventional pullover, complete with a kangaroo pocket, but it’s instead made from a much more heavyweight French terry fleece that is both ultra-soft and warm. Because it’s ACG, it will fair far better against windy conditions than your run-of-the-mill pullover, while the bungee-style drawcords make hood adjustments a cinch.
Price: From $405
Taking its name from the ski region in Grenoble, Moncler is one of the most luxurious brands you’ll see out on the slopes. Because of its rich history and long-time association with all things outdoors, Moncler knows how to keep you well-protected and looking damn good in the process. The company’s hiking boots and down jackets are particular highlights, but when you don’t need such heavyweight protection, a fleece is for you.
This Logo-Appliquéd fleece jacket is, therefore, one of the more stylish for you to be seen in on this list. More expensive, sure, but with a large Moncler logo adorning the chest, it becomes priceless for the looks you’ll get. Made from a heavyweight cotton jersey fabric, so it’s not just style and no substance, it employs a funnel-neck collar design to keep you better-protected when temperatures plummet.
Price: From $89
For the businessmen and guys who actually like to dress up for date night, J Crew is a brand you can rely on to provide well-made and premium-looking menswear staples. Not just a one-hit-wonder for shirts and chinos, the clothing brand has an extensive catalogue that’s well worth checking out.
This Organic Cotton Half-Zip sweater is, as its name suggests, made from organic cotton, so you’ll be doing the planet some good by buying one. It can easily be worn as a top layer over a t-shirt or button-up shirt, or will happily slide underneath a blazer. Staple colourways of navy, grey and heather make it easy to pair with whatever else you have in your wardrobe and a silver metal zip provides a subtle contrasting touch.
Price: From $189
We feature Todd Snyder a lot in our best-lists here at DMARGE, but for good reason. The American designer consistently gets it right when it comes to functional design and a price point we can all appreciate.
This Polartec fleece is made in collaboration with sportswear brand Champion – a long-time partnership between the two brands – making it incredibly lightweight, yet with properties that will keep you incredibly warm. Todd recommends layering it over another sweater or under a jacket, depending on the temperature outside, but no matter which you choose, the Polartec fabric will remain breathable and will be quick to dry off any moisture it does absorb.
Price: From $20
Japanese brand Uniqlo is something of a mystery. We’re not entirely sure how it manages to produce such high-quality clothing that sells for such low prices. We could easily fill our entire wardrobe with Uniqlo clothing, as it covers all the essentials you could ever need, in styles that are always on-trend.
This Flurry Yarn fleece jacket is as fleece-y as they come. The fluffy nature of the polyester material used provides sublime heat retention, and tailored cuffs help to trap that warm air inside. It’s available in a multitude of colours too, so finding one to suit your particular style will be all too easy.