When the mercury drops, one of the best items of clothing any guy should have in his wardrobe is a fleece. Designed to provide a layer of thermal insulation, but not necessarily any protection against the other elements, fleeces are an ideal mid-layer to put on underneath a winter jacket or coat, when you find yourself outside in a blisteringly cold downpour.
Fleeces can 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 fleece jackets 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 a 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-y 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
A fleece jacket is made of 100% synthetic material, usually polyester combined with wool, hemp or rayon. Instead of buttons or other fasteners, it features a zipper up the middle. While it provides thermal insulation, a fleece jacket is not waterproof. It will not soak up water like cotton, but you will still get wet thorough it. Turn fleece jacket inside out and wash it with like colors. Avoid washing it with linty items like towels. Use cool water, rinse twice and air-dry after.
What is fleece jacket?
Is fleece jacket waterproof?
How to wash fleece jacket?
A fleece jacket is made of 100% synthetic material, usually polyester combined with wool, hemp or rayon. Instead of buttons or other fasteners, it features a zipper up the middle.
While it provides thermal insulation, a fleece jacket is not waterproof. It will not soak up water like cotton, but you will still get wet thorough it.
Turn fleece jacket inside out and wash it with like colors. Avoid washing it with linty items like towels. Use cool water, rinse twice and air-dry after.
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It's hard to choose a singular piece to recommend as the entire range of Patagonia fleeces 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.
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.
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 for everyday of the week.
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.
The Rocklin' 1/2 zip fleece 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 air flow.
The Keb Fleece Hoodie makes use of that G-1000 fabric to reinforce the shoulders and provide improved water-resistance. Elsewhere its made from blend of wool, partly recycled polyester and elastane resulting in an 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.
The Helevtia Half-Snap fleece 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.
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 a retro-tastic design. There are pockets all over, including some on the inside, so you're not left wanting for storage space.
This Pullover Hoodie may look like a conventional pullover, complete with 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 that your run-of-the-mill pullover, while the bungee-style draw cords make hood adjustments a cinch.
This Logo-Appliquéd fleece 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 all style and no substance, and employs a funnel-neck collar design to keep you better-protected when temperatures plummet.
This Organic Cotton Half-Zip sweater is, as its name suggests, made from an 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.
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.
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.