The hoodie has been a staple of youth culture since its inception. The Idle Man take you through the styles you should have hanging in your wardrobe with the 5 best hoodies for men.
With a history dating back to the mid 1930s, the hoodie is as much a contemporary piece of urban streetwear as it is a wardrobe staple and sartorial classic. Although it’s not a piece for formal looks, a hoodie is still one of those versatile, throw on pieces that can be matched with pretty much any casual outfit you want.
Like most historic pieces of clothing, it’s evolved throughout the years, and there’s a variation of designs to choose from, enabling you to change up your look depending on your personal style. Go for simple, clean designs with a more streamlined finish, or bulkier, statement designs for a more classically sports-luxe look. All in all the hoodie is a casual essential favoured by the likes of college kids, skaters and labourers, and its simple design and functionality had ensured it’s stood the test of time.
The Idle Man Top 5 Picks
We like men’s hoodies. It’s not really something we keep secret. We even have a whole section dedicated to them. There’s a lot to choose from though, and sometimes it’s hard to know exactly which one will suit your shape and style best. We’ve covered some of the classic shapes and picked out a few of our favourites.
In our opinion, you can’t go wrong with the classic pullover hoodie with drawstring neck and muff style pockets. It’s the way the original hoodie was designed back in the 1930s – by sewing a hood onto an ordinary sweatshirt – and is the ultimate comfort clothing. This is the kind of hoodie that will suit most people due to its relaxed shape and flattering neckline.
If you’ve got a bit of extra bulk that you’re worried about, feel safe in the knowledge that this type of cool hoodie won’t drown your body, but won’t cling to it either, giving you a clean finish. If you’re on the skinny side though, and you’re not too happy about showing off your slender form, this might not be the hoodie for you, as its larger shape will only emphasise your thin frame.
It’s hard to say exactly how to style this kind of hoodie, as it’s generally the most laid back of all the styles, and can be matched with a range of looks. If you’re going for outfit that’s comfort focused, but also works stylistically, try matching an un-patterned hoodie with a pair of slim fit joggers.
Two baggy pieces together doesn’t always create the most flattering look, so try to make sure your joggers are slimmer than your hoodie to help balance out the look. A grey hoodie paired with some clean blue jeans and white trainers can give a light, relaxed look that’s perfect for casual, out-and-about days.
A variation of the classic pullover hoodie, the slouch variety boasts the same comfort but with some extra warmth in the form of the ruched neck. With the drawstring neck detail and muff style front pocket, the slouch hoodie is pretty much identical to the classic pullover, but the extra ruched material around the neck adds a less refined, more casual look vibe to the piece.
Because of the more ‘elegant’ neck, it’s better to choose one of these hoodies in a slimmer fit design, as anything too baggy is going to create too much of a similarity between the relaxed neckline. Obviously this is still a hoodie so you don’t want to go for anything too baggy, but you can afford to choose one that’s a little slimmer than the classic design. It’s important to make sure that, regardless of the shape you go for, the arms are fairly close fitting, giving you a more structured, clean look and ensuring the hoodie looks properly fitted.
With the slim, flattering shape of the hoodie, it’s one that you can easily wear regardless of your shape. If you’re on the larger size, the neckline and subtle, loose fit will help smooth over your form and not cling to you. If you’re skinny the shape of the hoodie will help to complement your slender frame rather than drown you in fabric, giving you a clean, flattering look.
You can wear this as casually as the classic style, but its slimmer shape makes it a little more structured, meaning it’s a little easier to dress up with different accessories, like leather jackets and skinny jeans. As an added benefit, in roll neck style, the slouch hoodie eliminates the need to wear a scarf, making it an easy piece to just throw a jacket over and head out the house. You can easily match one with a simple pair of jeans and a T-shirt, focusing on fit and shape over any busy patterns, for an effortlessly stylish look.
Zip Through Hoodie
The zip through hoodie closely resembles the classic pullover with the obvious exception of the full front zip. The zip through is a great loungewear item for layering, as it can quickly and easily taken off and tied around the waist, or opened up to reveal the various clothes underneath. With its ability to create more textured looks, you can easily create more varied looks with a zip through hoodie, making them as simple or complex as you like.
In terms of shape it’s better to go for a zip through hoodie in a close fit, as, with the addition of the zip, it’s not really a style that’s meant to be loose and baggy. The centre zip helps give the hoodie a slightly more streamlined look, making it flattering to most sizes, so whatever shape you are, a zip-up hoodie is going to work well for you.
There are various ways you can wear this versatile hoodie, and it’s shape makes it easy to cool down or warm up with a simple pull of the zip, making it ideal for jogging or general workouts. It’s also handy to have a few neutral coloured zip up hoodies for laid back everyday looks, as you can easily create different looks depending on how you layer it up. Keep it simple with a clean white T-shirt, block coloured hoodie and jeans, or go for an alternative edge with a black hoodie, graphic tee and leather jacket.
The sleeveless hoodie makes it a versatile option for summer as well as winter. With zip through and pull over varieties, with drawstring neck detail, the only thing setting the sleeveless hoodie aside from its long sleeved counterpart is its lack of sleeves. Did you guess that? For gym sessions, hot days, and for a statement style, the sleeveless hoodie is the piece to go for. Although there have been some examples of badly styled sleeveless hoodies before, if you do it right you can achieve the perfect laid back look.
If you’re going for a sleeveless hoodie, it’s best to be pretty happy with the look of your arms, as this is a look that really emphasises them, even more than the standard short sleeved T-shirt. It’s straight up, straight down, block style helps emphasise the shape of the body as well, so it’s not the best at hiding any areas you’re not keen on.
If you’re wondering how to style a sleeveless hoodie the general rule of thumb is to keep things simple, and not go for too much layering. The hoodie gives off a clean, sports luxe look, so work with that style and pair it with pieces like joggers or shorts to achieve a relaxed, casual finish. If you want to make a layered look proceed with caution.
Anything too loose fit underneath the hoodie is going to look out of place and in the worst case lumpy and unflattering to any shape. It’s best to stick with a slim fit T-shirt in a neutral tone, paired with a hoodie in a similar colour.
If a plain hoodie isn’t for you, then a patterned hoodie could be an option, giving you a more interesting look, with an ability to add some colour or texture (or both) to a simple look. You don’t have to go overboard with the print, and even something simple, like a polka dot design, can give an outfit a boost.
If you want to go for something sleek with more of a modern edge, try a hoodie with a graphic print. You can go as strong as you want with the design, but a more minimalist look is easier to blend in with different outfits.
If you go of a bold patterned hoodie it’s not going to be anywhere near as streamlined and flattering as a simple black hoodie, and the print will only help to draw attention to your body. This is great if you’re a fan of the print and happy with your body, but if you’re looking for something to hide your bulk, this isn’t going to work for you.
Depending on the print on your hoodie you can change up how you style it. If you go for a minimalist design you can easily match it with a simple pair of slim or skinny fit jeans, boots, keeping the hoodie on display to show off the print. If you’re working with something a little more colourful the same rules can apply, as dressing up a bold hoodie with other statement pieces can result in an overkill of colour.
History of The Hoodie
The hoodie has been a wardrobe staple, symbol of youth culture and political declaration in its time. Million hoodie marches were organised a few years back in support of the reportedly unprovoked shooting of hooded teen Trayvon Martin in Florida and back in 2006 good ole Dave pledged for all of us to ‘hug a hoodie’.
Typically associated with urban street wear and couch potatoes, the first hoodie actually graced the backs of teenagers, labourers and athletes in the mid 1930s. It has since built a reputation as the garment of choice for illegitimate street activity and skate culture, but in 1934 it was Champion who transformed the way we wore sweatshirts. The hood was originally added to sweatshirts to protect outdoor workers and sportsmen from the elements whilst providing extra warmth.
Similarly, girlfriends cheering on on the sidelines were just as cold and when they were given the hoodies to keep warm, the hoodie made its way off the track and into the corridors and classrooms.
By the mid ’70s, the hoodie was adopted by artists and criminals on the streets who wanted to keep a low profile. As well as keeping their identities hidden the hoodie could fulfill its original purpose and keep them warm and their faces shielded from cold weather.
Similarly, the beginnings of skate culture demanded the practical qualities as well as the underhand benefits of the hoodie. In the same decade, infamous skaters the Z-boys discovered empty swimming pools and disused car parks were the ideal terrain for skating but they often found they were unwelcome or illegally trespassing. This tradition carried on into the ’80s and has carried on right into the present day – so as to protect their identities, skaters would wear hoodies that hid their faces and disguised their builds if they ever needed to escape. Today they are more a practicality for skaters to keep warm.
The hoodie’s reputation as a streetwear staple was carried into the rap and hip-hop scene throughout the ’80s and ’90s – its anti-establishment roots were befitting of urban music culture. Today the hoodie has lost some of its stigmas and is more commonly associated with loungewear. Comfortable, warm and versatile, it has been picked up and adopted by the likes of Yeezy, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger.
The Best Hoodies for Men
- The classic style hoodie can complement a wide range of shapes, staple item in your wardrobe
- The slouchy hoodie is perfect for most body shapes, even if you’re on the skinny side.
- The zip hoodie is an easy piece to throw on underneath and layer up your outfit.
- The sleeveless hoodie: Make sure it suits your body shape, ideal for the gym.
- The patterned hoodie: Creates a focal point for your outfit.
On That Note
With the right shape and styling, a hoodie can be whatever you want it to be – from a casual, throw on piece with a basic outfit, a warm alternative to a jacket for a morning run, or a way of layering up an outfit ready for the winter. Keep your body shape in mind, and what features you’re okay with accentuating when you’re picking your hoodie, as a difference in fit can make a surprisingly big change to how your final outfit looks.