Hoodie vs. Sweatshirt

Hoodies and crewneck sweatshirts have a lot in common at first sight. Both are classic sportswear garments – quite often made of the same fabrics. They are both worn by many people of all ages and sexes. The main difference, of course, is that a hoodie has a hood and a sweatshirt does not. But the differences do go further…

But what exactly are the differences? When should you were one or the other? Here, we summarise the advantages and disadvantages of these two style classics..

General properties of sweatshirts and hoodies

A sweatshirt is a long-sleeved pullover garment. It covers the upper body and the arms, just like a hooded sweater.

  1. Material: The fabrics used have the same general properties. Whether they are made from classic French Terry or other types of knit – either cotton, plastic or other materials – depends on the manufacturer. But there is no fundamental distinction between the sweatshirt and the hoodie when it comes to material.
  2. Collar: A sweatshirt can be worn alone or with an additional garment, such as a shirt or T-shirt. This is similar to a hoodie, but in the hoodie’s case you can’t wear anything underneath that is supposed to be visible because the hood offers no room for it (more on this topic below).
  3. Details: A sweatshirt normally has no buttons, hooks or zippers and is therefore the simpler garment. A hoodie, on the other hand, not only has a hood as an extra but often also cords that peep out of the hood to tighten it. Some hoodies also have a zipper so you can opt to wear it open. Another common design nuance of the Hoodie is the Kangaroo pocket at the front, which can’t be found on a typical Sweatshirt.
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Hoodies & Sweatshirts: Background

Before there was the hoodie as we know it today, sweatshirts were the usual sportswear and outdoor workwear. The US company Champion pioneered the making of sweatshirts after developing a process for sewing thicker materials.

Gangster (Hoodie) vs. Sporty (Sweatshirt)

Unlike the crewneck sweatshirt, hoodies became more and more popular in the New York hip-hop culture of the 1970s. Back then, graffiti artists in particular liked the ‘hood’ to hide their identities from law enforcers while illegally tagging walls and subways. And even today, graffiti artists choose their hoodies according to how big the hood is. Thus, this item has some controversial connotations – especially among the white upper class.

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The crewneck sweatshirt on the other hand was spared and has always been regarded as staple sports and workwear.

The Rise of Hoodies & Sweatshirts

Nevertheless, both sweatshirt variants became more and more popular. American universities used both styles to print or embroider their logos on them, which is still a common and extremely popular fashion trend today that has spread to Europe and across the globe.

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