How To Style A Hoodie

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The humble hoodie may not be the most fashion-forward item of clothing in your wardrobe but I'd be willing to bet that a large percentage of you do indeed have one on your wardrobe. Some of you are likely wearing one as you read this. The hoodie is warm, comfortable, practical and versatile menswear staple and it makes sense that most of you will own at least one in your lifetime. While you can easily rock a hoodie around the house, you can also use it as part of a cool, casual weekend outfit (that won't get you stopped by doormen and bouncers) if you pair it with the right pieces.

 

If you're wondering why I threw in that line about bouncers, well it's because the hoodie has had somewhat of a troubled past. There was a time when a hoodie could have been likened to a balaclava in that it was something that would instantly mark you out as a would-be criminal/trouble maker/thug. Thankfully, over the years the hoodie has been rehabilitated and is no longer viewed as something to send passers-by straight to the other side of the street. Having been embraced by designers and heavily featured on runways, the hoodie is now more likely to been seen as a symbol of the athleisure fashion movement than of troubled youth.

 

Thanks to this new found love for mixing sportswear with luxury wear, the hoodie can now be incorporated into almost any type of outfit and still look presentable. So, here's a handy guide on how to style a hoodie.

 

A Layered Look

 

As much as we love the hoodie for its comfort and versatility, one of its biggest strengths is its ability to be unassuming. When used as part of a layered look, the hoodie has the ability to blend in perfectly without making too much of an individual statement. The statement is usually best left to the outer layer so the hoodie is there to act as a wingman making for an overall stylish aesthetic while keeping you warm at the same time.

 

One of the best ways to layer a hoodie is to wear it underneath a leather jacket. As well as offering plenty of warmth, this combination is also stylish and edgy. Pair a black biker jacket with a black zip-up hoodie, add some slim fit jeans in black for a tough, rocker aesthetic or blue for a more urban feel. If you want to give the look a lift then break up the black with a plain white or grey crew neck under your open hoodie. Finish with some box-fresh white trainers for a casual vibe or go with a pair of leather Chelsea boots to smarten things up.

This template will work for most types of casual outfits, although you'll need to switch up colours and styles depending on the type of jacket you're wearing over the hoodie. If you're wearing a shearling jacket, for example, it's best to steer clear of black and lighten the look with softer shades. A brown leather or suede shearling jacket works well with a light grey hoodie and blue jeans.

 

An Athleisure Look

 

Athleisure (athletic and leisure) is where comfort and coolness go hand in hand. Thanks to some clever fashion designers, you can now wear a hoodie and joggers with a smart overcoat, a pea coat, a parka or a bomber and you won't run the risk of looking like you were too lazy to get changed out of your gym gear. To master the look, team a black or grey pullover hoodie with matching fitted joggers and slip on a pair of minimal leather sneakers. From there the choice is yours, depending on the type of style statement you want to make. For a contemporary urban vibe, consider a bomber jacket. While the combination isn't as classic as other partnerships, it can work just as well thanks to the bomber's current popularity and the basic design of the hoody and joggers. If you want to smarten things up a little, an overcoat is always an excellent choice. It's a look I've recommended in the past for going Christmas shopping as your outfit is smart enough that you don't look out of place in a fancy department store with the added bonus that you're in comfortable clothes while carrying shopping bags back to the car.

 

A Tailored Look

 

The sports meets suit look is probably the hardest to master and if you're going to wear a hoodie with a suit or blazer, you're either going to nail it or look like you were given someone else's clothes to wear when your own got covered in muck. Sure, a hoodie teamed with a pair of slim fit jeans and white sneakers is a tried and tested combo that's easy and works. But if you want to level up, try layering a zip-up hoodie under an unstructured suit for a smart casual look that tears up the traditional rulebook. For a slightly less risky way to mix smart and casual, a hoodie worn with a pair of smart trousers is the way to go. Opt for a neutral colour hoodie, then add a pair of trousers and minimalist white trainers. If you're feeling adventurous, try a pattern in the trousers, such as pinstripes or checks.

 

Patrick McLoughney