The hoodie has long been associated with renegade
youths, gym junkies and rappers with a penchant
for ill-fitting clothes.
But the humble cotton top is seeing a resurgence
as men adopt an ‘elegant comfort’ approach to
their off-duty attire. So, how does one style the
hoodie, and not mimic a hooligan teenager? Listen
up home boy.
BREAKING IT DOWN
The only way to wear a hoodie (dressed-up) is to
put to death any hopes and ideas of neon patterns
and bunchy fits (save that for a Nineties, hip-hop
themed party, ok?) Today, the hoodie is a great
layering component under a nice fitting top coat or
trench. Or, it’s a slim-fitting sweater option
(zipped or without) worn neatly on its own.
Just as sneakers, track pants and jeans have
undergone sizing changes in recent years, the
youthful hoodie has too. It’s all a part of growing
up, really. Because, as men, sloppy just isn’t good
#1 FORMFITTING SHAPE
Like anything ‘dressed-up’, the drape and fit of the
hoodie needs to be snug and slim. Gone are the
days of ill-fitting, gangster hoodies, which bunch at
the stomach and give the wearer an unwelcomed
gut. Instead, the shape is almost jacket like for
most luxury versions, as the lines between fashion
and sports continue to blur.
But the reworked model doesn’t compromise on
comfort. Look for shoulders that are cut to form a
neat silhouette and opt for a hood compartment
that is double layered, ensuring it maintains its
#2 GO MONOCHROME
This might be an obvious point, but still (some
people need reminding) black isn’t just for goths
or fashion editors. Anything ‘casual’ looks more
dressed-up in a plain colour: black, white or grey.
But this doesn’t mean you need to look like a chess
board. Experiment with muted colour too (think
mustard, marsala red, navy and olive green).
Style-wise, pair a plain, patternless hoodie with
dark denim and clean cut sneakers or brogues –
the latter is a more playful version of the typical
lace-up and matches the quirkiness of the hoodie.
#3 FOCUS ON FABRIC
It’s amazing what quality fabrics can do to a
garment. Like a suit, polyester and other synthetic-
cotton blend make the average hoodie look, and
feel nasty. A big textile win is a hoodie in pure-
cotton jersey. Cotton is breathable and if you’re
headed out make cause the sweats, while jersey
translates the softness back into cotton, and
eliminates the crinkled elements known to some
Another cool fabric this season is neoprene. Built
like a wetsuit, the spongey fabric speaks volumes
to sportsluxe look big in men’s wear. Pair the
hoodie with cotton-jersey jogger pants – tailored at
the ankle and some luxury sneakers.
But if you want to spend a pretty penny, look to
cashmere-silk blends. But be warned, once you go
cashmere, cotton simply won’t cut it.
#4 WORK IT LIKE A WAISTCOAT
Here’s the fun part; dressing-up the hoodie. The
smoothest way is to treat the hoodie like you would
a waistcoat, especially the zip-through kind. Pick a
neutral-hue (grey is perfect) and layer (zipped-up)
over a cut-away collared shirt and tie (nonchalantly
tucked into the open tuck of the hoodie).
Wear like this or put on an unstructured wool-
cotton blazer (think navy and double-breasted for
ramped-up chic-ness). Shades and cotton chinos
come next. And you’ll be looking sprezzatura in no
#5 LOOK TO HYBRIDS
By hybrid, we mean quasi-blazer hoodies and utility
variations. The former is the most sophisticated,
recognised perhaps for its breast pocket, complete
with a dandy pocket square. One brand offering
dapper hoodies is L’Estrange. Their posh hoodies
come with internal pockets and paisley patterned
satin-lining, much like an unstructured blazer.
Otherwise, functional-ise the hoodie with metalic
hardware, bold front pockets and cool zips and
clips. Big name brands like Givenchy and
Balenciaga are even plonking leather panels onto
hoodies this season and decentralising zips for
utility hoodie hybrids. Now, these are hoodies – at
their most refined.