You may think fleece offers lots of warm fuzzies — and little else.
While it is also often considered a performance fabric well-suited for layering up in the great outdoors, fleece can go from merely warm and functional to fiercely cool in no time flat. An updated round of styles put a fashionable spin on the look to fight the winter chill in style, whether you’re hiking through snowy terrain or just suiting up for the briskness of a city day.
We’ve found some fleece alternatives to add to the rotation that will certainly have you taking a second look. Here’s to the flip side of fleece.
1. Nike Tech Fleece Hoodie
A new evolution of modern fleece, the Nike Tech Fleece Hoodie offers lightweight warmth with thermal construction while the double-faced jersey creates a sleek look and smooth feel. The hood doubles as a high-cut collar for additional coverage and hipster-cool attitude. Colors including teal-blue, burgundy-red, and classic black are made to pair with just about anything. You can even invest in a pair of the matching fleece track pants with cuffed hems if you desire. Plus, there are eye-catching camo pattern variations, which are a modern move for the gym or for athletic-inspired streetwear that’s made for sauntering around in style.
2. Elka Harbour Jacket
From the Danish rainwear makers at Elka, the Harbour Jacket is a sturdy fleece that is ideal for layering in cold seasons. But what we love is that the piece is tailored like a shirt and gives the appearance of handsome structure with black zip trim and two large front pockets. It wouldn’t be out of place layered with dark jeans, sneakers, and a topcoat, or worn with trousers and dress shoes for the corner office.
3. Creep Polar Fleece Cardigan
Combining innovative Japanese design with the simple beauty of functional American work wear, Creep boasts minimal staples that bring maximum impact. The Creep polar fleece is rendered in dual shades of navy with contrast zipper, bringing a touch of flair to an ordinary cardigan. The color is the real winner here. But, like the Elka Harbour Jacket, don’t be afraid to wear this cardi under a more structured overcoat and with navy trousers to increase the tailored appeal. Or just throw it on with joggers and lug boots for an off-duty statement ensemble.
4. Uniqlo Fleece Jacket
As an ultimate purveyor of fast-fashion, Uniqlo has accessible fleece that likewise goes the distance, claiming that it is made with special threads that store thermal energy from the sun, so it is 1.5 times as warm as conventional fleece. Simple and straightforward, the long-sleeve full-zip jacket features color-blocked styling, which always creates a handsome impact. Shades of red and navy, black and gray, and blue and light-blue are among the crisp offerings that really pop. A zippered breast pocket adds an outdoorsy touch for those looking for slightly more rugged appeal.
5. Fjällräven Sarek Fleece Hoodie
Swedish outdoor outfitter Fjällräven has been producing functional pieces since the early 1960s. Yet the Sarek Fleece Hoodie is a completely modern option that was designed to withstand the elements, with a thick cotton blend fleece fabric featuring reinforced G1000 edging over the yoke, at pocket openings, and on the elbows for extra durability. But what really puts this jacket in the lead is its basic design that’s striking with stone-gray hues, a stylish (and purposeful) front pocket, and leather elbow patches. Plus, the bright addition of an orange zipper pull acts as the exclamation point to this hooded option.
6. Our Legacy Shaggy Fleece Sweater
If you’ve had enough of the fleece hoodie and jacket offerings, Our Legacy has another option. The shaggy black fleece sweater features crew-neck styling and a straight fit so it’s a shoo-in for nearly anything you wish to wear — from black denim to distressed jeans. But we recommend donning it with tailored trousers for a cool (and warm) alternative to the basic button-down dress shirt.