Few items of clothing blend the worlds of sportswear and wider casual-wear as well as sweatshirts. Originally destined for sporting use, the humble sweatshirt has become an everyday menswear staple, and an extremely comfortable one at that. 

If you're looking for an alternative to your everyday hoodie and want something a bit more laid back than a woollen crew neck knit, a casual sweatshirt is a no-brainer.

The history of the sweatshirt

Originating in 1926, sweatshirts were dreamt up by American football player Benjamin Russel. The story goes that he had enough of wearing heavy wool jerseys, which were both itchy and prone to shrinkage when washed. 

The all-cotton sweatshirt was his alternative, which was far more comfortable and long lasting when worn on the football field. It didn’t take long for the sweatshirt to catch on, and soon both football and baseball players across the USA would favour the simple design. 

Since the 1920s, sweatshirts have been widely adopted outside of sports and, alongside hoodies, are the favoured garment of everyone from skaters to minimalists and just those who appreciate easy, comfortable style. 

Today, the sweatshirt maintains its sporting connotations, and its comfort is more valued than ever. With more people working from home, it deserves credit as perhaps the ultimate stay-at-home piece. But best of all, it’s as easy to wear out of the house as it is in it.  

3 ways to wear the sweatshirt

As loungewear 

The sweatshirt is a natural fit when worn as loungewear. Ideal for lounging around the house or popping to the shops, this look, complete with retro-style sneakers and a backpack is both a comfortable and sophisticated take on luxury loungewear. 

With workwear

You can’t go wrong with workwear. A pair of indigo denim jeans smartens up the sweatshirt, as does suede Chelsea boots and a brown leather belt, taking the humble sweatshirt from sportswear to smart casual with ease. 

With shorts

A sweatshirt comes into its own when worn with shorts. For when it’s not quite warm enough for just a T-shirt, a sweatshirt is ideal for cool spring and summer evenings. Striped socks and Converse complete this old school sports-inspired look. 

Best sweatshirts for men 

ASKET

Masters of the capsule wardrobe, ASKET produces beautiful designed, minimalist clothing made from some of the best fabrics around. The brand’s sweatshirts are constructed from unbrushed Egyptian cotton and feature a slim, tailored fit that suits a range of body types. 

Percival

Percival has made a name for itself by injecting a unique sense of character into classic menswear garments. Known for its signature embroidery, which can be seen on everything from its T-shirts to its sweatshirts, Percival is a go-to if you want a jumper with a coffee pot or a box of noodles sewn into it.

Riley Studio

Renowned for its sustainability efforts, many of Riley Studio’s clothes are manufactured from recycled plastic bottles. The recycled polyester this creates is then combined with organic cotton, meaning its fabrics are both soft and hard wearing.  

Native North

A favourite of OPUMO’s, Native North’s clothing is always incredibly easy to wear and boasts design details you won’t find anywhere else. Take the brand’s signature sweatshirts, which are crafted from 100% cotton and feature raglan sleeves and roomy kangaroo pockets that are usually reserved for hoodies. 

ISTO.

Well-made and simply designed, ISTO.’s clothing is made in Barcelos, Portugal. The brand is transparent about its production costs, so you know you’re getting value for money. Its heavyweight sweatshirts are no different – made from 480 gsm organic cotton and with classic ribbed cuffs and hem, they’re the real deal. 

Shon Mott

Shon Mott’s ultra-soft sweaters are crafted from 100% cotton, so they'll never stretch out or get baggy. With their understated design and slightly slouchy fit, they're ideal for everyday wear with your favourite pair of jeans and go-to sneakers.

Forét

Forét’s workwear-inspired clothing is designed to be virtually interchangeable – pick any four pieces from the brand and they’re likely to go together. Its use of branding is exceptional too. Look out for its cosy sweatshirts, which feature the brand’s logo in an array of different styles, from script writing to block colouring. 

Edmmond Studios

Edmmond Studios creates contemporary menswear staples that are inherently functional, with comfort at their core. Take its classic zip sweater for example: made in Portugal from 100% organic cotton, it's breathable, durable and above all, stylish. The small front pocket is a subtle yet welcome addition.

Café Leather

As its name suggests, Café Leather specialises in the production of leather gloves, wallets and tech device cases, but its organic cotton sweatshirts are just as worth shouting about. Small leather tags at the back and on the front hem act as reminders of the brand's roots in leather craftsmanship.

Neutrale

Neutrale's unisex essentials have garnered a cult following thanks to their inherent versatility and ease-of-wear. Its organic cotton sweatshirts, available in a selection of muted colours, epitomise the brand's laidback aesthetic and emphasis on comfort.

For more stay at home clothing, check out our complete guide to men's overshirts.