No longer just for middle-aged dads, I promise, the fleece is now a practical wardrobe essential for even the most stylish of women. Why the 180? Well, we can thank the normcore trend, mostly, as well as a general lean towards greater comfort after a tumultuous few years.
But whatever the reason, we’re thankful. All you need to do is decide which style suits you best; are you a retro half-zip type of gal? Perhaps you want something contemporary and understated? Fear not, we have rounded up the six best brands for fleeces right now…
Patagonia has seen a surge in popularity over the last few years thanks to the rise of normcore and its admirable sustainability principles. Last year the brand’s founder announced that all of Patagonia’s profits going forward would be plowed into efforts to fight the environmental crisis, an unprecedented move. What this means for us as consumers is that we can feel pretty good about buying from them.
The brand’s fleece selection ranges from casual to technical depending on what you require, with half zip, full zip and hooded styles available. Patagonia also guarantees all of their items and offers a free repair service for most products, a way of extending their lifespan for as long as possible.
Though it’s been around for less than a decade, Arket is a firm high street favourite, offering pieces that carefully tread the balance between trend-led and timeless, stylish and practical.
You can rely on them to have at least a couple of really great fleece options each autumn/winter season, like this hoodie, which looks just as good with workout leggings and trainers as it does jeans and boots. The quality is excellent and worth the prices, which sit at the mid-top end of the high street.
The North Face
Another brand to benefit from the rise of normcore, The North Face is beloved for its technical outerwear and style credentials, thanks in part to collaborations with brands including Gucci and Supreme. Its fleeces are guaranteed to tick all the functional boxes you need without looking boring. The Cragmont jacket is a great layering piece thanks to its drop shoulders – pop it under a light coat in early spring or underneath a duvet coat as an extra buffer against the chill in winter.
Good old Uniqlo, it really can’t be beaten when it comes to value and performance. This windproof fleece jacket is the perfect balance between warmth and style. Its boxy style makes it smart enough to wear to work, but it looks just as good when thrown over loungewear at the weekend. The Heattech range of fleece items is also well worth the the money – so toasty and will last you years!
Thought Free People was all about boho dresses best suited to the beach? Think again. The US label is really good at winter wear too and it offers a welcome flash of colour you don’t get from many of the other high street brands. The Hit The Slopes fleece is gloriously rainbow-hued and retro in style. Wear it oversized over everything until winter starts to thaw.
Lucy & Yak
Lucy & Yak is a brilliant British brand that you may not have heard of before. Founded by Lucy Greenwood, it started life as a Depop store selling vintage finds before Lucy and her partner decided to design and sell their own pieces, all handmade by a small team in India.
The brand has since grown to cult status thanks to its colourful, comfortable designs and joy-inducing prints. The supply chain is totally transparent, and the fleeces are all made from recycled bottles – so you can stay cosy and help keep the ocean clean of plastic too.