No one can deny the extreme popularity of today’s modern hoodie. What began as a military sweatshirt design for those who were undergoing basic training has evolved into one of the most popular articles of clothing for folks of all age groups.
You might remember the very popular sweatshirts that took off in the 1970s, captivating both youth and adults. We saw them everywhere, with embroidered or screenprinted logos of popular sports teams, even rock bands were selling pullovers in amazing volumes.
Everyone loves to express themselves, and pullovers were one of the first ways to create a custom article of clothing to show off your areas of interest. Not surprisingly, over time we made significant advancements in both comfort and functionality.
The Athletic Sweatsuit
This was really an offshoot of the pullover. As coats began to lose their popularity because they were bulky and needed to be stored someplace as soon as you went inside, consumers began looking for replacements that could be worn everywhere. It became important that fabrics were breathable, stretchy enough that you could engage in a wide variety of physical activities without chafing and discomfort, and durability was an important differentiator.
One of the first variations became the sweatsuit, which paired a pullover style top with what was known as “wet” pants. These were made out of very lightweight polyester materials that had effectiveness in holding and body heat, but still allowed an acceptable level of breathability.
They were also available in sporty designs that made even nonathletic people appear to be gym rats! You can be sure that this was an important feature amongst image-conscious consumers.
Over time, companies like Under Armour, Champion and others have been able to achieve the same benefits, maybe even better breathability and fit, while reducing bulk. These materials are more expensive, but the quite popular with athletes.
The Emergence of the Hoodie
Probably the most revolutionary design feature added to a traditional pullover has been the hood. Most come with a drawstring that’s adjustable, but the ultimate goal is to protect one from outdoor elements.
Obviously, putting the hood over your head can keep rain or snow from making you damper or colder, but the drawstring allows you to pull the hood tight around your face. This can be incredibly comfortable when the wind is blowing hard. No longer does rain need to trickle down your neck and onto your back because you are unprepared.
Better Features and Still Customizable
An hoodies still have all the same usable real estate that pullovers do! You’ll find every variety of logo on a hoodie. Sports teams, special interests, celebrations of outdoor activities… Everything that one can imagine is either screenprinted or embroidered onto modern hoodies.
Traditional pullover style hoodies often have kangaroo pouches on the front, capable of stowing away your keys, wallets, IDs etc. this can be incredibly useful when you are on the go, at the mall or just attending events.
But if you’re participating in outdoor activity, you might favor the custom zip up hoodies instead. You give up the pouch, but you have the ability to quickly unzip if he builds up too fast. And the appliqué of sports team or hobby is still possible with a zippered hoodie.
These come in a variety of fabric selections. Some people favor the comfort and softness of 100% cotton. It’s breathable, but doesn’t necessarily have the pliability of modern fabrics. That’s why others like polyester blends, with a more silky and “movable” feel to them.
On the soccer pitch for in endurance events such as running, bicycling etc., stretchable materials are less likely to cause chafing and give you a better range of motion.
Where to Buy
Be careful when shopping for custom garments online. If you’re not careful to double check the quality of the materials and the accuracy of the cut, you might wind up with something that doesn’t fit properly. Or you could wind up with something that pills easily and doesn’t hold up under lots of activity. For that reason, if you do choose to shop online, stick with retailers who allow consumers to write objective reviews. This will give you a better indication of what you’re about to order.
Of course, there are a wide variety of online outlets that specialize in totally custom here. You can even upload high resolution images and have those screenprinted on your order. That’s harder to do, obviously, in traditional stores.
Regardless, make sure you educate yourself first about the differences in fabrics. You want to make sure that you select a material and size appropriate for a variety of activities and climates.