Fleece is one of the warmest, coziest fabrics around. Typically it’s made of polyester but can be comprised of any fabric. What gives fleece its…fleeciness…is that it’s soft with a deep pile—the raised surface, or nap, of textiles. Polar fleece, the most common kind found in cold-weather gear, has a soft nap and is super insulating. A sweatshirt or jacket made of the stuff will be your go-to garment when things are chilly.
A classic midweight with a high collar and elasticized cuffs works on its own or layered under a coat. Side-seam pockets mean you can leave your wallet at home, making it hike- and bike-friendly. Amazon Essentials
Though polar is the most common type of fleece, there are others. Microfleece is great for anyone looking for a bulk-free option. Sherpa is its opposite: super fluffy and soft, like a comfy robe. Cotton-blended fleece is soft but not as insulating, Lycra-spandex fleece has stretch, and bonded fleece is extra-tough because it’s bonded to another material to make it wind-proof or waterproof.
A 50 percent cotton, 50 percent polyester preshrunk knit will retain its size and shape, so what you see is what you get. This one has double-needle stitching at the waistband and cuffs, and pouch pockets. Gildan
Sometimes it’s the little details that make all the difference. Do tags irritate you? Look for satin ones, or at the very least a label you can snip out (i.e. that’s not sewn into the fabric on all sides). Are you sometimes sensitive to fabrics? Choose a style that’s at least 50 percent cotton.
This quick-drying slip-on style features an open snorkel neckline. The ribbed cuffs and hem provide extra insulation—perfect for anyone who plans to wear this in place of a jacket. Under Armour
Check the fit description! Some fleece sweatshirts are cut to be roomy, others are streamlined and fitted. Take into consideration how you want to wear yours, including whether you’ll want to layer it over other shirts, or under a coat or rain parka.