Clothing with some form of attached cowl dates back at least to medieval times. The modern hooded sweatshirt is the culmination of an apparel style invented by monks that has since found its way into the wardrobe of everyone from hip-hop artists to carpenters. More than a shirt and less than a jacket, a hoodie’s utilitarian design and wide range of thermal comfort is hard to beat. Own one to wear over or under other layers, or buy in volume to brand with school, team, or company logos. Keep these tips in mind when searching for one of the most practical articles of clothing you can own.

Classic Fit

This model has a drawstring closure. Gildan

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Hooded sweatshirts have more bulk than most garments. That makes them prone to shrinking. Look for a hoodie containing no more than about 50 percent cotton with a blend of polyester or some other synthetic fabric. That will minimize shrinkage. It is also prudent to buy a size slightly larger than you normally wear.

Extra Warmth

This model has ribbed cuffs to seal in heat. Amazon Essentials

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For a more functional garment, consider a hooded sweatshirt with a full-length zipper. Wriggling out of a pullover is never easy, and a zip-front design allows you to wear the hoodie more like a jacket, peeling it off or putting it on as changes in weather dictate.

Sporty Look

This garment is machine washable. Carhartt

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All other things being equal, opt for oversized front pockets. Despite being a little bulkier, one of the advantages of a pullover versus a zip-front hoodie is that the “kangaroo” pocket connects from both sides so that you can lock hands and preserve heat. Double-stitched seams around the pocket, hood, and sleeves are a good indicator of durable clothing, but triple stitching is even better.