While it’s true that the pandemic urged fashionable folk to look at the crewneck sweatshirt and all things loungewear in greater detail, its easy-going style, and youthful demeanor made it a staple of every man’s wardrobe even in the before-times. It has always been ubiquitous and it has always been loved.
Why is the crewneck sweatshirt so fabulous, we hear you ask? It finely balances warmth with lightweight breathability, ease of movement, and stylishness. While it is still firmly in the athletic/casual realm, innovative designers have been setting their creativity free and have elevated the style with embroidery, luxurious materials, and dramatic colors.
This has splintered the style towards refined smart-casual, but the baggier fits have ironically made them perfect for doing absolutely no exercise.
Below, we have expertly curated and joyfully collated the best bundle of crewneck sweatshirts the market currently has to offer. Get ready to enjoy.
History of the Crewneck Sweatshirt
Let’s take you into an alternate fictional reality where the sweatshirt does not exist. There are winter joggers sweating in heavy cable knit jumpers, fell runners huffing and puffing in chore jackets, and soccer players tripping over their trench coats while training. Utterly ridiculous. The crewneck sweatshirt answers the question of: what to wear when exercising outside in the cold?
Benjamin Russel Jr was a football player with a burning sartorial dream. He went to his father, owner of Russell Athletic, in 1926 with the idea to replace the current scratchy wool jerseys with softer cotton versions. With this simple origin story, the crewneck sweatshirt was born, helping to explain its inherently American, sporty, and collegiate feel.
The Best Crewneck Sweatshirts
Sunspel is a brand that is wholly relied upon when it comes to your wardrobe essentials. Since a gray sweatshirt is a foundational piece, it’s unsurprising that Sunspel has scored so highly in all parameters of a good sweatshirt. Its loopback cotton construction means it is as soft on the inside as it is sleek on the outside and its gray shade makes it a dream to style day-to-day.
The innovative V-neck or v-notch stitching helps strengthen the neckline, meaning it won’t falter or waver with time. Plus, the extra thick cotton in the triangle was originally designed to help mop up yet more volume of sweat. All good stuff.
Material: 100% cotton. Trim: 95% cotton, 5% elastane | Size Range: XS -XXL | Care: Machine wash
There are a fine array of color options here, but we have to mention specifically the soft green. Its fresh tone with bursting positivity will look lovely in the warmer months of the year. The decadent plum color is great for when the weather turns cold, while the gray and black will make for seasonless pieces fantastic for year-round styling.
Its chic feel comes from the design simplicity: the soft collar, cozy hems and minimal stitching. Simplicity has been applied to the very soil the sweatshirt was grown from too. The organic cotton construction means that no pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers were used, equating to less water use, and a healthier, more biodiverse agricultural landscape. This sweatshirt is brimming with life.
Material: 100% organic cotton | Size Range: S-XL | Care: Machine Wash (40 degrees, do not tumble dry)
The “Unrecorded” branding on the chest plate is subtly making a statement. Its smart, efficient and stylish font style is setting the melody for this sweatshirt.
Its sharp branding means it could work as an alternative to the office shirt on days when you’re feeling in need of a sartorial hug. The charcoal shade balances this traditional crew neck sweatshirt, making it quite versatile stylistically too; allowing it to flit between casual and smart-casual with ease. It’s made from organic cotton in Portugal, a place known for its high standards of ethical production. What’s not to like?
Material: 100% organic cotton (GOTS) | Size Range: XS – XXL | Care: machine wash (30 degree)
Organic cotton is a positive step since it means less water used and no chemicals. From an ergonomic standpoint, this soft-brushed material almost caresses the skin when worn. The silhouette of this Closed crewneck sweatshirt is given a roomier fit with extended shoulder stitches, which allows it to drape off your frame nonchalantly.
We love the white color too. If you can get over the fear of spillages, the white sweatshirt is a versatile item, making it a good value for money since it will match most of your existing wardrobe.
Material: 100% organic cotton | Size Range: XS-XXL | Care: Machine wash
There’s a bad way to do a fade and there’s a good way: the Wax London way. A soft pastel blue is dyed through the organic cotton exterior with trepidation and care, creating a tasteful style that’s a testament to the brand.
They don’t give this sweatshirt the name “zen” for no reason, it has a chilled facade and aesthetically nudges you to take a more laissez-faire approach to life. Plus, the stitched shoulder construction gives added durability meaning this stylish partner will stick around for even longer.
Material: 100% organic cotton | Size Range: XS-XXL | Care: Machine wash (40 degrees)
The vibrant hues of the embroidery, designed by classic sportswear giant, Champion, (sing out from the plain heather grey cotton-blend background. The embroidery is punched out in London and it depicts eclectic gemstones sprouting out around the well-known and loved Champion logo. The epic rear design contains 113,000 stitches and can take up to three hours to complete.
This is a crewneck sweatshirt that effortlessly merges artistic flair, with vibrant colors, and soft fabrics, culminating in a meaningful celebration of the natural world and a product of real integrity.
Material: Cotton blend | Size Range: XS-XXL | Care: Machine wash (low)
Sometimes a little vibrancy is, well, fun. This Champion sweatshirt makes no mistake about who its creator is as the diagonal branding punctuates the rich maroon background. With soft collared hems at the neckline, cuff, and waist, this sweatshirt will send a shiver of satisfaction down your spine, while on the outside you will be strolling with panache.
As a brand, Champion is an undisputed classic when it comes to sweatshirts. For years, the little “C” emblazoned on the chest of a sweatshirt has been the gold standard of casualwear. It suggests the freedom of your collegiate years: louche, cool, and carefree.
Material: 78% cotton, 22% polyester| Size Range: XS-XXL | Care: Machine wash
Just in case you needed any visual cues as to what the sweatshirt’s heritage might be, GAP has kindly provided it emblazoned across the front: “Sport.” The very fact that this light heather gray sweatshirt is so typically what you expect a sweatshirt to look like, is what makes it so excellent.
The looser fit and snugly cuffed edges mean that it has the complete versatility of sportswear, loungewear, WFH-wear, and casual dressing. It’s the complete archetypal package.
Material: 93% cotton, 7% polyester | Size Range: S-XXL | Care: Machine wash
Don’t be fooled by the ergonomically-friendly kangaroo pouch that provides refuge for your hands, a glance up to the neckline will be met with shock and confusion, as this is not a hoodie. Here, Everlane has combined the coziness of the pouch with the freedom of a hoodless design. The softness of the cotton, teamed up with the ease of the Kingfisher Blue makes this piece very hard to resist.
Owing to the organic cotton’s certification process, it combines well with Everlane’s emphasis on transparency. It’s also guaranteed to be farmed without the use of pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers.
Material: 100% organic cotton | Size Range: XS-XXL | Care: Machine wash cold
The garter stitch weave that permeates this J Crew sweatshirt delivers a sumptuous texture, gives excellent insulating properties, and allows for a bit of stretch too, making it a fine practical choice. But, clothes aren’t all about practicality.
The design boasts a smooth Ivory top half and very French navy Breton stripes below. It’s no wonder this sweatshirt is so damn chic. This sweatshirt has transcended mere casual dressing and has entered the sophisticated echelons of smart-casual.
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XS-XXL | Care: Machine wash
Don’t worry. We all used to think bright orange sweaters were silly once as well. That was until I wore a Carhartt WIP sweatshirt on a shoot around The Barbican, London. Surprise, I am now a convert.
This Carhartt WIP sweatshirt has a particular heft, meaning it’ll be durable, and warm and more importantly, it has the feel of a high-quality garment. Aside from that, the ultra-cozy feeling from the inner lining is certain to paint a smile across your face.
Material: Cotton-polyester blend | Size Range: S-XL | Care: Machine wash
If you aren’t well acquainted with regenerative organic cotton, it is the idea that if you prioritize soil health, a bounty of benefits proceeds from there. Regenerative farming seeks to reinvigorate the livelihood of soil microbiome, water retention, carbon drawdown, biodiversity, and the lives of its farmers. When you consider that 1% of cotton worldwide is grown organically, you begin to appreciate the rarity of being able to purchase regeneratively farmed clothing.
But, enough eco-chat. As a product, it boasts all that you desire from a solid crewneck sweatshirt: insulating, feel-good, and comfortingly casual. The elegance of the mountainous Patagonia logo referencing the beauty of the natural world is enough of a statement by way of styling.
Material: 100% Regenerative Certified Organic French terry cotton. Hem: 89% Regenerative Organic Certified cotton French terry, 11% Spandex | Size Range: XS-XXL | Care: Machine wash
The bright fizz of this lemon yellow sweatshirt by AMI Paris definitely sets it apart from the crowd. Unlike other yellow garments, this piece doesn’t warrant sunglasses just to look at it, but instead has a more pleasing and mellow vibe.
The foundational sweatshirt is constructed with rugged seams through the shoulder blades to ensure the silhouette doesn’t degrade over time and is made from the highest quality cotton. The cuffed wrists, neck, and waist are weighty, comforting, and will stretch to your utmost comfort.
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XS-XL Fit: Designed for a loose fit, so it’s recommended to buy a size up | Care: Machine wash
The addition of the soft fleece is not just clever, innovative, and welcoming, it’s an act of kindness on
Having said that, the nuanced swoosh design with its inverted, background-less counterpart helps retain a sense of modern athleticism.
Material: 80% cotton, 20% Polyester. Hem: 97% cotton, 3% spandex | Size Range: XS-4XL | Care: Machine wash
For the more athletically inclined among you, the recycled Fleece is moisture-wicking (great for a workout), water-resistant (fantastic for outdoor activities), and comes with particular resilience to the degrading effects of constant stretch.
The tightly wrapped sleeves ensure it stays true to your body, doesn’t let the breeze in, and gives a performance edge. The zip side pockets retain the classic silhouette while ensuring your nonchalant posture can still be attained. This is a crewneck sweatshirt for the sports freaks among you.
Material: 91% Recycled Polyester, 9% Elastane Woven Fleece With FlashDry™ and Non-PFC Durable Water-Repellent finish | Size Range: S-XXL | Care: Machine wash
Sometimes, the magnetism of a piece of clothing is captured by its tantalizingly spare presentation.
Material: 100% cotton | Size Range: XS-XL | Care: Machine wash
The power of a good color block to enliven even the most dreary of outfits must not be underestimated. The relentlessly stylish navy blue, combined with the ice-cream cool pistachio hue is neutralized by the white at the bottom.
While L.L. Bean may not have reinvented the wheel or the crewneck sweatshirt, they have given a nice alternative for those looking for something with a point of difference. The cotton-polyester blend makes for a lightweight, energetic feel that’ll stand up to the challenge of repeated washes.
Material: 60% cotton, 40% polyester | Size Range: XS-XXXL | Care: Machine wash
Adidas harnesses the power of the 3-stripe that runs over the top of both arms, plays off the relaxed Quiet Crimson tint below, and creates a unique look only Adidas could produce. In a bid to move towards more sustainable fabrics, Adidas has introduced 30% recycled polyester content here.
The laidback feel of this garment and its heavyweight material make it excellent for winter sports, or just good old-fashioned loungewear.
Material: 70% cotton, 30% recycled polyester | Size Range: XS-XXL | Care: Machine wash (30 degrees)
This product is for those who want to take the chilled feel of pandemic loungewear out into the real world. The snug hand pockets will help keep the extremities warm and your relaxed posture in good stead.
Meanwhile, the black background Lyle & Scott logo brings assured verve to proceedings, making it a crewneck sweatshirt worth showing off to the world. The intelligent use of the off-white propels into the circles of luxury loungewear. This is very classy casual wear.
Material: 62% polyester, 38% cotton | Size Range: M-XXL | Care: Machine wash (30 degrees)
This 100% organic cotton
It makes for a brilliant smart-casual partner in crime, worn with some selvedge jeans, white trainers and even an oxford shirt underneath. You will be batch brewing kombucha, getting excited by fixies and living the hipster dream in no time.
Material: 100% organic cotton | Size Range: XS-XXL | Care: Machine wash
What to look for in a crewneck sweatshirt
Pay close attention to the weight of the fabric. This will greatly affect how insulating, how breathable, and just generally how it will feel on your body. Generally, crewneck sweatshirts are made from cotton, but that could be blended with polyester or recycled polyester.
We are seeing more frequent use of organic cotton and even the beginnings of regeneratively grown cotton, which is the gold standard of ecological benefit.
The timeless design of the crewneck sweatshirt means that subtle color variations make all the difference. Stock your wardrobe with a foundation of white, gray and navy sweatshirts. This is because they will never go out of fashion, are easy to style (reducing stress), and will serve you well in the long term.
Elsewhere, we are loving the paradoxically bold, yet muted tones of the lemon yellow AMI Paris piece and pastel green A Day’s March sweatshirt.
Design is not just aesthetic, it also affects build structure and longevity. V-neck stitching around the neckline of a crewneck sweatshirt helps keep the neckline from warping.
Plus, over-the-shoulder blades, reinforced stitching, and the use of paneling can help guard against structural deformity in the long term. Visually, vibrant embroidery, a tactful chest logo, or a tasteful graphic can add real allure.
A crewneck sweatshirt is a mid-weight cotton top that has athletic/sports heritage but has been adopted into more casual and loungewear applications in the modern day. Thanks to more sophisticated designs and material uses, the style has begun to stretch into more formal realms too.
Its traditional cotton construction means that it does well in the washing machine on a colder wash of around 30 degrees to retain softness and structure of the fabric. Higher temperature washes will speed up the degradation process of the fabric.
Due to its simplicity and versatility, there are no fast rules. Wear it by itself. Wear it over a shirt or t-shirt. Wear it under a jacket or coat. Wear it with jeans, chinos, or matching tracksuit bottoms. The style of the sweatshirt itself will determine your styling choices.
There are two fits: natural and oversized. The natural fit ensures material doesn’t impede sports, exercise, and works well when layering with jackets/coats etc. The oversized fit (one, or possibly two sizes up) is en-vogue and adept for lazy lounging.