Previously considered a look reserved for dads and dog walkers, the fleece has developed something of a bad rep. But we’re pleased to announce that (if you hadn’t already noticed) it’s back! In fact, like other ‘ugy’ pieces you wouldn’t have thought twice about a few winters ago – vintage runners and ripstop pants spring to mind – they’re everywhere right now.
There’s a space of about four decades - between the ages of 10 and 50 - where most people desperately avoid dowdy, practical pieces like fleeces. They don’t fit our emerging teenage style statements, practicality rarely crosses the minds of 20-somethings, and by the time our 30s and 40s come around, we’ll do anything not to look like our parents. Which is how, somewhere along the way, the merits of the fleece fell by the wayside. So for winter 2021, we’re inviting you to reconsider your preconceptions.
While brands like The North Face and Colombia never stopped producing fleeces for their more dedicated fans, it’s been a while since we’ve seen them on high street shelves. But 2021’s melting pot of 90s, normcore, and post-pandemic comfy clothing has made the perfect space for the fleece to re-enter the style stage. So if you’re in need of some inspiration, let us share how we’re wearing ours this winter.
High neck? Check. Practical lining? Check. Super-chunky weave? Check. The Garbstore Canadienne Fleece has it all. Okay, it’s not completely classic: it opts for a full- rather than half-zip fastening so it can double up as a jacket and features eye-catching corduroy panel. But we reckon that just adds to its outdoorsy appeal.
The half-way point
Somewhere between the classic fleece and a jacket is Folk’s Puzzle Fleece. It comes in bold navy and pink block panels, or a neutral oatmeal for the less daring dresser. It’s a perfect example of how Folk takes classic styles and adapts them for the contemporary wardrobe – large pockets give it practical appeal, while the zip-up front gives it a more wearable, everyday feel.
The subtle take
Kestin’s Skye jacket might not look like a fleece, but a peek inside proves otherwise. If you’re not into the full practical look but want to reap the benefits of the warm winter fabric, this one’s for you. You can wear it anywhere, from work to chilly weekend walks, but we especially love it with a formal pair of trousers for a play on smart casual style.
The modern twist
YMC’s Beach jacket is technically a fleece, if we’re talking about fabric alone. It doesn’t embody the full, jumper-style fit of a typical fleece. But with a button-up front and cosy rolled shawl collar, we think it fits the bill. In fact, if you’ve got a big chunky fleece that you love to wear on the weekend, the Beach is the perfect compromise for cold days when you wish you could wear your cosy favourite but need to keep things a little smarter. Plus, it’s lined with a breathable light mesh fabric that will prevent it from feeling stuffy.
The bold choice
Stan Ray’s high-pile fleece comes in khaki as well as this statement purple. But if you’re into bolder pieces, this is the pinnacle. Too often, outdoor style forfeits its wearer’s style needs in favour of absolute practicality. But Stan Ray shows us how it’s done. Water-resistant panels, a two-way zip, plenty of pockets, and a thick, warm fabric tick all the boxes for practical wear… And we think standing out against grey winter backdrops is a functional-yet-fashionable feature, too.
The fleeces just keep coming at North Cross Road, and though you get a good sense of their style online, some of these fabrics are just screaming out to be touched. Come down and check them out, and in the meantime, browse our full collection of fleeces here.
Want to know more? Get in touch with any questions.