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At the turn of the 2000s, fleece was everywhere you looked. In 2017, not much has changed really. Lately, it seems that affordable brands and designer houses alike have rediscovered the fluffy fabric and put their own twists on it. And that’s a good thing, because every guy should have some solid fleece in his repertoire.
Patagonia’s Retro-X (normally $199, but it’s currently on sale) is my personal favorite. The moment the mercury drops, it’s ready to take on the elements — and it looks pretty good, too. It’s furry and surprisingly warm, and it blocks out the harsh winter wind. It also serves as the common blueprint for other jackets with a high collar and zippered chest pocket.
By now, the winter months are waning, but there’s still some time before your favorite fleece is relegated to the back of your closet. Or if warmer weather has already struck your city, you can find a heavily discounted option to bust out nine months from now. If you have a fleece Patagonia and love it as much as I do, here are some other great ones, ranging from office-approved to the fuzziest high fashion.
If You Need a Fleece You Can Wear to Work
Don’t rule out wearing a fleece to work; there are plenty of business casual options, like Uniqlo’s simple Fleece Long Sleeve Zip-Up (on sale for the very low price of $5.90) or Columbia’s Steens Mountain Full Zip Fleece 2.0 ($27.96, from $34.95). The latter is made of low-pile fleece that pairs well with loafers, slacks, and an agreeable dress shirt.
Penfield’s Mattawa Fleece ($120) has an ever-so granola feel that doesn’t push the office dress code too far either. Or, if you’re lucky enough to be a size XL, snag one of the last J.Crew Grizzly Fleece Jackets that’s on sale for $99.
If You’re Concerned With Staying Cozy
Menswear favorite Our Legacy’s Polar Fleece Zip-Up Sweatshirt ($375) is a bit pricey, but its polar fleece is guaranteed to keep you well-insulated in the bitter cold as a middle or outer layer. Meanwhile, its slim silhouette won’t turn you into a top-heavy winter warrior.
Polar Skate Co. also lives up to its cold-weather connotation with the Halberg Berber Fleece Jacket ($170) that’s more affordable. With a MA-1-style sleeve pocket and a slouchier fit, staying cozy is a given.
If You’re Looking For a Functional Fleece
Fleece shouldn’t just be comfortable. The North Face Denali 2 Jacket ($179) is meant to take a beating with reinforced shoulders, forearms, and chest, a cinch cord at the hem, and two chest pockets. It’s also made from 50 percent recycled content, for fans of the environment.
Snowboard company Burton makes a mean fleece meant to endure the snow as well. Its AK457 Mid Fleece Jacket ($240) uses fast-drying Polartec material, and it has thumb loops and stretch panels around the waist and on the sleeves. The brand’s bonded-fleece Grove Full-Zip ($149.95) is another slightly cheaper, more casual, and much fleecier option.
If You Need Something Sporty
Nike’s Tech Fleece Zip-Up Hoodie ($155) fits the bill and is a prime example of how strong the cult of Nike Tech Fleece is. It’s not your typical fleece material: It’s stretchy, sleek, and made for the gym — but plays the part of a casual piece just as well. There really is no competition.
If You Want to Make an Impression
Playing with the rules of what qualifies as fleece, this sheepskin B-3 Flight Jacket ($1,050) looks like it jumped straight out of World War II dogfights and into your closet. If nothing else, imagine looking as cool as Tom Hardy even though you’ll never come close. That enormous collar alone is worth the price of admission. Alternatively, you could try your local military surplus shop and find something similar at a more palatable price point.
This J.W. Anderson x A$AP Rocky and AWGE Teddy Fur Jacket ($1,300) probably comes with a certificate of authenticity that says “Yes, the owner of this jacket is into Fashion.” A collaboration between your favorite designer’s favorite designer, Jonathan Anderson, and A$AP Rocky’s AWGE collective, it’s basically begging strangers to ask to feel it. Just be careful who you’re wearing it around.