Every year around this time people get excited because it is “hoodie season.” Yes, hoodies are so popular in this country that they have their own season. And people are happy about it. I know I do.
There's something fabulous about wrapping your upper body in a soft fleece garment with a hood that will keep you warm and cozy when the weather gets colder. But with dozens of brands and hundreds of models on the market, how do you know which one to choose? And what do you need to know if you want to design a custom sweater?
I'm here to answer these questions and give you some tips. In this post, I'll go over the different styles and fabrics, how and where to print hoodies, how to wear a hoodie, and even the best way to fold one. Plus recommendations.
1. How to choose the right hoodie
Not all hoodies are the same. If you're looking for the perfect hoodie, there are a few important things you should consider before placing an order: the style, the fabric, and the brand. Here is a quick overview of these things:
There are two main types of hoodies to customize: a pullover and a full-zip one.
If you look around the internet, you can also find quarter-zip hoodies, button-downs, side zips, or feather fringe with remote-controlled LED lights, but these are rare and specific to a particular brand or designer gone rogue.
The main difference between the two main styles is how to dress them, and the names are self-explanatory:
Pros: More fashionable, more versatile in terms of wearing options, and the zipper can be used for temperature regulation.
Cons: Pressure on the zipper is problematic, zippers can break, and on some brands they can curl or bend outward.
Pros: Warmer, easy to print on the chest area and even on the front of the bag (more on printing points below).
Disadvantages: You can't regulate the temperature like you can with a full-length zipper. You can either keep them on or take them off. That's your decision.
Similar to t-shirts, hoodies are made from all sorts of fabrics and blends. There's the soft, classic favorite made from 100% cotton. There's the moisture-wicking performance and ever-advancing technological development of 100% polyester. There are cotton-polyester blends and the best of all three worlds: tri-blends.
So what is the absolute softest, you ask?
Sweatshirt fleece is a type of fabric that can be made from a variety of materials, as described above. Essentially it's made from shredded loops of yarn on the inside - it's brushed so it's all frayed, fluffy and soft. If you've felt the inside of your hoodie, it's usually fleece. It's super soft and keeps you warm. Want to know what's even softer than fleece? Sponge fleece. I'm not sure what that means, but I have one and it's definitely softer. It even sounds softer. And spongier. But not as absorbent as terry cloth.
You know Terry, right? From France? It's cool, but French terry is a different type of fabric. With French terry, the yarn loops remain intact. It's not as soft as fleece, but while sweatshirt fleece is a heavier material that keeps you warmer, French terry, as a lightweight material, can help keep you cooler. Because it is also very absorbent and breathable. That's why towels are made from it. And other things. So take fleece in winter, and terry cloth when it's warmer outside.
Hoodies that FTS recommends
Here are my recommendations from our catalog, in pullover and full-zip versions. I divided them into good, better, best. This classification is based on quality, and price usually follows - but not always. So ask a sales representative or use our online calculator to find out which sweater is best for you.
Click on the links below to go to the respective product pages. If the item you have chosen is not available in the colors you are looking for, we can always find something that matches what you are looking for in our extended catalog. Simply call us or chat with us.
2. How do you print a hoodie?
This versatile garment offers a variety of possible print locations and can be printed using various printing methods, but it also has some limitations and potential problems. As with so many other things, the rule of thumb here is to keep it simple. Better yet, keep it classy. Let's first look at the printing areas and then go into the methods and problems:
Limitations when printing hoodies
For hoodies with a zipper, printing on the front is a no-go. There are a few different ways to do it, but even if you do it right, you'll usually end up with a gap or a chunky ink stain. Nobody wants that. The exception to this rule concerns:
- Printables that have a gap for the zipper and are measured to be in the center (e.g. spaced letters).
- Hoodies with a so-called “kissing zipper,” where two thin tabs cover the metal.
- A printer that uses a special platen roller with a small depression in which the zipper sits to prevent ink from settling.
For hoodies , the print height on the front is limited due to the pocket (if present). Typically the maximum height is 10″, but it is lower for smaller hoodies.
Another limitation is that the print area on the bag is much smaller than it looks.
Also, we can't print animated GIFs. Yes, people asked.
3. How to order the right size hoodies
Now that you know what style you want to buy and how you're going to customize it, it's time to figure out what size hoodies you need. In general, the size of the hoodies corresponds to the size you would normally wear for t-shirts.
But as always, there are exceptions, most of which have to do with specific brands, styles, fits and the differences between men's and women's cuts. Then you should consider whether your personal style comes into play .
For example, some people want oversized hoodies . It's a whole thing. Others prefer them tight and form-fitting. That's why it's important to know the end user or target group. If you're placing a group order for a team or your family, just ask what people prefer. Simply.
Think of it this way: There's people's actual height, and then there's their preferred height .
When ordering online, the main thing you should do is check the product specifications to see if they match standard sizes or compare models. Also look at the photos of the product on models and compare them with other models and brands. Pay attention to areas that are baggy or tight— you may notice big differences .
Standard fit vs. fashion fit hoodie
Previously, the selection of t-shirts, hoodies and other tailored sportswear was limited. Then American Apparel came along and changed the game with side seams and “fashion fit” cuts. These items fit better and were more flattering .
Needless to say, they were a huge success. Nowadays there are many brands that offer fashion fits (also known as retail fit, slim fit, Euro fit or just fitted). Personally, I can no longer wear the loose, normal-cut things. OK, maybe at home.
Women's clothing has always been tailored, but now there is men's clothing that conforms to the body and offers a slimmer profile for fashion-conscious women. These models often feature thinner, mixed fabrics and well-thought-out details . Of course you have to pay a little more for it. But it's worth it for something that gets worn so often.
Read the descriptions carefully: If it doesn't say “fashion fit,” “retail fit,” or “slim fit,” it's probably a standard model .
Men's and unisex hoodies compared to women's hoodies
One of the most important decisions when buying in bulk is whether to order exclusively unisex models or men's and women's models. Because not all hoodies are available for both men and women . If they don't, it's called unisex.
Unisex is basically the same as men's . In other words, they didn't bother designing a women's version.
When you see a model that is described as a men's model, there is usually also a counterpart or companion model for women . Did they understand that?
Check out the differences in fit (due to the cut) in the image above. The biggest difference is that women's hoodies are generally more fitted to the female figure . In particular, they taper at the waist and then taper further at the hips. Men's sweaters typically have more room in the waist, shoulders and arms.
Keep in mind that if you are purchasing for a wide range of sizes, the women's version may not extend up to the extra large sizes and is generally too small for plus size women. I have already experienced that the fashion sizes for women are “small”. So you may end up with leftover stock because some people need a size or two more than they would normally wear.
And if you're going for the oversized look shown above, go for unisex . If you want to be on the safe side, you should order the larger sizes. As a wise man in the sales department once told me: “Sizes that are too big can still be worn, sizes that are too small stay in the box.”
If you need a guide to choosing a typical size distribution, check out my post about placing a bulk order.
4. How to wear a hoodie
An easier question would be how not to wear a hoodie. It is one of the most versatile pieces in any wardrobe.
The hoodie used to only be seen in gyms, at football games and in hip-hop videos, but today it has become indispensable for many people because of its versatility in everyday life and increasingly as a fashion item of clothing.
Let's look at the different ways you can wear a hoodie and also some ways you shouldn't wear it
Hoodies for strolling through town
How about a hoodie and a blazer? It may seem like an odd juxtaposition, but somehow it works. It can be attributed to a trend called high-low fashion: the combination of formal and casual.
The origins of this particular look are quintessentially American – because of the hoodie.
Some articles attribute it to sports schools that produced legends like LeBron James, who then brought him to the NBA, and of course it took off from there. I would go for pants or jeans – not sweatpants. Pants? Clear.
Hoodies at work
Sometime in the early 90s, business and casual looks merged to form business casual. Or “biz-caj” if you want to make people’s eyes roll. Hawaiian Shirt Friday was somehow involved. It seems like it's been around for a while, right? Nope.
It emerged around the time Silicon Valley start-up culture was spreading across the country. This also gave rise to the casual look of the corporate hoodie. Thanks to Zuckerberg, the hoodie is the look of a billionaire.
If a hoodie and t-shirt are too casual for your office, choose the hoodie and shirt combination. That's me in the middle.
Casual hoodie combinations
Wearing a hoodie under a jacket is the most popular combination – and for good reason. It's comfortable, keeps you warm and is a real eye-catcher. Most of the time it is like that.
Leather and denim jackets look best with hoodies. Bomber jackets and uniform jackets also look great, as do sturdy work jackets or even a wool trench coat.
It's a matter of personal style and the ability to combine layers that make sense. Try out some combinations in the mirror - or ask a trustworthy (and fashionable) friend.
Hoodies at home
At home it's a different story. Everything is allowed at home. And anyone who owns a hoodie knows: it makes an excellent pajama top . There's nothing more comfortable at home than a hoodie with pajama pants.
If you don't have a hoodie, you're missing out, at least in this regard. With a thick fleece sweater and a flannel sweater, you are the epitome of coziness.
With a cup of hot cocoa, Netflix, and some cozy socks, you'll never want to leave the house again.
5. How to fold a hoodie
Saving space is all the rage these days, and everyone is looking for ways to manage their drawers and storage space. Hoodies are not easy to fold and end up being unwieldy and bulky.
My advice is to just hang them in the closet . This makes them easy to access and takes up less space than in a drawer.
How to fold a hoodie: hang it up.
Okay, there are situations where you have to fold it, e.g. E.g. when packing for a trip or putting away winter clothes. That's how it works.
The clean and tidy way to fold a hoodie
This isn't exactly Marie Kondo, but it's close. And it will bring joy. Zip the zipper up, lay it flat and start folding along the parallel lines on the sides. Fold the arms so they are pointing straight down, then the hood down, then the bottom up and over. Boom, done.
There are a lot of folding instructions online that tell you to wrap the hood around the whole thing at the end - and I have no idea why. Shall we make a football out of this? This will also likely overstretch the hood. Not recommended.
Folding a hoodie for presentation
Let's say you sell your custom hoodies in a physical store or want to display the artwork for some reason. That's how it's done. This fold is similar to the one above, but you start at the back and don't fold the sweater again in the last step.
There you have it. My work here is done. I hope you found them useful and somewhat entertaining. Now it's time for me to throw on some pajama pants and cozy up with my favorite hoodie.