Sweatshirts? No Sweat.

The humble sweatshirt has been elevated from frumpy team-logo number to sophisticated separate, no longer relegated to last-minute errands (in the car, where our torsos are obscured) or private bursts of house-cleaning or inhaling Lucky Charms from the box.kenzo tiger sweatshirt, opening ceremony

Sweatshirts have become the new sweaters, and fleece the new cashmere, at least in terms of price.

Prepare to be fleeced by this trend if you aren’t careful. This frenzy was caused in part by the green Kenzo “Tiger” crew neck pictured above, designed by Opening Ceremony’s Humberto Leon and Carol Lim. The steep $280 price tag did not deter buyers as they sold-out immediately and now fetch up to $800 on ebay — for a god-damn sweatshirt. Net-A-Porter posted a grey version this week that sold-out within an hour, and Opening Ceremony just released the next evolution of the Kenzo sweatshirt, the “Big eye” for pre-order (through today) at a cool $315. Eye don’t think so.

Jslow sporting her MSGM sweatshirt with her Sonia Rykiel bag. She enjoys matching her artwork.

Jslow sporting her MSGM sweatshirt with her Sonia Rykiel bag. A bit “matchy matchy” with the artwork, but still. 😉

This trend is clearly here to stay, at least through the fall. The latest 2013 fashion month collections exploded with swanky versions of sweatshirts in various colors, textures and prints. One of Jslow and my favorite up-and-coming brands, MSGM, featured vivid floral patterns, although they too are in Kenzo-price territory. Givenchy and Phillip Lim were just a few of many designers who featured them prominently as the anchor to skirts and trousers, imparting a relaxed, downtown vibe.

MSGM Fall 2013 Flower-stamped Sweatshirt, available this fall, $535

MSGM Fall 2013 Flower-stamped Sweatshirt, available this fall, $535

I personally love them. I can’t rationalize the price of these designer versions, but I can buy the casual, comfortable, cozy cool they impart to any look. And like jeans, they get softer and better with age. They also hold up a heck of lot better than knits.

Luckily, there is no need to fork over more than fifty bucks to work this trend into your wardrobe. I’ve found a few fantastic resources that sell awesome sweatshirts for a fraction of what the designers command: Kinshipgoods.com, a local duo from Louisville Kentucky who hand-print apparel and accessories that are, per their website, “inspired by starry nights, peeling paint, mountain air, reclaimed keepsakes, labors of love, and early mornings.” Their shirts are more subdued and classic, featuring spare prints on grey backgrounds. Another option is Tshirt99 on Etsy, featuring bright screen-printed saturated graphics of sky scenes and cats. There are loads of great sweatshirt options on Etsy: Type in “Sweatshirt” and go nuts.

Straight Shooter sweatshirt, from KinShipGoods.com, $50.

Straight Shooter sweatshirt, from KinShipGoods.com, $50.

Be warned: the sweatshirt-as-sweater trend, in the wrong hands, can court sartorial disaster if you aren’t careful. It really is one of those unfortunate garments that has the power to transform you into an older lady on a sightseeing tour of the Keys, or a Hello-Kitty kid on her way to a slumber party.

If you follow our simple list of do’s and don’ts, you won’t have to sweat your sweatshirt.

Sky Screen-print sweatshirt, TShirt99, Etsy.com. $29.99.

Sky Screen-print sweatshirt, TShirt99, Etsy.com. $29.99.



• Stick to crew or v-necks
• Look for interesting prints and colors
• Make sure the fit is either snug and shrunken or very slouchy (to do the casual front-tuck thing)
• Pair them in unexpected ways to contrast casual with dressy: skirts, trousers, tailored pants
• Layer them over button-downs and under blazers
• Scrunch up the sleeves to expose an interesting cuff or set of bangles
• Opt for grey as a fail-safe basic, like you would a camel cashmere sweater


• Don your college or favorite sports team, unless you are in a sports-bar, stadium, or staying in
• Go for glittery or girly embellishments
• Pair them with jeans and sneakers unless you have a locker and receive a report card
• Pair them with sweat pants, unless you want to look like a field hockey coach like your wearing a Forever Lazy

The best part of the sweatshirt? Not only does it take you from day to night, it also goes to bed. Good night!

6 Responses

  1. Paula

    Hillary, I LOVED 80’s Norma Kamali, as 2 of her pieces were in heavy rotation in my wardrobe back then, 1) a pale yellow sweat-“suit”- shoulder-padded blazer and matching pencil skirt in thick cotton sweat-shirt material. I could kill myself for getting rid of it long ago. Would be worth a fortune, and be so fun to wear. I also had a 2) bright red/lycra bodysuit that I’d sport with a shirt or sweater tied around my waist. That too is long gone. She came back with a line a few years back with Walmart of all places that we sort of loved. Good luck with the hunt, would love to see what you find. xoxo

  2. In my closet cleaning last week, which you’ll read more about on Monday or Tuesday, I just got rid of my Norma Kamali Cocoon Sweatshirt and Norma Kamali Sweatsuit/Jumpsuit. Both purchased from her flagship store when I first moved to New York. xxJslow

  3. jenniferdavis00@yahoo.com'

    I have been in such a dark cave without a computer for 9 days, but this post is exactly what I have been needing. I am falling in love with Kitsune sweatshirts and of course that exact Kenzo one, which I am seeing everywhere. I was so conflicted – how can I justify such a price for something in the same family as a grungy old sweatshirt.

    I can always count on you to inspire me to be more outside of the box and just go for it.

    Love this.


  4. paula@boycemangin.com'
    Paula Mangin

    Hi Jen:

    9 days without a computer! In a way, I imagine that must have been liberating.

    Interesting to know that the novelty sweatshirt craze has swept Europe. I hope you are documenting all of that with photos!

    I personally have always loved sweatshirts — another trick of mine is to by boys sweatshirts and fray the neck a little. I love the shrunken look, and when they are more fitted they look more tailored and “fashion.” And, boy’s sweatshirts are cheap! Jcrew always has cute ones, but I also love jockey or basics. I’ve been meaning to buy fabric pens/ink and draw on some. Stay tuned.


  5. aratner@nyc.rr.com'

    After reading this post, I bought the Blk Dnm sweatshirt 6 (souchy and a bit oversized, but not long as if you bought a men’s one to get it oversized). There’s a blk dnm store here in NY & they don’t have e commerce so they messengered it to me. I got it in black and it is absolutely perfect! I plan on wearing it with pencil skirts & heels. Wish I had saved my Norma Kamali sweats from the 80s! I even had the skater skirt in grey!

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