Style | January 6, 2021 12:10 pm

Take It From a Woman: Your Quarter-Zip Is Still Totally Fine

Despite the opinion of one click-baiting writer

Take It From a Woman: Your Quarter-Zip Is Still Totally Fine

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This morning I awoke to some extremely unsettling news. While checking my Twitter feed for updates on the Georgia Senate races, I discovered that someone had tried to #cancel a beloved, cozy, winter essential. “It’s Time to Kill the Fleece Quarter-Zip,” MEL Magazine claimed, declaring “perennial menswear staple is passé — and you can do better.” The article was widely met with a reaction similar to my own. Twitter users simply said “No,” while others offered expletives and even proud selfies of people posing in their Patagonia and L.L. Bean fleece quarter-zips.

The entire debacle is obviously silly, and I’m not even sure if this is a sincere take or just a quick grab at clicks, and hey if it’s the latter, I can respect that. The writer’s main issue with the quarter-zip — Patagonia’s version particularly — seems to be its association with finance and frat bros. And yes, the Patagonia quarter-zip is known to many as the unofficial uniform of a certain kind stereotypical white dude, and it has indeed become somewhat of a meme. But really, there are so many other egregiously bad clothing items frequently donned by frat-bros. The Patagonia fleece vest, for one, is a way bigger offender and is even more widely memed.

But my immediate rejection of this declaration stems from a personal place. I own two Patagonia quarter-zips, one a gift from my grandmother and another I got on sale. Truthfully, I was a bit self-conscious about sporting such a “basic” item of clothing at first, but as anyone who buys a Patagonia quarter-zip quickly learns, no amount of negative connotation could stop it from becoming such a beloved item in my winter wardrobe. It’s form-fitting, keeps me warm and is a great piece for layering. Most importantly, it will last for many winters to come, which as someone who is consciously trying to limit their fashion consumption for environmental reasons, having a durable pullover I can rely on is important.

To its credit, the article does outline some other great Patagonia offerings that’ll keep you equally cozy or even warmer this winter like the Better Sweater Fleece Jacket and R2 TechFace Jacket I’d even implore you to check out instead of adding another quarter-zip to your collection (for variety sake.) But you shouldn’t be deterred from sporting the fleece pullover completely.

While the Mel writer argues that it “gives off the oppressive masculine vibe of Old Spice Body Spray and Grizzly Wintergreen Long Cut chewing tobacco,” — which, to be clear, is not a vibe I, a woman, am opposed to — the fleece quarter-zip reminds me of memorable, open-air hikes I’ve trudged through and camping trips with my aunt, who is rarely seen without her L.L. Bean fleece. It also reminds me of all the hunky outdoorsy men and cute finance bros I’ve hooked up with. Not saying the fleece quarter-zip is a foolproof aphrodisiac, but someone somewhere may find a man wrapped in a wool fleece with a sliver of neck showing pretty damn sexy.

So, if you’re willing to say fuck all the noise and keep cozy with a completely fine piece of clothing this winter, I’ve compiled a few classic, essential and wildly good-looking fleeces to add to your cold-weather arsenal.


Men’s Better Sweater® 1/4-Zip Fleece

L.L. Bean

Men’s L.L.Bean Sweater Fleece Pullover

Outdoor Voices

MegaFleece Snap Sweatshirt

The North Face

Men’s Gordon Lyons ¼ Zip Pullover


Patagonia Men’s Synchilla Snap-T Fleece Pullover