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Despite the future of the quarter-zip fleece being thrown into peril and uncertainty just a few weeks ago, you can rest-assured that the item of clothing still very much remains a winter wardrobe staple, in all its iterations.
Half-zip, quarter-zip, full-zip, no-zip — the fleece isn’t going anywhere, and why should it, when it continues to be a prime source of coziness and comfort, a beacon of light among an otherwise bleak winter landscape. Besides, it’s not just the colder months in which they’re permitted to shine, but the early days of spring, too, when the weather blissfully allows for the fleece-and-tee combo.
But all that said, it may be time to refresh your current collection. Whether you are in fact a finance bro (hey, nothing wrong with that) who prefers a fleece of the Patagonia variety, or your aesthetic preferences lean more crunchy hiker with a penchant for gorpcore, there’s a fleece for everyone, even those who find themselves somewhere in between.
Below are 15 of the coziest, fuzziest, comfiest fleeces the market has to offer, from The North Face’s iconic ’95 Retro Denali Jacket to a workwear inspired jacket rendered in fluff.
Cos Teddy Zip-Up Jacket
Leave it to Cos to make the most minimalistic fleece we’ve yet to encounter, keeping it wildly streamlined with a simple zip-up featuring little detail other than a functional chest pocket. Snag the navy for everyday wear and then pick up the monochromatic red version for those occasions when you don’t feel like flying under the radar.
Topo Designs Sherpa Jacket
There’s more than meets the eye with Topo Design’s Sherpa Jacket: Surprise! The bomber-inspired jacket is in fact reversible (ooh), offering cozy fleece on one side and utilitarian 2-way stretch nylon (with a DWR finish) on the other.
Uniqlo Fleece Long-Sleeve Half-Zip Pullover
Two words: $15 fleece. Need we say more?
Patagonia Classic Retro-X Fleece Jacket
Channel your inner ’90s crunchy hiker bro with Patagonia’s Classic Retro-X Fleece Jacket in a rich purple hue with contrasting blue accents. Even if you don’t consider yourself much of an outdoorsman, you can at least give off the air of someone always ready to hit the trails at a moment’s notice thanks to Patagonia’s consistently gorpcore aesthetic.
Arc’teryx Fortrez Hooded Fleece Jacket
A fleece of the more technical variety, Arc’teryx’s Fortrez Jacket is ideal for actual hikers, not those who just posture as such. Featuring a Polartec midweight fleece fabric that’s both stretchy and breathable, you won’t be restricted in your movements. As an added bonus, the built-in neck gaiter doubles as a balaclava, perfect for any unexpected inclement weather.
Bhode Fleece Work Jacket
Bhode offers their fleece in an unexpected but not entirely unfamiliar silhouette, taking the ever-popular work jacket and rendering it in a plush sage green, making for a style that’s still ultra-cozy but not as sporty as the more ubiquitous options on the market.
Chums Chumley Fleece Hurricane Jacket
While taupe isn’t the most exciting of colors, tonal elements like contrasting woven trim, elbow patches and emerald green snap buttons are enough to make Chumley’s ‘Chum’ fleece far from boring.
Fjallraven Keb Fleece Hoodie
Fjallraven Keb Fleece Hoodie features 20% wool to help wick away any moisture while traversing the great outdoors, also allowing for more stretch so you’ll have full capability when it comes to moving about. The streamlined fit will allow it to seamlessly fit underneath more heavy-duty piece of outerwear if need be.
The North Face ’95 Retro Denali Jacket
If you can’t count The North Face’s ’95 Retro Denali among your fleece collection, then consider it incomplete. Opt for the jacket in one of the vibrant colorways offered, or keep it a little more discreet (and versatile) in simple all-black.
J.Crew Micro Fleece Half-Zip Pullover
Don’t think that just because once spring rolls around your days of wearing fleeces have come to an end. Instead, invest in a lightweight fleece like this half-zip pullover from J.Crew, which still provides sufficient warmth but isn’t so heavy as to bring about a heatstroke once the temperatures start to inch upwards.
Gap Reversible Fleece Jacket
There are few things more satisfying than receiving twice as much of something for the price of just one, and Gap allows you to do just that with their Reversible Fleece Jacket. On one side you have a soft fleece knit and on the other a slightly padded shell, so on those days when you really need to glean warmth from the fleece, you can flip the jacket inside out and wear the teddy-like material close to your body for extra insulation.
Banks Journal Grand Fleece
There’s really no beating a faux-shearling zip-up in a go-with-anything military green — it pretty much speaks for itself, and what it’s saying is “You need me.”
Penfield Hynes Fleece
Because when you can’t decide what color you want to wear, opt for wearing three at once thanks to Penfiled’s artfully colorblocked Hynes Fleece.
Satta Mikah Fleece
In the right silhouette, a fleece can make for an ideal layering piece, like Satta’s Mikah style. The modern collarless cut of the fleece lends it well to being paired underneath a coat, without being too bulky. Plus, come milder days, you’ll appreciate the refined silhouette for casually throwing on over a t-shirt.
Dime Puzzle Polar Fleece
If you pride yourself on being mysterious or likened to a puzzle that no one can quite figure out, there’s no fleece more appropriate for you than Dime’s Polar Fleece, which features a pattern of oversized puzzle pieces. Or, maybe you really just like the way it looks. Either way, it’s cool as fuck.
We've put in the work researching, reviewing and rounding up all the shirts, jackets, shoes and accessories you'll need this season, whether it's for yourself or for gifting purposes. Sign up here for weekly style inspo direct to your inbox.