TikTok Trend or Legit Los Angeles Leisurewear? We Put Elwood to the Test.

The SoCal brand is a fashion influencer favorite on social media. But how are the clothes?

February 28, 2024 12:01 pm
a collage of Elwood sweatshirts
Is Elwood a TikTok trend or legit leisurewear?

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The first time I stumbled across Elwood, I was not dining large at the cursed Fairfax location of Jon and Vinny’s. (This is the one next to the similarly cursed Golf Wang store. There’s much better shopping in LA.) It was not while boarding a direct LAX-CDG redeye, Rimowa in hand, ready to crush a whole season’s worth of Love Is Blind on my was to PFW. (I do not own a Rimowa.) I was most certainly not commandeering a little post-Equinox Kefir Matcha Cloud Smoothie at the Silver Lake Erewhon. (In case you have not already guessed, I cannot afford an Equinox membership.)

Jeremy Allen White Just Loves a Farmers Market Flex
Is it really an LA outing without a little Bode?

Where I did first start to clock the leisurewear brand was on TikTok, with the brand’s signature oversized, slightly cropped hoodies and block text eponymous five-panel hats cropping up on genetically blessed guys with wavy middle parts and self-appointed ‘fit-fluencers. While the Los Angeles label has established itself as a serious sweatsuit contender for locals in its near 30 years of existence — hence the aforementioned examples, which all feel like plausible places to catch a creative director in Elwood’s blend of leisurewear and street style — the brand seems to have found serious stride with a boom of endorsements from young social media creators. Videos from Elwood’s own account have racked up tens of millions of views and grabbed more than half a million likes.


@Elwood’s new fall collection is so banger. Use code BROCK10 for 10% off 🌐

♬ La belle vie – Sacha Distel

Logically, this recent surge of affinity for Elwood seems to make sense. With roots in skate culture and a locked-in catalogue of sweatsuits and workwear staples, Elwood’s relaxed SoCal aesthetic is one that’s currently dominating the algorithm, and regardless of a chicken-or-egg conundrum, the brand’s offerings are exactly what TikTok’s (not so) young and restless seem to want to wear right now.

Online clout being the beige flag that it is, I was curious to see how the Elwood’s collections actually held up as solid leisurewear, or if the brand is just another hype bubble waiting to pop. To that end, I’ve taken the past two weeks to break in (and wear out) a select few styles form the brand’s Core Collection. Here are my thoughts.

a model in black Elwood clothing

About the brand

While Elwood has seen success in the recent years, the brand has been around in various forms since 1996. Founded by a team that included pro skater Sal Barbier, the Los Angeles-based brand has a tangled history with SoCal subcultures — predominantly skate and surf — that new ownership have sought to tap back into since the company’s restructuring in 2020. The renewed focus on vintage-inspired apparel and top notch supplemental content, in particular, seem to be contributing greatly to the label’s recent wins.

What I liked about Elwood

Algorithm-appropriate aesthetics

After two-weeks of putting my Core Collection sweatsuit through near continuous wear, I can confidently relay that the poofy-haired TikTok boys are onto something. Elwood’s relaxed staples are endlessly wearable, with the relaxed (but not sloppy) sweatsuit combo providing a uniform that I can and have worn for everything from dog-walking to drinks out to working from home. The faded wash and stand-out ribbing on the collar and cuff mix in perfectly with most of my wardrobe, and feel decidedly vintage, but not retro.

Both items are totally functional as separate pieces, too — I’ve grown quite fond of tossing on the Oversized Core Crewneck with a pair of lightwash jeans and hiking boots — and they’ll undoubtably make a stellar airport ‘fit. I’ve got to hand it to creative director Justin Saul, almost zero notes on design. Someone get me a tripod, stat.

Cotton comfort

Just as much of a standout as the design is the comfort level of the pieces. Unlike much of the athleisure and leisure wear on the market (certainly in the sub-$100 category), Elwood’s Core Collection is made from a 100% organic, 12 oz brushed terry cotton weave, meaning that it slouches naturally and feels like a hoodie you’ve own for decades right from the get go. The internal textured feels more akin to a well-washed marled cotton than an brushed fabric, but I found it pleasant. The 100% cotton material as means that it’s retained it shape and size even post-wash (and post-post-coffee stain).

Designed for 2024

Beyond the physical properties, I’ll admit that I’m impressed with the branding side of things over at Elwood. The brand is gender-inclusive, doubles as a vintage resaler, has the socials on lock and, as I’ve hinted at before, has managed to keep pricing to a sensible, shopable range (most of their sweats fall between $60-80, a bargain compared to similar styles). A cult of FashionTok influencers doesn’t hurt, either.

a model in elwood clothing

What needs work

A total sell-out

It seems silly that one of my most major complaints would be about how popular Elwood’s apparel is, but in truth, it was surprisingly difficult — even with an assist from the brand, who, for the sake of transparency, facilitated testing (all of my options, however, are my own) — to get my hands on a set from the Core Collection. Stock is often sold out, or only available in select sizing, and while the brand frequently drops new collections and restocks best-sellers, tracking down the exact color and size you want may be an exercise in patience.

Sizing subtleties

Beyond acquiring a set, my one major issue with Elwood’s apparel came down to sizing. Given that most of the fits lean relaxed (if not downright baggy) and many of the styles are cut wide but remain on the shorter side length-wise, nailing a happy medium between slouchy and wholly oversized proved to be an issue for me, a 5’9″ fellow already between sizing. The age-old addage of “just size” up need not apply for these leisurewear sets — if anything, I’d recommend taking your normal sizing, or, if you’re between sizing like me, dropping down for less oversized fit.

Verdict: Is Elwood a total trend or leisurewear for the longterm?

Is Elwood just another TikTok-inspired trend that’ll end up in donation bags in six months, or is it actually leisurewear for the longterm? From my limited time with the apparel, all signs point to the later. With a worn-in aesthetic that’s just timeless enough to ride out trend cycles and some serious investment in comfort – on top of a price tag that won’t put a sour taste in your mouth — Elwood presents a legit option for anyone looking for leisurewear that isn’t polyester or plastered on to your body. The laid-back styling is admittedly not for everyone, but if you’re looking for a loungewear set to see and be seen in, Elwood is as good as you’re going to get for under $150. Check out my picks from the Core Collection below, or shop the entirety of Elwood’s apparel here. Warning: CupCut tutorial not included.

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