Around the world there are many different names for the sweatshirt. You might find it called a sweater, a jumper, a pullover, a jersey, a guernsey, a tank top and a hoody amongst many others.
Opinion differs in different countries about the exact nature of the sweatshirt and who invented it. The history is cloudy and the exact design confusing. Should it be made of wool or cotton? Is a top you where for rugby or football a sweatshirt? … there’s a lot to think about.
So, in an effort to clear things up a bit, let’s try and break down just what a sweatshirt is. You never know, it might help you figure out which is the one for you.
OK, so a jumper or pullover, as they are often referred to in the UK and USA, is more like a woollen, warm item of clothing. A tank top is a short-sleeved jumper in the UK and a waistcoat in the USA.
A jersey, or as we call it a guernsey, is what you wear when you’re playing sport for a team. It’s usually made of synthetic material and often doesn’t smell too good – especially if you forget to wash it between matches.
A hoody is getting a little closer to a sweatshirt in that it’s often made of the same cotton-based material as a sweatshirt, except that it has, well, a hood – obviously.
Hoodies also sometimes have zips up the middle, which would make it closer to a cardigan (which until recently were definitely not cool unless you were in your 70s).
So that leaves us with the pure sweatshirt. It’s a long-sleeved item, made from thick cotton, sometimes but not always with a fleece inner lining.
Its original design saw it used for sports and working out, with the thick cotton absorbing the sweat – hence the name. These days, the sweatshirt is worn for much more than just working out though and it comes in many colours, sometimes plain but often with writing, slogans or designs on.
Most major sports and fashion brands will make a sweatshirt and it’s a comfortable, practical and good-looking piece of clothing.
You’ll still have to argue with some people about just what makes a sweatshirt but as long as you’re happy and comfortable wearing yours, it really doesn’t matter what you or anyone else calls it.
About The Author: Martin McEwen is Australian based fashion stylist who loves streetwear. An ex pro-skateboarder, he now offers styling services to some local streetwear fashion labels.