I’m not sure how I quite became a sweatshirt person. Maybe it started when fashion girl alphas like Phoebe Philo and Isabel Marant made wearing them a legit style thing. When I lived in NYC, I would see Chan Marshall of Cat Power wearing a basic grey sweatshirt with jeans and her perfect long hair with bands and she looked so cool: a perfect tension of chic and “effortless.” (I hate that word in a fashion context with a passion, but it works for her!)
Most likely, though, it’s because my carefully curated, lovingly acquired collection of cashmere sweaters suddenly became super-impractical with a sweet, drooly baby (who is now a lively but messy toddler.) I know some moms are very devil-may-care with their luxury items, but I admit it broke my heart just a twinge when my baby would spit up on a cashmere Acne sweater. So I defaulted to wearing sweatshirts because if they got messy, it was no big deal. It was just a sweatshirt! Still, I wondered if I would end up feeling slovenly if I wore them too much, and I worried a little that embracing sweatshirts would be too “mommy” in terms of style. But then part of me was like, “Whatever! I’m a mother, why should I deny that? Being a mom doesn’t mean you are ALWAYS somewhat disheveled! And if you are, so what?” And then another chimed in, “You were a fashion person long before you were a mama — you got this!” (I love when the various aspects of my self work together!)
I was also lucky enough to embrace sweatshirts while they’re in the middle of a big fashion moment. There’s huge range of styles now available in stores, so there’s a sweatshirt for all seasons and many occasions. Now I love sweatshirts for their ease, comfort and practicality and have amassed my own little mini-collection. I have typical sporty-slouchy hoodie styles, super-basic crew ones, some goofy ones and a few “elevated” styles that are a little more sophisticated than your typical sporty sweatshirt. (Many of my sweatshirts are photographed for this post.)
The trick into not letting sweatshirts get too sloppy is pretty simple: don’t wear them with gym shoes. And I mean GYM SHOES, as in sneakers that look like you get your fitness on within them. Gym shoes with a sweatshirt, as super-comfy as the combo is, is a little too “matchy” in terms of aesthetics — unless you are going for a athletic style in general. But generally, if you’re aiming to wear a sweatshirt in a stylish way, it’s too much gym. You want to offset it with a different spice, if you know what I mean. Trendy high-tops are kind of hip-hop/urban/tomboy; Converse or plimsolls are French-y tomboy. Ballet flats are sweet and gamine, oxfords are jaunty and a little preppy. Boots can be punk or rugged/earthy, depending on the style. If your style, of course, is sporty, then sweatshirts with kicks are great, especially with a stylish high-top. (I love high-tops, too, but that’s another post!)
Of course, you can play around with accessories like scarves and bags to elevate a sweatshirt in some way. But the appeal of a sweatshirt is simplicity and comfort — why muck that up? Throw it on, kick up your heels and go! No matter how much life — or toddler food! — gets thrown at you, your sweatshirt can take it.