I went on an actual DATE NIGHT about a week ago. I have a semi-torturous relationship to the idea of date night: before I became a parent, I thought the idea of forced planned togetherness felt bougie and weird.
But the actual practice of it after having a kid was actually super fun because it’s much needed grown-folks time. April was been unexpectedly stressful — dealing with taxes, car trouble and icky stupid house problems is no fun — and I really needed some fun. We went bowling and had sushi, which was just about perfect. I drank beer! I had a cocktail! I bowled over 100 each game!
But I didn’t get “dressed up” in the typical date costume. Instead, I wore a sweatshirt, which you know I do. But I didn’t look slobby because I wore an elevated sweatshirt.
“Elevating” something in fashion-speak is taking something really basic and humble and making it fancier in some way. For a sweatshirt, it might be a slight tweak to a fit: slightly cropped with bracelet length sleeves, for instance, or maybe a high-low hem. It might be a change in material: sculpted neoprene or cashmere instead of fleece or terry. Or it’s adding couture-like details like color-blocking, curved seams or other artful touches. An elevated item still as comfortable as a sweatshirt, but slightly more sophisticated in execution — equally at ease running Tuesday afternoon errands or having sake on a Thursday night.
(On a personal note, I was wearing a fancied-up sweatshirt — black with some sequins — when my sweetheart asked me out, so clearly these kind of sweatshirts work for me on some level!)
I like the “excellent cut or luxurious material” approach to the elevated sweatshirt. I have three fancyish sweatshirts: an Everlane sweatshirt and a Fabletics one that actually looks kind of arty and Japanese-y in real life (and on a real body.)
The Everlane sweatshirt is wonderful: it’s in this soft ribbed material that is just slightly stiff enough to hold its cropped graceful shape really well. It has a kind of almost 1950s Balenciaga grace; it works beautifully with all kinds of bottoms. With a straight skirt it is kind of Italian widow/Jackie O goes to library school, but it also works great with dark skinny jeans, cropped black trousers and so much more. I wrote a review of this item earlier, but like so many other Everlane items, it’s beautifully made, the fabric is superb and the overall quality makes it investment-worthy.
The Fabletics one is this wide semi-cropped turtleneck style with snaps up the sleeves and neck, and the material is almost like a blend of neoprene and ponte — it’s stiff enough to be almost sculptural. The other one — which you can see at the top of the post — has mesh insets in the shoulder. (I wear this one to the gym most, actually, in my quest to turn cardio into disco!)
I’ve got my eye on a few more possibilities to add to my elevated sweatshirt sub-collection (since I already have a general collection going!) There’s a huge range out there of these kind of elevated sweatshirts, at all price points — fancy designer houses like Givenchy have turned sweatshirts into fancy-pants artform, but it’s trickled back down into less expensive options, of course. Here’s a range at a wide-range of price points and approaches — there are some romantic-boho options, some modern-arty ones, some colorful, some neutral, some deceptively plain but luxurious and others crazy-outre.