We are living in the golden age of the sweatshirt. As golden ages go, it is hard not to feel we’ve been a bit shortchanged, what with pretty much everything else about our age feeling decidedly tarnished right now. But hey, beggars can’t be choosers. A sweatshirt, once a warm, practical nondescript sort of thing to be worn on the way to the gym or on the school run or over a nightie to make a cup of tea, was reborn as a catwalk-worthy, celebrity-approved, waiting-list-only type of garment in the early days of athleisure. There was a period of about six months when a sweatshirt worn with a midi-length pleated skirt was the near-universal go-to uniform for the fashion industry.
The sweatshirt is easy and practical to wear. Not easy and practical in the fashion sense of, “these heels are only four inches high, so they are great for all-day wear” or “latex is wipe clean, so it’s ideal when catering a dinner party”, but easy and practical full stop. It doesn’t need to be ironed or worn with any particular bra. At this time of year, it is a weight which fits the weather more days than not, so you can put it on in the morning without having to think about layers over or under.
The sweatshirt I am wearing here gets better every time I take it out of the washing machine. It has worn tissue-thin with age, in that immensely satisfying way of favourite T-shirts and sweatshirts. But as is often the case with sweatshirts, the top half is a more pleasing shape than the bottom half, which hits my hips at a clumsy point. So my new favourite way to wear it is to tuck it into high-waisted jeans. The ones I’m wearing here are the Corsy by Isabel Marant Etoile, but I’m also very keen on my new Levi’s Ribcage, so named because they measure over 12 inches from waistband to the bottom of the fly, which means the waistband sits almost at your ribcage. When you wear it with proper shoes, this version of jeans-and-sweatshirt looks like a proper outfit, which is a result on days when you can’t massively be bothered with making a proper effort.
We don’t get to choose the golden age we live in. The decade of great sweatshirts isn’t exactly the high renaissance, it’s true. But at a time when things are, to say the least, a little angsty, let’s take all the comfort we can get.
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