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Sweatshirt Styles: Which Is Right for You?

Sweatshirt Styles: Which Is Right for You? - Threadsy

Nicole Rollender |

Your sweater? Your sweatshirt? Sweatshirts definitely aren’t sweaters! If you’re curious about the difference between crew neck sweatshirts vs. sweaters, hoodies, and jackets, you’re in the right place. The super-popular sweatshirt style is worn and loved by all types of people. Learn why the sweatshirt is one of the most versatile wardrobe staples you can own, and see our best product recommendations.

Sweatshirts vs. Sweaters Style Guide

We’ve seen people use these terms interchangeably, but there are distinct differences between sweaters and sweatshirts. The biggest difference between a sweater and a sweatshirt is the way they’re made. A sweater is constructed by knitting or crocheting, so it’s soft and stretchy. Sweaters are made from cotton, polyester, wool, or other fabrics. A sweatshirt is usually made from heavy cotton, polyester, or fleece.

What’s a Sweatshirt?

It's likely you’ve got a lot of sweatshirts in your wardrobe. Have you thought about what a sweatshirt actually is? It's a collarless, loose upper garment that is made from cotton, polyester, or fleece. Your favorite sweatshirt might have a closed or open front with a zipper. It may also have a single front pouch pocket or two side pockets. Your sweatshirt might have a hood (also called a hoodie) or no hood.

The most common materials used to make sweatshirts are absorbent fabrics like fleece, thick cotton, polyester or other synthetic materials. A sweatshirt’s inside material is typically made of brushed fleece to make it feel softer and very comfortable to most people. This inner nap traps air and retains the wearer’s body heat, which is where we get the name sweatshirt. Due to the breathable material construction, a sweatshirt can even be worn in summer.

People of all ages love sweatshirts because they’re a great casual style basic and athleisure wear. Sweatshirts also are a staple of streetwear-inspired fashion, so it adds an urban flair to outfits. Schools and teams love sweatshirts for team members and fans, to boost team unity and support. Sweatshirts are versatile and come in so many different fits, fabrics, colors, and patterns that you’ll be able to find one to match what you need.

You’ll find that today’s sweatshirt styles have elevated details, like shorter or boxier hemlines or shorter sleeves. Sweatshirts are usually intended to fit oversized, so they’re relaxed. These fun, fashion-forward styles lend a glammed-up feel to these styles, so you can wear them to parties or other evening events.

Is a Crewneck a Sweatshirt?

Some sweatshirts are crewnecks, meaning they have a crew neckline. But not all crewnecks are sweatshirts, and not all sweatshirts are crewnecks! A crewneck shirt, designed for both men and women, doesn’t have a collar and is cut straight across the neck. You’ll see this neckline in lots of apparel styles, including t-shirts, sweatshirts, and other sweaters. Crewneck sweatshirts make awesome layering pieces. 

Psst...You can learn more about crewnecks and other types of necklines by checking out our 9 Types of Necklines blog post!

Sweatshirts vs. Sweaters

  Sweatshirts Sweaters
Basic Definition A loose, typically long-sleeved, collarless or hooded pullover or zip up. Made from soft, absorbent fabric, with close-fitting or elastic cuffs and sometimes a drawstring at the waist. Commonly worn during athletic activity or for warmth. A knitted jacket or jersey, in pullover or cardigan style, with or without sleeves.
Material/Construction Constructed in the way that sportswear is manufactured, and made from heavy cotton, polyester, or fleece. Has an inside lining made of a soft nap. Usually made with relaxed or loose fits. Most sweatshirts share nearly the same silhouette, with variations including a hood, kangaroo pocket, a drawstring, or a zipped front. Constructed by knitting or crocheting, and made of wool, heavy cotton or polyester. Has a soft drape and is more elastic. There are 100+ sweater designs, including short, long, short-sleeve, long-sleeve, open front, closed front, V-neck turtleneck and so on.
Related Terms Jumper, Hoodie, Hooded Sweatshirt, Pullover, Fleece Cardigan, Jumper, Pullover, Shrug, Slipover
When to Wear Casual, sporty, or street-style layering pieces. Worn for everyday wear, athleisure, or loungewear. Edgier styles go great for parties or other evening events. Versatile knitted garment that can be worn as part of a casual or dressy outfit.


A sweatshirt is often more versatile than a sweater and it’s an article of clothing that’s become extremely fashionable over recent years, rather than a weekend or workout staple. You might have noticed supermodels and other celebs grab fashion-forward sweatshirts (including crop or tie-dye styles!) as part of their on-the-go leisure looks.

Best Sweatshirt Styles

Threadsy offers an amazing selection of wholesale sweatshirts for men, women, and kids from great brands, at affordable prices. With so many styles to choose from, we’re breaking down some of the most popular styles from our top brands, from traditional loose-fitting to hoodies to crop styles. Many of these styles are unisex, making it easy to outfit a group of people!

Traditional Pullover

We all know and love the traditional pullover sweatshirt, which you pull over your head since there’s no front closure. These heavier-weight basics are a great layering item in cooler weather or for working out.

One we recommend: The Next Level Apparel Unisex Malibu Pullover Sweatshirt (9002NL) offers a traditional, comfortable fit, and comes in several gender-neutral colors, like Heather Teal and Heather Bay Blue.

Hooded Sweatshirts (or Hoodies)

Everyone has at least one hoodie sweatshirt in their closet. Sharing the same DNA as a sweatshirt, these styles are loose-fitting, warm, comfortable and casual. The hood protects you against the elements, and these styles come in pullover styles with kangaroo pockets, or zip-up fronts.

One we recommend: The Next Level Apparel Unisex Classic PCH Pullover Hooded Sweatshirt (9302) is the hoodie everyone will reach for when they want to feel cozy and look great.

Zipped Sweatshirts

A zipped sweatshirt or hoodie is a great choice if you want an open-front sweatshirt that you can zip or unzip whenever you feel like it. They’re similar to cardigan sweaters, except cardigans usually have button-up fronts. Zipped sweatshirts are usually made from a soft, thick cotton to keep you warm.

One we recommend: We like the Alternative Apparel Unisex Eco-Jersey™ Zip Hoodie (AA1970) for a zip-front hoodie that will get some second glances, and become your go-everywhere zipped sweatshirt.

Crop Sweatshirts & Hoodies

Cropped sweatshirts come with adventuresome hemlines in varying lengths, so you can choose a style that bares your belly or one that lands at your waist. Perfect for women of all ages and body types, you can layer these hoodies over tanks and t-shirts for a fashion-forward effect. You can get cropped sweatshirts or hoodies.

One we recommend: The super-soft Bella + Canvas Ladies' Cropped Fleece Hoodie (B7502) offers a flattering relaxed fit and an array of popular colors. Great for sororities and music festivals!

Crew Neck Sweatshirts

If you like long-sleeve crew neck t-shirts, you’ll love a crew neck sweatshirt! It’s the same style, but it’s made of a thicker material, so you’ve essentially got a sweatshirt shirt to wear on chillier days. These sweatshirts are casual and functional wardrobe must-haves.

One we recommend: The Bella + Canvas Unisex Sponge Fleece Crewneck Sweatshirt (3901) offers a fitted look for him and her. This crewneck is made from super-soft sponge fleece, which will make this crew neck hard to take off.

Performance Sweatshirts & Hoodies

For the athletes among us, these lightweight performance sweatshirts and hoodies are designed to perform, keeping you warm and sweat-free when you’re running outside. However, they’re also great for the gym. These sweatshirts often are moisture wicking and have quick-drying properties to keep you feeling great. Some styles even are waterproof so you can keep on running even when it’s raining.

One we recommend: The Team 365 Ladies' Zone Performance Hoodie (TT41W) will be your companion when you’re out jogging or when you’re at the gym.

Fleece Sweatshirts & Hoodies

Time to cozy up! Fleece sweatshirts and hoodies are super warm. They come with fleece inside and outside, or with just a fleece lining. Wearing a fleece sweatshirt almost feels like wearing your favorite lounge robe. Fleeces come in a variety of styles, from hooded sweatshirts, to zip-up styles, to tunic silhouettes.

One we recommend: Softer than soft, the LAT Elevated Fleece Sweatshirt (6925) is a great year-round later for winter days and windy summer nights on the beach.

Sleeveless or Short-Sleeve Hoodies

Yes, most sweatshirts and hoodies have long sleeves, but you can find styles with shorter sleeves or even no sleeves. These styles are great for layering or for wearing to the gym. 


One we recommend: The ultra-warm J America Adult Triblend Fleece Sleeveless Hooded Sweatshirt (JA8877) works for men and women as a functional layering piece.

One we recommend: The laid-back, short-sleeve Alternative Apparel Unisex Baller Fleece Hoodie (3501F2) is a go-everywhere piece that will get you noticed.

Sweatshirts vs Hoodies

They’re members of the same comfy family. A hoodie is a variation of a sweatshirt that has a hood. You’ll see pullover and zip-up hoodie styles that are casual and comfortable. Pullovers often have a center kangaroo pocket, and zip-up styles have two side pockets. You can grab a relaxed or oversized fit for total comfort. These casual, athletic styles are popular with all ages, and can protect against the rain and snow as layering pieces.

As you can see, sweatshirts and hoodies both have similar features: comfortable fit, freedom of movement, warm material, easy care and long lasting. Both men’s hoodies and women’s hoodies share these same characteristics, and are versatile casual pieces that you can wear all-year round. There are lots of varieties of sweatshirts and hoodies available, including solid colors, team fan wear, tie-dye varieties, streetwear styles and more.

Sweatshirts vs. Jackets

Jackets are definitely different from sweatshirts, as they’re outerwear that you put over clothing to protect yourself from the cold, wind, rain, snow and other elements. Jackets have full sleeves, and are made from different materials than sweatshirts: suede, denim, leather, nylon and tweed, to name a few. Jackets also often have multiple layers of insulation and may even have performance features like being windproof or waterproof, unlike sweatshirts. 

Wholesale women’s zip-up jackets and men’s zip-up jackets either have buttons or zippers to fasten them closed, and come in many different casual and formal styles. Sometimes, people even layer a sweatshirt under a jacket when the weather calls for it. Both styles keep you warm and fit a variety of occasions.

Shop Threadsy for High Quality Wholesale Sweatshirts

Threadsy is a great online destination for buying high-quality sweatshirts at wholesale prices whether you have a wholesale license or not. If you’ve been shopping for blank t-shirts from a big box retailer, it’s time to stop. Threadsy offers generous discounts for customers who purchase t-shirts in larger quantities. Our bulk discount program starts at $110, and the savings up to 15% automatically appear in your cart when you bundle your items. You’ll also enjoy free shipping on orders $50 or higher, with always-fast delivery. 

Plus, unlike other retailers that tack on fees for everything from orders that don’t meet a certain purchase threshold, to packing your order to processing returns, Threadsy doesn’t do that. There’s no minimum order, returns are free for 30 days, and we’ll never charge you extra money to pack your order. So what are you waiting for? Start shopping for sweatshirts and saving today, whether you’re a hobbyist or a business owner.