In outdoor gear’s multi-year hold on fashion and streetwear, the highest most target of obsession has been the fleece jacket. The warmth and coziness provided by a high pile is perfect as an outer layer for the brisk days of fall and carries over into winter as an ideal mid-layer. After all, there’s a reason why outdoor enthusiasts (and, unfortunately, finance bros) have long turned to fleece — it’s highly functional and versatile whether your dwelling is in the mountains or the city.
People will inevitably move on from their love of all things gorp, but with another fall and winter in store the trend is still full of life. Whether you want to lean fully into the trendiness or embrace a tried-and-true classic, the right fleece for you is as ripe for the picking as an apple at an Instagram-friendly orchard.
We’ve put together our favorite fleeces of the season, and once you put one on you won’t want to take it off until the last days of spring. And if you haven’t made the plunge yet, the time to do so is now before you have to burry it away underneath a heavier coat.
Patagonia Synchilla Snap-T ($119)
We’ve got to start with the originators of the fleece jacket in Patagonia. The storied outdoor brand teamed up with Polartec, then known as Malden Mills, to create the first jackets of their kind in 1979 — and in the time since it’s made a case for being both the start and endpoint for fleece.
The North Face ‘95 Retro Denali ($200)
Another classic fleece is the Denali, which The North Face has meticulously recreated with the boxy proportions of 1995. Our favorite color is highlighter yellow, but you can’t go wrong with any of the bold hues blocked with black.
Kapital Do-Gi Sashiko Boa Fleece ($1,020)
The modern fleece grails hail from Japan courtesy of Kapital, which trots out the jacket year after year in extraordinary prints including this sashiko-style grid.
Snow Peak Mountain of Moods Fleece ($270)
We could go on an on about how Snow Peak nailed an asymmetrical mix of fleece and polyester, but what we really love is the image “Mountain of Moods” conjures.
Rowing Blazers x Warm & Wonderful Sheep Fleece ($365)
Together with the revived British brand Warm & Wonderful, Rowing Blazers created a massive hit last winter with its Princess Diana-approved black sheep sweater. This season, the two brands are going all out with the print, including a fleece that you can expect to see all over your timeline.
Brain Dead Paneled Sherpa Full Zip ($200)
If something is hot in streetwear at the moment, you can count on Brain Dead to do it justice. Wavy paneling here invokes your favorite river — or perhaps the last dose of acid you dropped.
Sneakersnstuff Polartec Fleece ($170)
Fortunately for you, the “stuff” in “Sneakernstuff” includes this wonderful assortment of muted colors with a mountain logo created just for the occasion.
Uniqlo x White Mountaineering Fleece Oversized Jacket ($60)
Mark your calendars for November 1, when Uniqlo will drop the steal of the season in collaboration with the cult Japanese brand White Mountaineering.