Sweatshirt vs Hoodie: Which one is best for me?

September 13, 2022

Militar Team



Are Hoodies and Sweatshirts the Same Thing? 

Some people get confused when it comes to the difference between a sweatshirt and a hoodie, both are very similar.

Generally, a sweatshirt is a pullover garment that is made up of cotton or a cotton blend material. Whereas a hoodie is actually a type of sweatshirt with a hood attached to the garment and tends to have a kangaroo pocket attached at the front too. 

 Both hoodies and sweatshirts originated from the sporting world, as the garments were popular amongst athletes who liked the comfortability and ease of movement they had when wearing the items.

They matched perfectly with a pair of sweatpants, creating the ideal attire to train in. The name ‘sweatshirt’ came from the garments ability to absorb sweat, whilst the wearer would train in it. 

model wearing grey Militar Self Hoodie 


The Origin/History of Hoodies & Sweatshirts 

When looking at the origins of both clothing items, the sweatshirt was the first to be created.

It is believed that the first ever crewneck sweatshirt was created by Benjamin Russell Jnr and his father Benjamin Russell Snr. Russell Jnr was an American football player for the university of Alabama in 1920.

He became frustrated with the wool material that was traditionally used to create garments, complaining about it being itchy.  

He told his father, who was a clothing manufacturer and had founded his own company, Russell Athletic Co in 1902. Russell Jnr asked his father to create a cotton garment, rather than a woollen one, his father obliged and it became the first ever sweatshirt. 

However, it wasn’t until 1925 that the actual term ‘sweatshirt’ was coined, as the popularity of use for training in the sweatshirt increased amongst athletes.  

Later in 1930, the clothing brand, Champion started to make their own sweatshirts after they developed a new way to sew thicker materials.

They went on to create the first ever hoodie by attaching a hood to their sweatshirts, originally the hood was added as a way to keep their New York workers warm. Learn more about how to wear hoodies in our other blog post! 

American universities have played a big part in the rise of hoodies and sweatshirts too, as it became popular for universities to print and embroider their logos onto both sweatshirts and hoodies.Students generally wear these on a daily basis to show others which university they are attending.  

Both sweatshirts and hoodies have continued to rise in popularity since then. First worn for sports purposes, the garments have superseded this purpose, as they are now popular pieces in streetwear styles, primarily due to hip hop culture and music, but also as casual and loungewear too.  

Model wearing Militar Self Hoodie and Joggers


General Properties of Sweatshirts and Hoodies 

Both sweatshirts and hoodies possess the same general properties. We will highlight some key similarities and differences between both garments. 


Material of sweatshirts and hoodies 

The materials and fabrics used for both sweatshirts and hoodies are the same, so this includes cotton and cotton blend materials.

The exact material used will depend on the manufacturer that creates the garment and the aim and use you have for it.

For example, you will likely look for a thicker garment in the colder weather, during winter, but may look for thinner materials for warmer weather such as in spring or summer.   


Details of sweatshirts and hoodies 

Sweatshirts tend to be much simpler and plainer garments than hoodies. Generally, there are no extra elements to a sweatshirt other than the design on the garments.   

Whereas hoodies have many additional features that could be included. Hoodies can have a hood attached, a drawcord for the hood, a zip up hoodie, a kangaroo pocket at the front, or zip up pockets.  

Hoodies have many more options when it comes to adding extra features, making them different to sweatshirts which are much more basic. 


Why Choose a Sweatshirt? 

A sweatshirt is a great garment to have in your wardrobe. Though they are quite basic, a sweatshirt can match well with the majority of your clothes. You can wear a sweatshirt when relaxing at home, or even when you’re out and about, the options are vast. 

It fits many different aesthetics such as a casual or sporty look, making the sweatshirt very versatile when it comes to putting an outfit together.  

Examples of when to wear a sweatshirt include: 

  • Out and about with friends/family 
  • Going to the gym 
  • Attending a sports training session 
  • Going on a run 

Different styles of sweatshirts help to match the look you are going for too. For example, for a smarter look you can go for a simpler, plainer sweatshirt, but if you are looking for something more out there, which stands out, there will be options with different unique designs on sweatshirts.   

Sweatshirts are perfect for nearly any occasion; you can’t go wrong when deciding to buy one as it will be of use to you in some way! 

model wearing Militar Classic Sweatshirt


Why Choose a Hoodie?  

Similarly to a sweatshirt, a hoodie is another a great addition to your wardrobe! As we said above, hoodies are made up of the same type of materials as a sweatshirt. Ultimately, a hoodie is a sweatshirt with a hood on it.  

The key difference with a hoodie lies in the extra benefits that it provides you. Stating the obvious, a hoodie has a hood! So, it can provide some extra protection  in poorer weather conditions such as rain and snow.  

Hoodies also tend to be much more popular amongst the younger generation than the older.

The garment is well associated with streetwear, with many brands opting to customise their hoodies further with unique designs, making them stand out much more than a basic garment like a sweatshirt.  

A hoodie can also provide you with additional features depending on the design.

For example, most hoodies have a kangaroo pocket, allowing you to store essentials or put your hands in. Other hoodie designs may feature zips, allowing zipped hoodies to be worn openly (unzipped), but also zipped pockets, making your stored essentials safer.  

Hoodies come in many styles like its counterpart sweatshirts, it depends on the look and function you are looking for when choosing the right hoodie for you.  

model wearing Militar Classic Hoodie


When to choose a sweatshirt over a hoodie (or vice versa)? 

Now that we have covered reasons behind choosing each one. Let’s have a look at certain situations when a hoodie or sweatshirt may be more appropriate… 


Poor weather conditions- wear a hoodie 

When you are heading out and the temperature isn’t cold enough for a coat, but it is raining…a hoodie is a good shout.

The clear benefit to a hoodie over a sweatshirt in this scenario is the extra feature of the hood, it provides that extra protection. A sweatshirt won’t be able to provide that and could leave your head and face a little wet! 


Looking to dress up for a formal occasion- a sweatshirt is preferred 

When you are planning to go out for a formal outing such as a meal, a sweatshirt is the more preferred option, as it has a more formal look compared to the hoodie.

This is due to the fact that hoodies are a big part of streetwear, which was heavily impacted by hip hop music, so this slightly takes away from the formality of hoodies, which are seen more as casual wear than formal.

However, many younger people are opting for hoodies and it is still a great choice to wear when matched with the right outfit. 


When chilling out and relaxing- wear a hoodie or a sweatshirt? 

This one is completely up to you! There is no better outcome here, it is all down to your preference. A hoodie or a sweatshirt are both great choices to wear, as they both provide comfortability and warmth.


Drawbacks of Hoodies compared to sweatshirts: 

  • Hoodies tend to be a bit more expensive 
  • Hoodies can be viewed as less formal than sweatshirts 


Drawbacks of sweatshirts compared to Hoodies: 

  • Less features such as pockets, zips etc- much more basic 
  • May not be suitable for bad weather conditions 

Model wearing Militar Classic Sweatshirt 


Hoodies vs Sweatshirts: Overall Conclusion 

Overall, hoodies and sweatshirts are both great clothing items to have in your wardrobe. They both originally became popular due to the warmth and comfort they provided wearers, now becoming stable items that many people love to wear.  

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to picking which is better. It is all down to personal preference! 

See which one suits your needs best and pick that one, maybe both will be great for you on different occasions! 

Check out our own range of Militar Hoodies & Sweatshirts here, compiled with high quality, comfortable materials with a story behind the items. 


Post by Militar Team

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