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What’s the Difference Between a Hoodie and Crewneck Sweatshirt?

Shopping for clothes online can be an interesting experience. Use the wrong terminology in your search queries and you could miss clothing items you would otherwise love. Take the terms ‘hoodie’ and ‘sweatshirt’. Both garments share similar DNA. Yet there are a couple of distinct differences that set them apart.

For the record, manufacturers prefer to call their sweatshirts ‘crewneck’ sweatshirts these days. Adding the extra word creates a clearer distinction between hoodies and sweatshirts based on collar design. And by the way, the collar difference is the most notable difference between hoodies and crewneck shorts.

Hood or No Hood

The first and most obvious difference between hoodies and crewneck sweatshirts is what exists above the shoulders. If a garment has no hood, it is considered a crewneck sweatshirt. A hoodie obviously has a hood. This seems self-evident, but someone born prior to the mid-1970s might not see it that way.

Back then, we had sweatshirts and hooded sweatshirts. They were both sweatshirts. It wasn’t until the urbanization of the hooded sweatshirt in the late 1970s and early 80s that we started calling our hooded garments hoodies.

Incidentally, it wasn’t until just a few years ago that we started referring to non-hooded sweatshirts as crewneck sweatshirts. We borrowed the term from the t-shirt arena. Adding the term ‘crewneck’ is a pretty clear indication that most people think of the two garments as sweatshirts – one with a hood and the other without.

One- vs. Two-Piece Construction

Another distinct in difference between the two articles of clothing is their construction. All crewneck sweatshirts are single-piece garments. Most hoodies are as well. However, there are those hoodies constructed as two-piece garments with a zipper in the front. They are easier to get on and take off because they do not have to be pulled over the head.

A hood adds another dimension that you don’t get with a crewneck sweatshirt: draw strings. Every hoodie has them; no crewneck sweatshirt needs them. The drawstring’s primary purpose is to allow you to secure a hood around your head. Its secondary function is to annoy you when you aren’t wearing the hood.

As a side note, many modern hoodies come with front pockets as well. That takes them out of the athletic arena and makes them more mainstream clothing for general use.

No Difference in Materials

You might be tempted to think that crewneck sweatshirts and hoodies are made from different materials. According to Umai, a boutique clothing brand featuring original anime artwork, this is not the case. The materials are identical. Both hoodies and crewneck sweatshirts are made from 100% cotton or a cotton-poly blend.

Incidentally, this is that which makes hoodies and sweatshirts so comfortable. The way the fabrics are woven makes them comfortable. Hoodie and sweatshirt material is soft, flexible, warm, and capable of absorbing perspiration. All are characteristics you want in a garment that was originally designed to be athletic wear for college athletes.

The Cost Might Be Different

You may notice a significant difference in price when choosing between hoodies and crewneck sweatshirts. Your typical hooding will cost slightly more because more material was required to construct it. Hoodies are also slightly more difficult to make. It is not my much, but more work is more work.

Are hoodies just sweatshirts with hoods attached? Technically, yes. We use different terms just because language evolves. What we used to call sweatshirts and hooded sweatshirts have become crew neck sweatshirts and hoodies. The garments themselves haven’t changed all that much over the years. That is a good thing to know.

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