Whether it's of sentimental value or has just been beaten into perfection, a well-aged hooded sweatshirt is a style necessity for men – the closest thing to a safety blanket we're allowed. Hoodies are worn and worn until they wind up in tatters or the garbage. Fortunately, American Giant has engineered a hoodie that can't be killed.
A basic hoodie seems pretty simple to build. Add a drawstring hood to a sweatshirt and sew a pouch or pockets at the waist. That's it. But the longevity-obsessed designers at San Francisco-based American Giant took a different approach. Founder Bayard Winthrop hired Philipe Manoux, the man responsible for the first iPhone touchscreen, and asked him to create an improved hoodie prototype.
Manoux started with the material. He chose heavyweight cotton, rather than the polyester-cotton used by most labels, for its exceptional durability and softness. He then masterminded a method of picking out individual loops in the fabric to make it fluffier and more comfortable on the inside and added spandex to the sleeves to prevent stretching out over time. The hood's drawstrings were dyed to match each color and heavy-gauge thread was used on each seam so nothing could pull loose.
But the biggest change is form, not material. Manoux's hoodie is fitted close to the chest and tapered around the stomach, doing away with the slouchiness of traditional hoodies. It would follow that a fitted hoodie would be harder to move around in, but Manroux added side panels with a bit more give. These panels allow for the arms to be raised without losing the fit, and they join the front of the garment to the back, which provides wearers with a bit of give should they pack on a few pounds.
That last feature is more critical than you might think because the hoodie, which shrinks on first wash, is as durable as any work coat and will remain in your closet forever. It may not be your oldest hooded sweatshirt yet, but it will be. Just give it time. [$79; american-giant.com]