A Sweater You Can Work Out In

Courtesy American Mountain Co.

Quarter zip fleeces are ubiquitous, and they all look kind of the same. That wasn’t good enough for American Mountain Company. They wanted a fleece with all the technical properties that makes Polartec Power Dry the best fleece you can buy — breathability, moisture wicking, packability, warmth, and stretch. But they wanted it to be your favorite sweater, not just a layer you pull on to keep you warm while hiking or skiing. Founder Brad Sawdon says he was “sick of what was out there.” 

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“Everything technical looked almost futuristic, and everything that looked great was not technical,” he says. “I wanted to bring those two things together, to create something truly different.” With the No. 503, American Mountain Co. started at the neck, making it long enough to cover your chin on nippy mornings and frosty afternoons. They gave it five low-profile brass snaps instead of the standard zip, then they added playful ribbed cuffs and a tailored fit through the body. We wore the Henley-style pullover on Vermont ski weekends, but it also became our favorite layer for cool nights on the Cape. Worn alone, it took the chill off, without making us look like we just came from the gym. Because it’s trim, it also layered easily under a shell or softshell. And, if being made in America is important to you — this head-turning technical sweater, as well as all of the company’s other garments, fits the bill. No. 503’s fabric is made in Lawrence, Mass., and it’s sewn in Oregon or Washington. Also available in a hooded version. [$139; americanmountainco.com]