Last winter, I went on a search for the perfect hoodie. Thumbholes were a must, as was a slim fit and cozy material. Or if it wasn’t the coziest, then it had to be functional. Pockets were appreciated. But the end-all, be-all was the hood. This signature feature had to wrap me up like a comfort blanket or keep my head in a snug fit.
A hoodie, I found, is a great way to keep cozy on the go, and keep my ears warm. They are 100 percent mountain style: casual, but dress up nicely. They come in the best prints, are long and versatile, and are made with a range of materials from cotton to fleece to merino wool. They are ideal to wear to-and-from skiing, before-and-after yoga, for a quick run to the grocery store, at the bar, while sleeping, next to the fire, while you're shoveling. The hoodie's calling is utilitarian. Dudes have all kinds of hoodies to chose from--ladies not so much. Here are seven hoodies for women that I found, wore, and loved.
PICTURE ORGANIC CLOTHING
Super soft organic cotton, a deep hood, and a cowl neck made the Nautical Hoodie something I wanted to sink into and snuggle up with. But it's not a hoodie to wear only at home. The print, faux leather details, slim fit, and layered material on the neck put the Nautical on regular rotation in my wardrobe.
Picture Organic Clothing, out of France, makes some of the best cotton hoodies around. Beware of the drier, though. Mine shrank. And the pockets are not a true Kangaroo pouch. Instead they're sewn as separates without an attachment to an inner liner, so they tended to get lumpy.
Scuba Hoodie III Travel
Last winter, I lived in the Lululemon Scuba Hoodie. The breathable cotton fleece felt so cozy after a long day of skiing, and it was the perfect weight to put on over a baselayer and wear on the sundeck at après.
The material also kept the heat in, but was naturally breathable. The hallmark feature is the scuba hood, which was large enough to fit over my messy bun and shade my eyes. On airplanes, I'd zip it up to the neck, flip the hood up, lean my head against the window, and fall asleep. No matter how much I wore the Scuba Hoodie, it never lost its slim fitted shape, and thumbholes kept the sleeves in place, even though I was stuffing them in and out of jackets.
Lululemon makes a couple different versions of the Scuba Hoodie, but the travel one is great for the small interior pockets that fit credit cards and the media pocket to listen to tunes on my headphones. The best part, though, is the zipper pull, which doubles as a hair tie for those emergency situations.
Cora Bonded Fleece Hoodie
When the weather is brewing up a big storm, there are a few errands I have to get done: Fill up the gas tank, stock up on groceries, catch up on my shoveling. The Cora Bonded Fleece Hoody, made with polyester knit jersey face fabric bonded to a brushed fleece backing, was my go-to for running around town when the weather started to spit out moisture.
The water- and wind-resistant pullover has a DWR finish, and its streetwear-inspired fit was slim enough to layer under my shells but large enough to wear over baselayers if it was cold enough. But more often than not, I wore this hoodie solo, without layers underneath, because it was so warm and fit me more like a shirt than a sweatshirt. A ribbed material on the cuffs and bottom hem with thumbholes kept it in place.
Callahan Base Layer Fleece
The Callahan is a versatile hoodie in that it's a baselayer with street sense. Made with stretch fleece fabric woven with NanoRed polyester, the Callahan is a borderline-hoodie and on the warm end of baselayers. I wore it around town, with jeans, and on the mountain as an uber-comfy baselayer. It's not as long fitting as some of the other hoodies in this roundup, but the fit was tailored to look good for town, while stretch material gave me the freedom to move around on the mountain.
As someone who likes to disappear in my hoods, I loved the sewn-in facemask, which felt like a balaclava. Pulled all the way up, the facemask went up to my nose and met the snug-fitting hood at my ears. When I didn't want the facemask, I folded it down. It also comes with thumbholes.
Presley Riding Hoodie
Now we're crossing over into functional hoodie territory, for those days when cotton is impractical and you need something that can keep you warm, but not too warm, on high-activity days. Flylow's Presley Riding Hoodie is made with polyester fabric and hard-faced fleece that is wind- and water-resistant. The collar zips up high enough to shield your nose and mouth. The hood is big and loose but can be cinched up tight. The fit is long and looser than others in this collection, so it's a good option for a true, practical mid-layer.
The Saturn Hoodie by La Sportiva is a function-first baselayer. La Sportiva's ethos is all about helping people get to the highest, most beautiful mountain landscapes, so their gear is always going to come with a backcountry bias. What the Saturn Hoodie lacks in street style, it more than makes up for in sensibility for backcountry skiing.
An EKS/merino wool blend turns the Saturn into a thermal to generate heat and absorb sweat. Flatlock seams mean zero chaffage on the skin track, or when you're wearing a backpack. One of the best parts of the ladies is the fitted hood, which has a hole in the pack for your ponytail--a genius, if dorky, feature. Few things bother me more than whisps of hair in my face when I'm sweating. The hood kept my hair in place and my ears warm, too. For what it's worth, the Saturn was also the best at suppressing body odor.
R1 Fleece Hoodie
A staple of any mountain girl's hoodie collection, the Patagonia R1 is the classic, functional mid-layer with a hood. At the far end of the spectrum from the cotton hoodies, it serves the same purpose, with more emphasis on getting after it in the snow than running errands around town. I loved the R1 for days when I'd ski a few laps in the morning, swap ski pants for jeans, do a couple errands, come home and shovel the driveway, and then make a fire. It's made for the mountains and the people who live in them.
The R1 is a pullover made with Polartec Power Grid fabric which gives it the right balance of stretch, comfort, and durability. Polygiene permanent odor control works pretty good--much better than capilene, but not as good as merino. The fit is snug, and so is the hood. I couldn't snuggle up in the R1 like I could other hoodies, but it's also made more sense to pack on trips when I needed to pack light because it compresses down to a small fold.
Patagonia makes the R1 for men and for women, but I actually preferred the bright yellow color, so I opted for the men’s version. The size small fit me well, maybe a bit longer than the women’s, but that’s I prefer.