The best fleeces for women are a must this winter. As temperatures plummet, this sporty, '90s-inspired style is one of the chicest ways to weather-proof your wardrobe.
Previously reserved for dog walks and country pursuits, the fleece has undergone something of a re-brand in recent years. Thanks to the popularity of '90s fashion trends and Gorpcore fashion, the best fleeces for women have joined the ranks of leggings, puffer jackets, and bum bags in being the latest style to add to your wardrobe stat.
A great update to your best sweaters, fleeces have plenty going for them. They’re warm, cozy and can be styled in a number of different ways depending on whether you opt for something form-fitting or oversized. The technical nature of the fabric means extra protection from the elements, and, as they’re all synthetic, there’s no need to consider wool allergies and they're easily washable. From designer iterations to straight-to-market style steals, the growth in popularity for fleeces has meant that they're widely available too, with trend-led pieces, or casual, wear-with-everything designs too. These are the 21 best fleeces for women we're loving this season.
21 best fleeces for women to shop now
RRP: $129 / £120 | Crafted with the consideration you’d expect from Patagonia, this lightweight fleece features a stand-up collar for warmth and a chest pocket to keep your essentials close by. With an on-trend half-zip design, we love the purple accent pocket for a burst of much-needed color.
RRP: $34.99 / £24.99 | If you want a fleece that’s going to make you feel as cozy as a teddy bear, this is it. A bargain buy that maximizes on style and warmth, wear with your best leggings and this season’s chunky boots trend for a cool everyday look. The built-in hood is a nice touch for chilly days.
RRP: $89 / £79 | Arket has taken the traditional fleece and run with it, creating a long-line, oversized design. It’s cut to fall just above the knee, with an A-line shape and slits at the sides to stop it from swamping your frame. Easy to slip on over the best skinny jeans or a pair of leather-look leggings for added polish.
RRP: $99 / £59 | A classic piece with a Scandi touch, Cos has foregone the traditional stand-up collar on this fleece in favor of a round neck. Add interest to the lower neckline by layering a crisp white shirt beneath and letting the collar peek through. The chunky seams add extra interest.
RRP: $45 / £40 | This cropped fleece is giving us '80s vibes. The drawstring hemline not only makes it easy to adjust based on where you want the crop to sit but will trap warmth too. Wear with something form-fitting, like leggings or skinny jeans on the bottom half to avoid adding too much bulk to your silhouette.
RRP: $50 / £40 | A statement fleece if ever we saw one, the graphic design gives this traditional style a whole new lease of life. Wear the collar zipped up for a sportier look or drop the neckline down for a more relaxed feel. Crafted recycled polyester, this is a great choice for eco-friendly shoppers.
RRP: $138 / £115 | Sweaty Betty doesn’t just do fleece, they do Italian fleece which is almost impossibly soft. An elevated take on the classic zip-up, the cut features a funnel neck and paneled, adjustable waistband for a waist-fitting finish. Getting to and from your exercise class has never looked so good.
RRP: $100 / £89.95 | Don’t love a zip? No problem. The brass-covered poppers give this fleece a sophisticated, overshirt-style feel. If the lighter color makes you nervous, rest assured it’s fully machine washable. Ideal for wearing on its own or layering under your best waterproof jacket, just add your best hiking boots.
RRP: $168 / £158 | This jacket blends cozy fleece with a wind-proof and water-resistant fabric across the back, chest, and shoulders for extra protection from the elements. The classic cut already leaves space for layering, so you can buy your usual size with confidence and layer up underneath on bitterly cold days.
RRP: $138 / £120 | Not content with just being soft and fuzzy on the outside, this is gorgeous on the inside too, plus the elasticated cuffs and hem make sure that the warmth stays put. With fabric made from 100% recycled plastic bottles, this is another brand doing its bit for the planet.
RRP: $28 / £24.90 | It’s almost impossible to talk about technical clothing without mentioning Uniqlo, our go-to destination for the best thermals and stylish puffer jackets. This fleece is simple yet effective, with a wide range of colors and an extra fuzzy fabric for added texture. Pair with light blue jeans.
RRP: $148 / £100 | We trust UGG to keep our feet cozy, and now you can get that same protective feeling through a sweater. If you're looking for the protection of a fleece without the full Gorpcore look, this keeps the fluffiest fabric hidden on the inside for maximum softness, with a smoother one on the outside.
RRP: $179 / £89 | Chic and simple, this no-frills fleece makes for an understated capsule wardrobe essential. It’s slightly oversized and longline, for a relaxed feel that will make any winter outfit feel instantly sportier. Layer one of the best gilets over the top for a look that will take you into the great outdoors.
RRP: $89.95 / £69.99 | This half-zip sweatshirt has been designed with staying active in mind, combining borg fleece with a cropped cut that won’t hinder your mobility. It’s available in four different shades for maximum styling options, but the peppermint green gets our vote this season.
RRP: $110 / £65 | Teaming together the warmth of a jumper with the protection of a waterproof jacket, this Under Armour fleece is built for ultimate performance. The color clash detailing sets this apart from your average monochrome activewear, giving it an edgy sports luxe feel.
RRP: $110 / £100 | Sherpa fleece is a particular type of fleece, with a chunky, fluffy knit on one side and a smoother knit on the other. It’s designed to mimic sheep's wool, for a more natural appearance. Plainer on the bottom half, for a streamlined look. The print at the top adds a fun twist.
RRP: $89.95 / £79.95 | One of the heaviest fleeces on the list, this has been designed with warmth as the top priority. Plenty of thought has gone into the small details too, with a 100% recycled polyester fabric and pretty woven taping running alongside the zips for detail. The front pockets add practicality.
RRP: $108 / £69.50 | Block color not your thing? Add interest to your activewear with a pretty pattern instead. In our opinion, you can never have too many pockets, so we love that this has two to the side as well as a bonus one on the chest. With this much space, you could even leave your handbag at home.
RRP: $100 / £89 | Quilted khaki on top, cream teddy on the bottom, this fleece offers the best of both worlds. As both the shades are neutral, this will coordinate with wardrobe essentials of any color, helping you to max out your cost-per-wear. The ultimate throw-on-and-go piece for busy winter mornings.
RRP: $30 / £25 | A great fleece for layering, this Regatta design is streamlined and lightweight. The hardwearing fabric has been designed not to pill, meaning you don’t have to worry about pesky bobbling. Quick drying this fleece is ideal for activity days such as hiking or camping and a piece you can reach for year through.
RRP: $60 / £40 | Known for making some of the best pajamas, Chelsea Peers’ expansion of its eye-catching patterns into daywear is a welcome one. This leopard print fleece will go with almost anything in your wardrobe - after all it's a neutral. Wear with the contrast fleece on the neckline showing for a stylish twist.
Should a fleece be tight or loose?
Whether your fleece should be tight or loose depends mostly on how and when you intend to wear it. If you want to wear your fleece for sport or any outdoor activities like hiking, it probably makes sense for it to be relatively tight so there’s no excess fabric getting in your way. However, if it’s more for leisurely walks and day-to-day casual wear, then the fit matters less. If you feel cooler or more comfortable when wearing baggier or oversized clothing, then go ahead. Just think about what you want to wear and layer with your fleece too. A loose fit is best to make space for base layers like a long-sleeve top or t-shirt beneath, without swamping your frame. If you want to put your best winter coat over the top, then wide, fuzzy arms aren’t going to be easy to slot into the sleeves, so, in this case, opt for a lightweight fleece with a tighter fit.
What does a 300 fleece weight mean?
Ready to get technical about fleece? Performance fleeces can be differentiated by micro, 100, 200, and 300, all of which indicate a different level of warmth. Micro fleeces are the thinnest, which makes them best for wearing for sweaty activities like running, as the lighter fabric will dry faster than a heavier fleece. 100 is a step up, providing slightly more warmth than a micro. Consider this your spring, summer or shoulder-season fleece, adding that little extra warmth when you don’t quite need a jacket. A 200 fleece is another step up from the 100, and will keep you toasty in colder weather. Finally, there’s the 300 fleece, which is the thickest and coziest of them all. With greater warmth comes greater bulk, and 300 fleeces are less flexible than lightweight options. You could wear a 300 fleece for walking outside, but for activities like climbing or playing sports, it would be a bit of a hindrance.
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Jess Beech is an experienced fashion and beauty editor, with more than eight years experience in the publishing industry. She has written for woman&home, GoodtoKnow, Now, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own and Chat, and is a former Deputy Fashion & Beauty Editor at Future PLC. A beauty obsessive, Jess has tried everything from cryotherapy to chemical peels (minus the Samantha in Sex and The City-worthy redness) and interviewed experts including Jo Malone and Trinny Woodall.
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