As menswear and streetwear have gotten crunchier, fleece has become the reigning fabric of fall and winter. Those who've adopted the trend have learned what outdoorsy folk have always known: strong pile polyester is as comfy as it is insulating, an ideal piece for layering or wearing on its own when temps haven't quite hit freezing.
Malden Mills, now known as PolarTec, and Patagonia were the first to develop fleece as an alternative to wool in 1979. Like wool does naturally, fleece maintains warmth while wet while weighing a fraction of its predecessor. And more than 40 years after it was first introduced, it remains one of the most most widely used fabrics in technical apparel.
Now that fleece has become so popular amongst the fashionable set, it isn't just the outdoor mavens like The North Face and Patagonia that have a stronghold on the fabric. Many reputable brands have made fleece their own, bringing an inventiveness that goes far beyond utility. Sandy Liang makes fleece big and weird in jackets intended for women that men just can't resist, while streetwear brands apply their expertise in must-have graphics.
To hold you down as temperatures drop, we've put together the 10 coolest fleeces you can find. Even if you already have one or five, there's always room for another fleece in your collection.