Hoodie Vs Sweater: What Is The Difference?

If you’re new to fashion, it can feel a little complicated.

These days, there are so many popular garments, and those garments have many different styles, and those styles have many unique, intricate details that it can all feel a little overwhelming or you don’t know where to begin, and just want to spend the entirety of the season in your pajamas.

We’ve all been there.

If you’re looking for some inspiration on what to wear this season, we’ve got you covered. Hoodies and sweaters are some of the most versatile garments out there!

They can be found in many styles and worn with many different items, you can make so many different looks with the same garment!

Hoodie Vs Sweater What Is The Difference (2)

We believe hoodies and sweaters are an essential item in everyone’s wardrobe, but we also know many people don’t know the difference between the two!

So, in this article, we will be talking about the differences between hoodies and sweaters, their origins, how to style them, and more! 

What Exactly Is A Hoodie?

The hoodie is an old-school, classic piece of clothing that has been around for decades and it’s still very much in style today. It has a characteristic hood on the back that sets it apart from typical sweatshirts.

They are usually made out of cotton and have drawstrings on the hood so they can be pulled up over your head when you need some extra warmth. Hoodies typically have a kangaroo pouch on the front. 

Hoodies are versatile garments that can be worn with anything from jeans to shorts or even dresses. People generally wear hoodies as athleisure and it is not uncommon to see individuals wearing them to keep warm before a sports game or event.

They can even be worn as loungewear. Additionally, manual laborers or tradespeople can wear hoodies as part of their uniform (provided they work outdoors.) 

Hoodies have many cultural links. They are commonly associated with young people, but unfortunately, they sometimes have classist connotations that give them an unwarranted bad reputation.

Because of this, hoodies are seen as more informal garments, especially in comparison to other types of sweatshirts. 

Additionally, many groups, such as schools, clubs, sports teams, etc, will have hoodies that represent them! This makes them a great style choice if you want to represent a club you belong to or a sports team that you love!

RELATED: How To Make Pants Bigger Around The Waist

What Exactly Is A Sweater?

Sweaters have a much broader definition. The term covers a range of garments. Sweaters are a type of pullover top that is typically knitted or crocheted.

They are also wool-blend or warm wool tops, particularly if the tops in question have long sleeves. They come in many different styles and patterns. 

You can have sweaters that vary in garment style, thickness, weight, and sleeve length. Most sweaters are often used as outerwear, typically being worn as a layering piece under jackets and over shirts and t-shirts. 

Traditionally, sweaters were part of the slow fashion movement and were usually tailored to fit the body of the wearer. They were usually crocheted or hand-knitted. Now, handmade sweaters are considered more luxurious thanks to the rise of machine-made clothing.

Not unlike hoodies, sweaters are considered to be appropriate protection for laborers from cold weather.

However, unlike hoodies, sweaters are considered acceptable for more formal occasions. Typically, the fit, material, and shape of a sweater is a good indicator of what type of garment it is – formal, casual, etc.

It also depends on anything that makes the sweater stand out – so if the sweater in question has zippers, buttons, cut-outs, etc. 

It is also not uncommon to see many themed sweaters making the rounds during certain times of the year. For example, the ugly Christmas sweater is a classic staple of the season. 

What’s The Difference Between A Hoodie And A Sweater?

Hoodies and sweaters do appear to have many similarities, but there are differences between these two pieces of apparel. Here are the differences between a hoodie and a sweater broken down into key points:

The Hood

Of course, the most obvious difference is that hoodies have hoods, sweaters do not.

The Type Of Fabric 

Sweaters and hoodies are normally made from different types of fabric. Or, to put it more accurately, a sweater can be made from more fabric types than a hoodie can. Fabrics used to make hoodies include:

  • Cotton 
  • Cotton blends 
  • Fleece 
  • French terry 

The typical fabrics used to make sweaters include:

  • Wool 
  • Wool blends 

The Shape Of The Garment 

Typically, hoodies have a kangaroo pocket and are not waist shapen. They will sometimes have a zipper or multiple zippers.

Meanwhile, sweaters come in various shapes, they can have zippers, buttons, include waist shaping, etc. 

Typical Uses 

Hoodies are considered more appropriate as athleisure or loungewear, while sweaters can be worn for a variety of occasions, including formal wear.

This, of course, is considered to be dependent on the shape, fabric, and fit of the sweater in question. 


Hoodies and sweaters are both seamed, but sweaters can also be seamless. 


Hoodies are a subgroup of sweatshirts, while sweaters have many subgroups, such as cardigans. This means that there are a lot more garments that are considered sweatshirts than hoodies. 


Both hoodies and sweaters are used to keep people warm, but they both originate at totally different times.

Hoodies are from the 1930s, and were invented to keep construction and other outdoor workers warm, while sweaters date all the way back to the 15th century, and were made specifically for sailors and fishermen! 

How To Style A Hoodie 

Hoodie Vs Sweater What Is The Difference (2)

Hoodies are great for throwing on during winter or during a cold summer night. They’re also great for traveling or running errands.

While some people may consider a hoodie to be an unprofessional look, others feel that it adds a bit of flair to their wardrobe. Additionally, hoodies are extremely easy to style. 

RELATED: How To Make Pants Or Jeans Smaller

Top Layer 

Aside from throwing a hoodie over whatever loungewear or athleisure you have on, you can go for a more “out there” look and style your hoodie over blouses or shirts with fancy detailing.

However, it is important to go for an oversized hoodie, in this case, otherwise, the shirt can look bumpy underneath the hoodie – and nobody wants that. 

If you want to go for a more classic look, then throughout history people have loved wearing a hoodie with another jacket.

This can include anything from bomber jackets, jean jackets, and leather jackets – as long as it contrasts the hoodie! 

Put the hoodie on and layer your chosen jacket on top – just don’t forget to pop the hood out, or you’ll have a massive lump of clothing sitting awkwardly on your back!

Complete the look by making sure the cuffs and hem of the hoodie stick out. 

Bottom Layer 

Styling your bottom layer to match your hoodie depends entirely on where you’re going. If planning on spending an extended amount of time outdoors, then it is best to style it with jeans or sweatpants.

Sometimes, you can even find matching sweatpants for your hoodie – so don’t forget to check those out! 

If you’re wearing a hoodie as loungewear, then it works perfectly with leggings, pajama pants, or joggers. 

Additional Hoodie Styling Tips

There’s no reason why a hoodie can’t make you feel stylish! If you want to add a little extra style to your hoodie-based, outfit, here are some tips:

  • Wear it with a popular bottom layer, such as a trending jean
  • Pair it with boots 
  • Layer under a jacket or coat and add accessories like scarves, hats, jewelry, etc. 
  • Consider adding a belt to accentuate your waistline 

It is important to keep in mind that depending on the color of the hoodie, it may clash with certain colors, so think about what colors you would like to pair it with. 

How To Style A Sweater 

Hoodie Vs Sweater What Is The Difference (2)

There are many different ways to style a sweater because they’re such a versatile item of clothing! You can wear them as a layering piece, or throw them on with everything.

As previously mentioned, sweaters come in multiple styles, which means that you can choose one that suits your personality better.

However, it also means that you need to consider a lot more factors when it comes to styling than you do with a hoodie.

For example, sweaters need different styling methods depending on the fit – a cropped sweater will need a different styling technique to an oversized sweater or a cardigan. 

Top Layer

Luckily, we have some great styling tips for a variety of sweaters. Turtlenecks are a type of sweater that looks great as the sole top layer of your outfit!

But, if you want to wear a crew neck or v-neck sweater, then both of these look great with a collared shirt, which adds a nice, stylish layer to your outfit.

The great thing about sweaters is that they can be dressed both up and down, so are perfect for formal and informal events.

Additionally, the type of sweater you wear indicates the look you’re going for, too. So, chunky sweaters highlight a more casual look, white lacy, delicate sweaters work amazingly for formal attire. 

Bottom Layer

You can wear any bottom layer with a sweater, but it is good to consider what you’re doing on the day you choose to wear it.

Pairing your sweater with jeans is an excellent casual look, while sweaters paired with skirts, slacks, or chinos elevate your look and give you a formal, chic vibe.  

Don’t forget certain shoes serve the same function as your bottom layer in terms of formal and informal wear. Trainers are perfect for casual days off, while boots and heels are perfect for formal parties, dinners, or work events! 

RELATED: How To Repair A Sewing Machine By Yourself! Complete Guide


Additionally, sweaters can be worn all year round, provided you style them correctly! For example, if you pair a cropped sweater with a high-waist dress and tights, then this is the perfect look for fall!

On the other hand, taking a cardigan and placing it over a mini or maxi dress works very well in the summer. However, for both of these examples, it is important to ensure that the waistline of both the sweater and the dress match up, so they don’t wrinkle or lump together. 


Last but not least, we have outerwear. Sweaters pair nicely with various styles of outerwear, including parkas, blazers (if you want to make a bold statement), and leather jackets. 

Frequently Asked Questions

We understand that this may be confusing to those who are new to fashion. To make it easier for you to understand, we have compiled a list of FAQs that others have found helpful when it comes to sweaters and hoodies.

Are Sweatshirts And Hoodies The Same Things? 

A hoodie is a type of sweatshirt. There are many other types of garments that are considered sweatshirts, but not hoodies.

To put it simply, hoodies have hoods, while other types of sweatshirts do not. However, not all hooded items of clothing are considered hoodies. 

For example, plenty of outerwear has a hood, such as a jacket, a parka, and a raincoat. The key difference between these items of clothing and hoodies is that they serve different functions and are made from different materials. 

Are Hoodies And Crewnecks The Same Things?

No, hoodies and crewnecks are not the same things. This is because they have different necklines which means it is impossible to be the same.

The defining feature of a hoodie is the hood. Meanwhile, crewneck refers to the specific type of neckline of that sweatshirt. So, in this case, because they have different necklines then they cannot be the same things. 

It is often the case that retailers will have sweatshirts that feature the same design and are made from the same material. However, if one has a hood, a kangaroo pocket, and a different neckline to the other, then they are different things. 

Are Sweaters And Pullovers The Same Things?

A pullover is both a type of sweatshirt and a type of sweater. All the term “pullover” means, is a garment that does not unbutton or unzip, and all you need to do to get it on is pull it over your head.

A pullover is a layering piece as opposed to a base layer, while other types of sweaters can be considered base layers. 

It is important to note that any style of sweatshirt or sweater can be considered a pullover. Pullovers can have many different fits, shapes, and necklines. The only defining feature of a pullover is the lack of fastenings. 

Are Sweaters And Cardigans The Same Things?

A cardigan is a type of sweater. Unlike pullovers, they have fastenings (such as buttons) that close the material. However, not all cardigans have fastenings, and they can be worn open revealing the base layer underneath. 

Most of the time, cardigans are made from knit fabric, as opposed to woven fabric. Cardigans can be any length and can feature pockets. Additionally, a cardigan can have a variety of necklines. 

Many people consider cardigans to be more formal than other types of sweaters. You will often see them as part of twin sets and business casual styles.

Just like the hoodie, the cardigan has cultural connotations too. Many individuals associate cardigans with the elderly, with class connotations leaning more towards the upper class in comparison to the hoodie.

However, the cardigan is often worn in a more casual way, being paired with summer dresses, jeans, and you can even find cropped cardigans paired with shorts!  

Final Thoughts 

Hoodies and sweaters may first appear to be the same thing, but they are in fact fairly different. While they are both used to keep people warm, they have different origins, fits, and styles.

Hoodies are a subgroup of sweatshirts and are considered to be the more informal of the two. They are characterized by both their classic hood and their kangaroo pocket.

Hoodies are typically made from different materials to sweaters, commonly fleece or cotton. There are many ways to style a hoodie – you can pair it with a jean jacket for a timeless, classic look, or you can choose something a little more out-there, and pair your hoodie with a button-down. 

Sweaters are more versatile because they have many subgroups, such as turtlenecks and cardigans. Sweaters are typically made from wool or a wool blend.

Because there are many different subgroups of sweaters, that means there are many different styles to them, too. Not only that but there are many different ways to style a sweater. 

You can pair your v-neck sweater with jeans and trainers if you want to go for a casual look, but you can also pair your cardigan with a summer dress and heels if you want to go for a formal, spring day look. 

Ultimately, there is a hoodie and sweater style out there for everyone, so make sure you find yours! 

Amanda Brown

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *