Why your Dad foresaw fleece chic

Rewind your garm clock a few years back, and fleeces probably weren’t making you tick. They were the uniform of Dads who watched too much Coast and the go-to outfit for a geography teacher on a school trip. There’s something about the bobbly polyester jacket that doesn’t really lend itself to street fashion, or any fashion at all. Five years ago, fleeces becoming fashionable was as believable as – err – people paying hundreds for a brick that says Supreme (fashion is silly, eh).

Now, fleeces are adorning wardrobes of people not even old enough to be doing a tax return. It started a couple of years ago as an ironic trend, a kind of appropriation of a previously unwearable item into something that could be as cool as it is warm. There are three main groups: high-end brands (Tommies and Ralphies), outdoor labels (North Face, Berghaus) and some rather funky other ones spat-out (with a mouthful of prawn cocktail and cheese-pop) from the 80s.

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Having said that, it’s not actually the first time that fleeces have been in vogue. As Rosemary Harden – curator of the Bath Fashion Museum – pointed out in an interview with the BBC, the whole thing originally kicked off with the acid house scene. Fleeces would be stuffed into backpacks for walking back through the bitter, harsh sunrise of empty suburban streets, a blanket for the comedown. Soon after, they became tragically uncool; worn by people who thought piano house was a chain selling vintage Steinbecks.

The beauty of the fleece is that, since it is ultimately practical wear, it practically goes with everything. Whack it over a baggy tee and pair with some neutral jeans and trainers and you’re ready to go. As with most 90s trends, oversized is king; pick a size up for a comfy, casual fit. Zip-up to bathe in its full, godly warmness or flash a bit of tee with a quarter-zip look. There are some pretty wavy ones if you’ve got the time to have a good look; Marlboro, National Geographic and Burger King have all put their names to some vintage fleeces.

Right now, we’ve just sold a rather cracking blue Berghaus number; but do not fear, there are lots more to come in the very near future. Just remember – next time your wearing your wavy #af fleece, give your Dad a hearty pat on his polyester covered back – he was on that hype first.

Kyle MacNeill  – TVC in house blogger

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