The Fleece Has Finally Got Fashion Credentials – Just Ask Hailey Bieber

Fleeces are having a moment (no, really).

Hailey Bieber fleece

by Laura Antonia Jordan |
Updated on

In my teens, my mother became inexplicably attached to a lilac and green fleece which was as revolting as it sounds. My sister and I refused to be seen with her when she wore it, which was a lot. ‘It makes you look like a geography teacher,’ we would tell her. ‘I am a geography teacher!’ she would retort, factually. ‘Yes, but it makes you look like one!’ Quite why she had to dress like she was going on a field trip when she was going to Waitrose remains a mystery to me, as did the fleece itself, something of an outlier in her wardrobe, an otherwise impeccably-edited place where Margaret Howell, COS and Marni were given top billing.

Eventually she parted ways with the fleece, although I have it on good grounds that this was less to do with our pleading and more to do with her discovery of Uniqlo Heattech. Still, everyone was happy.

But now in a strange twist, I have suddenly taken to wearing fleeces. I’m not sure if it’s down to the endless loops I spent trudging around Hampstead Heath during lockdown or the fact that I spend too much time with men in their fifties, but either way, the fashion gods are laughing at my transformation into my mother and the teen me is mortified and sulking in her bedroom.

Hailey Bieber fleece

Luckily for me, my own love of a fleece coincides with their having a fashion moment. The logical progression of ‘normcore’ dressing, the fleece is making a play to become the new tourist trainer/baseball cap/Birkenstock. Bella Hadid and Hailey Bieber – who are hardly known for a Rohan approach to style – have both have a fleece vest from The North Face (Bieber has also been wearing an alpine-print style from Connor Ives). Emrata, meanwhile, owns one from UGG. You can find them on the high street right now at Arket, Uniqlo and J.Crew. If you still find the zip-front, funnel-neck jackets a bit too camp (as in site), then seek out a fleecy jumper instead (COS has a great version). If you want to keep your love of fleece undercover, then there's a pair of thermal, fleece-lined jeans you need to know about.

How to wear without looking like you're going embarking on your Duke of Edinburgh expedition? It's all about contrast. Give a floaty dress an up-for-anything spin by chucking a fleece over the top (very Copenhagen girl), or take your cue from Bieber and team with black leggings and a baseball cap (cycling shorts are out of the question until spring, obviously).

The hipster fleece has been stealthily creeping up on us for a while now. New York designer and all-round cool girl Sandy Liang has been celebrating them for a few seasons. Chopova Lowena has recycled-fibre fleece jackets that are almost as cult as its kilt. Patagonia has long been the off-duty go-to of fashion insiders and, in the year its founder announced that he was effectively giving the company away to safeguard the interests of the planet, the fleece’s assent to hero status feels somehow fitting.

Of course, many of the fleece’s winning qualities remain the same as they ever were: they’re warm and comfortable. You can't ask for much more than that.


SHOP: The Best Fleecy Buys

UGG, Marlene II Sherpa Jacket1 of 10

UGG, Marlene II Sherpa Jacket

Rails, Lorna Jacket2 of 10

Rails, Lorna Jacket

COS, Oversized Mock-Neck Teddy Sweatshirt3 of 10

COS, Oversized Mock-Neck Teddy Sweatshirt

Arket, Fleece Hoodie4 of 10

Arket, Fleece Hoodie

Uniqlo, Fluffy Fleece Zipped Jacket5 of 10

Uniqlo, Fluffy Fleece Zipped Jacket

Samsøe Samsøe, Ani Full Zip6 of 10

Samsøe Samsøe, Ani Full Zip

Patagonia, Reclaimed Fleece Pullover7 of 10

Patagonia, Reclaimed Fleece Pullover

Isabel Marant's Étoile, Marner Ikat-Jacquard Fleece Sweatshirt8 of 10

Isabel Marant's Étoile, Marner Ikat-Jacquard Fleece Sweatshirt

The North Face, Cragmont Fleece Jacket9 of 10

The North Face, Cragmont Fleece Jacket

J.Crew, Quilted Sherpa Fleece Half-Zip Pullover10 of 10

J.Crew, Quilted Sherpa Fleece Half-Zip Pullover

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us