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First things first, sweatshirts have little-to-nothing to do with sweating anymore. Although we may still borrow some aesthetic references from Jane Fonda, we hardly expect your designer sweatshirts to see a class of aerobics or soul cycle. The art of relaxed dressing has permeated through all areas of fashion, even making the odd surprise outing on haute couture runways. This fascination with sportswear, which started gaining momentum as early as the 1920s, has often been a reflection of movement and freedom. Today we could arguably say that this is still the case, even though women's bathing suits and aeroplanes are hardly a new topic. What embodies movement and freedom now? What inspires designer activewear trends, and more specifically, ladies sweatshirts? Well, everything.

The way we live our lives is now dynamic, flexible and busy – very busy. We go from sports classes to conferences, school pick-ups to friends’ dinners, art openings to hip bars, weekends away to university evening classes. What we wear, like many other things that accompany us, has changed radically. Often now, the functionality of the item is to seamlessly integrate itself in the many facets of our day. Cue the sweatshirt. 


Valentino may have had a dreamy mood board of references when designing one of his women's sweatshirts, but the outcome is no less practical than the original intention. It just means that looking chic from 8am to 8pm has been made much easier, thanks to you, Mr. Valentino. Sweatshirts for women have taken on a multitude of shapes and proportions, sometimes all in one season. Oversized, shrunken, a cropped sweatshirt or a sweatshirt so long it's more like a dress. Tight rolled sleeves, or fluted sleeves, boat necks or turtlenecks, this piece has moved a fair distance from its Ivy League sport locker pedigree.


The tongue-in-cheek return of brash branding, for a lot of us, is a super nostalgic walk back in time. The great thing is that now we can upgrade our sweater from our mall-trawling teens into a Balmain, GivenchyVersace or even an Off-White or a Gucci sweatshirt. We don’t know who re-ignited this great fun, but it seems to have landed square into the laps of the new 'Supermodels' like the Jenners and the Hadids. Women's sweatshirts have embraced a whole history of teenage dreams, and it seems it holds a future of more of the same!  

There is of course still the ‘sloppy joe’ style sweatshirt that we also hold dear to our hearts, the one that goes under designer blazers and over skinny jeans when the day feels just too difficult. Or the grey sweatshirt you wear on your way to yoga that makes you feel sporty just by putting it on. Printed sweatshirts, remember them? They're cool again, which is a dive further back into the past than high school. Designer hoodies made an unexpected return with the explosive movement otherwise known as Vetements. Sending models down the runway with similarly nostalgic, printed sweatshirts, with disproportionately long arms and lengths, for the fashion veterans it felt like a strong move reminiscent of early Maison Margiela, the design house in which the Vetements group trained. So it seems a women's sweatshirt is inspired with more than just movement and freedom – it’s also loaded with reminiscence, teenage idol posters, gym class, Jane Fonda – you can just keep going back.

Discover more: Designer tops | Acne Studios sweatshirts | Balenciaga hoodies | Dolce&Gabbana sweatshirts | More must-have items

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