At Just Sweatshirts, cotton sweatshirts are one of our staples. Versatile, comfortable, and extremely practical from standpoints of both fashion and function, sweatshirts can be some of the best pieces in your wardrobe. They’re comfortable in all seasons, can be endlessly mixed and matched (you’re limited only by your creative imagination), and are relatively easy to care for. Here’s just about everything you need to know, from history to care to ideas for fashion - as well as why you really should be wearing cotton in the first place.
What Is Cotton?
Cotton is a fiber harvested from plants in the genus Gossypium; the fiber has been used in the manufacture of textiles for many thousands of years, with some estimates placing the first domestic uses of cotton nearly 7,000 years before the present time.
The plants produce structures known as bolls that contain both seeds and the characteristic white fibers. When mature, the bolls are harvested and the seeds removed, after which point the fibers can be spun and woven into fabrics from which textiles can be produced.
There are three main types of cotton produced in the world today. The finest grades of cotton are Egyptian and Pima cotton, which produces very long cotton fibers that are highly regarded due to their resistance to wear, stress, fading, and fraying; these also produce very soft fabrics.
Most of the world’s cotton crop, however, is produced from a breed known as upland cotton. While upland cotton fibers are shorter and less resistant to wear and fraying than both Egyptian and Pima cotton, they still deliver on the following benefits listed below.
Is Cotton Better?
Cotton has been widely used throughout history because it can be readily grown (given the right care and conditions) and is durable, comfortable, and resistant to wear. However, with so many readily available synthetics that can be easily and cheaply produced, such as rayon, polyester, and viscose, it might seem odd that cotton is still so favorably assessed.
Believe it or not, in many ways, natural is better, and even today, despite leaps and bounds of technological advances, cotton is a superior material to many, many synthetics - here’s why:
- All seasons comfort and durability
It’s well known that cotton is an excellent choice as an insulator in the colder months - especially heavyweight cotton, which is both soft and warm. However, cotton is also naturally breathable, which means that it’s an excellent choice, even in the warmer months. You can wear a heavy cotton sweatshirt through the spring and even the summer and it can potentially keep you cool and comfortable - and of course, it’s an excellent choice in the winter as well!
Also, cotton is a naturally durable material that stands up well to wear, abrasion, and hard use. It’ll even keep its shape when it’s been properly cared for.
- Cotton is better for sensitive skin
Cotton is naturally soothing and soft, and not harsh or abrasive. Some synthetics or even coarser natural fibers (like some grades of wool or linen) can chafe the skin or trap moisture, resulting in discomfort. Cotton is not only naturally soft but also helps to regulate moisture and breathes, helping to eliminate these problems. Individuals with sensitive skin who have had issues with some fabrics may find relief in cotton fabrics.
- Cotton is hypoallergenic
While cotton is naturally soft and pleasant, even for sensitive skin, it is also naturally hypoallergenic, and since it is easy to clean, it is easy to deal with problems associated with dust mites or other trapped allergens like pollen or dust.
For its part, hypoallergenic cotton fabrics - such as those used to make cotton sweatshirts or bed sheets - are superior for individuals that have had issues with allergies in the past.
- Naturally durable holds its shape well
Cotton is also a very tough natural material, despite the fact that, it is also soft and comfortable. Our cotton sweatshirts and other cotton garments are made from pre-shrunk, ring-spun fabric that is resistant to both shrinkage and pilling and will hold its shape remarkably well, even through years of use.
- Cotton is a natural material: it is renewable, sustainable and biodegradable
Something that’s often overlooked concerning,washed-output-together cotton is that it is a natural material that is grown instead of manufactured. This means that it is both renewable and sustainable, and it is not harmful to the environment. Cotton garments can even be returned to the Earth, where they will biodegrade instead of lingering on the way some synthetics do. Additionally, the production of cotton is not as harmful as the production of some synthetics.
- Cotton can be easy to care for
Finally, you don’t need a degree in molecular biology to care for cotton. It’s easy to wash dry, and as long as you follow a couple of cardinal rules, you won’t damage your cotton garments, so they’ll be around to serve you well (and keep you comfortable!) for many years.
How to Wear a Cotton Sweatshirt
Versatility is another huge draw for a cotton sweatshirt, and while in times past a hoodie might have been seen as a “casual-only” look, nowadays there are plenty of ways you can wear one, ranging from the classically casual to the semi-formal. These are some of our best ideas for inspiration.
Cotton and Sweatpants, the Ultimate in Comfort
The classic look of toned-down comfort is to pair up a cotton sweatshirt with a pair of cotton sweatpants. Casual, comfortable, warm and yet somehow still trendy, the cotton-on-cotton look just won’t ever get old. Lounge around the house, make a date with friends or spend some time shopping, you’ll be comfortable and stylish rocking the sweats-and-sweats look.
Scale It up with Jeans or Khakis
Need to pull off a somewhat more formal look that doesn’t go over the time, but unwilling to leave the cotton sweatshirt behind? Try mating it to a pair of washed out jeans, or for a slightly more put together look, opt for a pair of immaculate khakis.
The hoodie and jeans look is a little bit more collected than the hoodie and sweatpants look and a bit more acceptable for most social settings. Khakis start to stray into casual attire, opening the door for fashionable opportunities such as the next design idea: a blazer over the hoodie. You can try both together.
Rock a Blazer over a Cotton Sweatshirt
Way back in the day, you wouldn’t even be able to dream about wearing a cotton sweatshirt in the company of a blazer or a professional jacket, but that avant-garde look is surprisingly popular nowadays. At the very least, fashion has evolved to accept this somewhat odd juxtaposition of styles.
Wear a formal blazer or a jacket over your hoodie and leave your jacket unfastened for a composed yet somewhat uncouth look. It’s an excellent way to mix the styles, and you can dress up or down with it as you choose. Try this look with khakis for a very memorable effect.
Go Semi-Casual with a Crewneck
If you’re looking for a classic way to let your favorite cotton sweatshirt take center stage, opt for a crewneck and maybe a pair of jeans. This classic look is a throwback to the collegiate cut of yesteryear and will furnish you with a decidedly professional look - a cotton sweatshirt or not.
It’s a much cut and polished look than you will achieve with a hoodie over a pair of jeans, but another trick to throw in your arsenal nonetheless. If you’re running out of inspiration for professional styles, this might be the next route for you to travel. Try it out and see if you like it.
Learn to Layer with a Jacket
If you don’t learn to embrace the concept of layering with a cotton sweatshirt, you are leaving fashion potential on the table. Or in the closet, however, you’d like to see it. The cotton sweatshirt might serve as the foundation of the outfit, but it does not work alone.
Wear it over a t-shirt (also cotton, of course) and layer up with a denim jacket or a leather jacket, or even something else. Go your own way, go rogue with design or embrace the formal appeal of a different look. Your ensemble is your blank canvas, and you can layer up to create any number of different impressions.
More Ideas? Get in Touch with Us
These are only a few different ideas for inspiration. There are as many more as you can conjure up - and if you have a great idea but don’t see it listed here, we’d love to hear it! Get in touch with us and let us know how you like to accessorize with your favorite cotton sweatshirts!
How to Care for a Cotton Sweatshirt
One of the great things about a cotton sweatshirt is that it can be not only very easy but very straightforward to care for. Here are some of our professional tips to care for yours, so it will remain stylish and comfortable through many seasons.
- Wash warm - not too hot
Our cotton garments are made from pre-shrunk fabrics that are generally well-equipped to guard against shrinkage, but that’s no reason to tempt the Fates. You can wash our cotton clothing in warm water but not hot water - hot water stresses the fibers and can weaken them or cause them to shrink. Our general suggestion is to wash our cotton clothing in water not warmer than 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Dry flat - avoid tumbling dry
We also would caution you against machine drying your cotton clothing, as forced drying also stresses the fibers and can cause clothing to shrink. Some blends are resistant to this, but in the interest of your cotton’s well-being, just do it the old-fashioned way. Hang your cotton clothing to dry, or, for best results, lay flat. This will ensure it dries slowly and keeps its shape.
- Do not bleach
Chlorine bleach can be disastrous when used on natural fibers, and it wears them out and can cause them to thin or break. This is true for cotton and we suggest spot cleaning with gentler detergents - but don’t use bleach.
- Iron on low to remove creases
Washing your clothes as advised and laying them out to dry should help prevent creasing, but if you must iron your cotton clothing, please do it on a low setting only - below 230 Fahrenheit. Using a higher or hotter setting can damage the cotton fibers.
- A note on fabric softener
Some people use fabric softeners to keep their fabrics feeling softer, but the issue with fabric softeners is that it coats the fabric fibers with a residue that accumulates over time. Although fabric softener can make the fabric more comfortable in the short run, this build-up of residue, in the long run, can make fabrics more difficult to keep clean. Our cotton clothing is naturally soft. There’s no need for a fabric softener.
- Wash clothes as needed - keep them clean, but don’t overdo it
You should only wash your clothes as really necessary, to prevent them from becoming threadbare. Since you need to wash garments that are in close contact with skill more regularly than outer garments, you may be able to get away with washing a sweatshirt once or twice per week. Just wash as needed, and not more.
Stay in Touch with Us
Whether you’re looking to learn more about the history of this miraculous material, are interested in more ideas for inspiration, or just want to be the first to know about new releases and specials, keep in touch with us. Join our mailing list by entering your email address in the field at the bottom right of this page to keep up to date with us!
You can follow us on our social media platforms, Instagram and Facebook, to keep ahead of developments and new releases, but you should always feel free to get in touch with us directly if you need assistance. You can reach us at 1-866-888-5878 if you need us -we’re more than willing to help.