Around this time last winter, the fluffy fleece jacket lost its bankers-and-campers association. Its inherently gorpcore aesthetic—part outdoorsy, part utility-minded—had it seeping into the fashion stream. The iterations from fashion-girl favorites Donni and Sandy Liang rendered them in cool colorblocking, floral patterns and more easily-digestable styles; before we knew it, they were everywhere. (Patagonia had been equally adopted by the fashion set, too.)
This year, the coziness factor continues—but in a new shape. Enter, the half-zip sweater, which comes to us similarly rooted in outside-the-fashion-world origins. Think preppy Ivy League classgoers in the ’90s or even students in the 70s, who wore them with thick stripes in mustard-yellow and burgundy. For Fall 2019, the nostalgic piece returned, as a luxe creamy full-zip at Isabel Marant and even a waist-cinching number at Tibi. If there’s anything its resurgence proves, though, it’s the knit’s versatility.
Take, for example, the brightly colored types à la J.W. Anderson, which have a tinge of retro sportiness (without any intention of actual athletic activity). They often come ribbed for a body-hugging fit and pair perfectly with jeans. Then there’s the simple, monochromatic types—which range from soft pastels to complement your Outdoor Voices getup to reliable neutrals—which can be thrown on for athleisure purposes or, you know, actual sports. When crafted from rich wools, loops of shearling or embellished with little touches like Nanushka’s faux-pearl button, the half-zip is elevated from loungewear to a piece that’s perfectly acceptable for drinks. From pleated skirts to slouchy denim and leather pants, street style ladies have taken a liking to the zipped-up sweater and its many stylish facets, too.