Winter is here, which means it's fleece season. The heritage-inspired, retro jackets are no longer just reserved for outdoor excursions, but brands are upping their designs to make them even more fashion-forward, meaning this a piece you'll want to rock everywhere. And while COVID-19 quarantine is still alive and well, that doesn't mean you don't deserve a cute, new cold-weather jacket. You can still sport a fleece layer around the house the next few months if you're cold-natured (raises hand!), or if you just don't want to turn the heater on.
These polyester or wool-blend jackets have been a staple in winter wardrobes for years — worn everywhere from hiking trails and campsites to ski resorts and suburban outings. Why are they so adored? While they are designed to be warm and keep the wind and elements out, they are also super flattering, breathable, and reliable: You can rock them casually or for sports and adventures, and know you'll be cozy and confident. (Related: The Best Packable Puffer Jackets for All Your Adventures)
Whether you're on the hunt for a serious performance piece or just a casual layer for wearing around town, keep scrolling for the best women's fleece jacket options.
An affordable fleece option, this cute, fluffy jacket may come at a lower price than others from more high-end brands, but that doesn't mean it skimps on function. The windproof design effectively blocks out the cold — thanks to an ultra-thin sheet inserted between the inner and outer material — to keep you comfy and warm, even in chilly temps.
One reviewer wrote: "Not only is this jacket warm and soft, but it also really protects from the cold breezes while making everyone want to touch it since it has a very teddy bear appeal."
Buy It: Uniqlo Windproof Fluffy Yarn Fleece Full-Zip Hoodie, $40, was $50, uniqlo.com
Made of 100 percent recycled fleece, this jacket combines the look of a retro fleece with the silhouette of a parka for additional coverage in cold climates. It has drop shoulders, front snaps, and an oversized, relaxed fit, leaving plenty of room for additional layers beneath. Reviewers note to size down if you want a slimmer fit. Choose from burnt olive, marron purple, bleached sand, and aviator navy. (Psst, love this fleece style but prefer something that hits at the hip? Check out the brand's shorter version: the Cragmont Jacket.)
"This coat is one of my best purchases of 2020!" reports one shopper. "I wasn't convinced with the website pics, but after I saw it on a friend, I had to have it. I wasn't a fan of the contrasting pocket, so I went with the navy and love it! Easy to throw on for errands, walking the dogs, etc. Washes up great and surprisingly warm (even though it's super lightweight)!"
Not only has this classic fleece managed to secure an impressive 4.7 rating — even after more than 19,000 ratings — but it's also the number one best-seller on Amazon in the "women's fleece jackets and coats" category. It's lightweight, has handy pockets to keep your items secure, and features an active cut for comfortable outdoor activities. Plus, the full zip at the front allows you to wear it open if you start to overheat walking around town or hiking on a trail. And with 32 different shades to choose from, you truly can't go wrong.
"When I find a garment that fits me great and is extremely comfortable, I tend to become obsessed with it," admits a customer. "I own six of these, and I love all of the colors, especially the Lily red. I wear these every day from early fall to late spring. They are my go-to jackets for my mountain hikes, park walks, and all my daily outdoor activities. I love that the neck zips into a turtleneck. The side pockets have a zipper which I love, and this even has an interior pouch for my gloves."
Chances are, you've spotted this iconic, color-blocked, snap-down fleece on Instagram, on one of your friends, or you may have rocked a version of it when you were a kid. This everyday jacket is made with mid-weight 100 percent recycled polyester fleece, so it offers plenty of warmth and comfort, and delivers retro vibes — if that's what your after. While, at one point, it may have been reserved for the woods and camping, it's now a cute, trendy staple to sport out and about and to dinner after a long day on the slopes.
"The classic snap tee has perfect quality and workmanship," said a happy buyer. "You'll have this for the long haul. The fit is full, allows a tee shirt layered beneath, providing enough warmth for brisk temperatures (not frigid, though). The elasticize sleeve and bottom hem keep the draft at bay. The neck can be snapped up high for more warmth or left unsnapped for a cool-down. These are serious secure plastic snaps — do not think flimsy. There have been so many colors and color combination variations over the years, but I'm so happy Patagonia keeps the classic style unchanged. Why update an icon?"
A retro, yet timeless piece that will never go out of style, this high-pile sherpa fleece is perfect for city jaunts and mountain getaways. The high neck provides extra warmth, the fabric is soft and not itchy against skin, and the oversized pockets will hold all of your necessities. Choose from three earthy colorways: washed raisin, golden brown, and dark storm. (Related: The Best Winter Jackets for Keeping Warm When It's Freezing Out)
"Whether on the trail or off, a good fleece is a staple for both the desert and the mountains I work in," wrote one shopper who works as a year-round backpacking guide. "It's hard to go wrong with a classic, and it's even harder to go wrong with the Southpass pullover. It is perfect for chilly evenings around a fire, or for pulling on after a day playing out in the snow. It fits well without being overly baggy and is still fitted around the waist. The two zippered hand pockets are extra roomy. High-pile Sherpa fleece is thick and warm making for a long-lasting staple you'll wear for years to come. Due to the thickness of the material I'd recommend it for compound hangouts vs layering on a long trek."
This long fleece jacket mimics the style of a parka to deliver cozy warmth and extra coverage for the maximum amount of protection in cold weather. It's made of soft sherpa fleece, has an oversized fit that feels like a relaxing hug, and is heavy enough to keep the cold at bay without weighing you down. Plus, the chic style can be dressed up or down.
"This is turning out to be my favorite jacket," shared a reviewer. "I've been wearing it nearly every day since it arrived. It is warm enough with just a T-shirt in the 40s with room to layer."
Designed to resemble a sweater, this soft topper is made from recycled polyester fleece, has a high collar to protect from wind, and spacious zippered pockets to keep your items safe. It looks as great on its own in the city on a cool summer evening as it does layered under a shell jacket on the mountain. Also nice? The fleece is made in an eco-friendly process that actually uses about 50 percent less water and 31 percent less energy consumption, compared to a traditionally produced fleece sweater, so you can feel good about your purchase, too. (Related: How to Shop for Sustainable Activewear)
"Wonderfully soft and cozy," says one custmer. "I've owned many fleece jackets over the years, but this is the best ever."
The durable construction and heritage-inspired style of this classic fleece from L.L. Bean might be what makes it so popular. The high neck protects you from the elements in biting cold weather — but if you get overheated on the trails, just unsnap the buttons for airflow. From high-intensity outdoor activities to everyday errands, you'll always find yourself reaching for this pick. Not to mention, it has nearly 800 five-star reviews, with many admitting to owning this pullover in multiple colorways. (Related: The Best Running Jackets for Cold-Weather Workouts, According to Reviews)
One reviewer said: "I love this fleece, and actually have it in two sizes and colors. I purchased the black in medium and the sailcloth in large. They're both very comfortable and nicely loose-fitting. They are super warm and seem to be best-suited for lower temperatures (50 or below). They hold up nicely with regular laundering — the sweater fleece hasn't pilled at all in over a year of regular wash and wear."
Sustainable, cozy, and bright — what more could you want in a fleece? It's made from repurposed fleece and DWR-treated, polyester taffeta left over from other companies' production runs, so you can feel good about your purchase. You can wear it a mid-layer or on its own, but you're probably going to want to show it off! Swap your go-to black outerwear for this striped, retro fleece and get ready for all the compliments.
"What more can I say, it's so warm! said a customer via the brand's website. "Great as a mid or outer layer, depending on the time of the year. I love Cotopaxi's colors! I get so many compliments on it."
Plush sherpa fleece gives this jacket serious teddy bear vibes. While it's certainly cute with its embroidered swoosh design and keychain zipper pull, this jacket doesn't lack function with its spacious pockets and moisture-wicking lining that keeps you comfy and dry. Available in four shades — including white, black, flax, and fuchsia pink — it also comes in an inclusive size range of XS-3X.
"I absolutely love this jacket," noted a shopper. "It's not on the description, but it's an oversized fit. I had to size down, but I'm so in love with it. Not sure how warm it keeps you since I live in Miami, but it's good enough for the couple cooler days we get outta the year."
Want a fleece for dressier occasions? Try this fleece bomber jacket. Made of a blend of fleece and recycled wool, this lightweight layer will keep you toasty at the office or running to and from dinner. It also looks bomb layered over your activewear ensemble for weekend activities — from workouts to brunch. Choose from chic black or oatmeal and amber colorblock.
"I love this Fleece!!" raved a reviewer. "It has so many options for wear — dog walking, hiking, lounging, etc. It definitely hits on the fuzzy trend without sacrificing function. [It's my] second year buying this item and love it — super comfortable and stylish."
The ultimate layer for studio-to-street fashion, this oversized, slouchy fleece jacket has a button-down front and zippered pockets to keep your essentials safe and close at hand. It comes in a variety of bold colors and patterns, including zebra, butterfly, and indigo prints. While it might seem a bit more untraditional — in comparison to classic, solid-colored fleeces — this is a nod to your childhood when it was cool to wear ~out-there~ prints and designs. (Related: You're About to See Waffle Knit Athleisure Everywhere)
One shopper wrote: "Love this fleece! Wore it cross-country skiing or just walking around town. I got my usual size small in Free People clothing. Love it and definitely recommend!"
A best-selling style at Kari Traa, this cozy, teddy fleece bomber has a slightly relaxed fit, elastic cuff sleeves, and a high collar for extra coverage in chilly weather. It can be worn on its own or as a mid-layer beneath a shell for days on the mountain. The convenient pockets and chest panel pocket allow you to keep everything you need with you (and ensure you won't lose that ski pass, again!). It comes in six fun colorways (including bright green; shown) and is currently discounted, which might make it tempting enough to buy more than one. And if you prefer a longer, hooded version that covers your bum (perfect over leggings), check out the brand's Røthe L Hood jacket (Buy It, $100, karitraa.com).
"This is a great midday jacket I use when skiing the backcountry," shared a buyer. "Keeps me warm and dry, even when it's wet, and it looks good when we stop at the pub for a brew on our way home from skiing. It's versatile, warm, keeps me dry, fits perfect, and looks great on or off piste, or out for a casual night."