A few years ago, I found myself having a small fashion crisis: I wanted to boost my style and wear cute outfits, but I couldn't exactly shell out thousands of dollars on brand new clothes. As a fashion editor, it's easy to feel self-conscious about the way you look, especially when it seems like everyone else in the industry has unlimited funds and invests in the latest trends and must-have designer pieces. So, I decided to go about things in a different way. Instead of worrying about keeping up, I searched Etsy for unique vintage finds. I also created a signature style, revolving around one item in particular — which just so happened to be a $13 sweatshirt.
I forget what, exactly, lead me to Gildan's Crewneck Sweatshirt on Amazon (to be honest, I probably had grand plans for a DIY involving beads and iron-on letters), but given its reasonable price tag (which, I will say, varies by a dollar or two depending on color), I chose to purchase more than one. There were so many shades to choose from that I ended up ordering blue, yellow, and green. Once the sweatshirts arrived, I happily discovered that they were more than just comfortable and easy to throw on; they provided that pop of color and fun that my wardrobe needed.
Since these $13 sweatshirts were solid and simple, they came across as sleek, and I could easily dress them up with different bottoms, scarves, and accessories. In the winter, I would layer them over sleeveless turtlenecks, one of my favorite styling tricks. In the summer, they were easy to drape over my shoulders, knot around my waist, or tuck into a tote for chilly nights. Plus, it goes without saying they were also perfect for lazy, comfy, at-home wear, too.
Every so often, I'll go back to Amazon to buy more, adding colors such as navy, black, grey, and different shades of purple and pink to my collection. Over the years, people have even taken a moment to compliment me on my "uniform" of sorts. It turns out that I didn't need a $500 top. This $13 find enhanced my style like nothing else could.
Even during the pandemic, when I'm mostly wearing pajama-like clothing (or straight-up pajamas), these babies have proven to be some of my smartest purchases. I'll often wake up, shower, and slip on a bright sweatshirt with leggings. Or, I'll match one to a pair of sweatpants that I have to create a "look" (no one really sees it, but it does make me feel good).
Shop now: $13; amazon.com
At this point, I've been wearing these sweatshirts for years, in a variety of different ways. Considering how versatile they are and how long they lasted, they're definitely money well spent.
I’ve Worn This Sweatshirt to Work
Styled with a pair of vintage jeans and eye-catching white boots, this purple version created a fashionable yet practical outfit.
It’s Perfect For Home, Too
Typically, I take a women's extra-small or small in tops, but I buy this Amazon find in a men's small so that it's slightly oversized on me and can be tucked in or layered. The best news is that many of the colors go up to a 5X.
They’re a Useful Summer Layer…
Draping it or knotting it over my shoulders like a cape gives my outfit a preppy spin. Plus, if the temperature takes a dip or I encounter too-high AC, I can easily pull this sweatshirt on and feel warm.
And, They Look Great Under a Blazer
Technically, this is also me at work, but the black version looks super sleek when styled with structured pieces and/or paired with matching pants. I've even worn the brighter versions with simple, grey slacks to make them seem more fashion-forward and less stuffy.
I’ve Styled Them With Trendier Pieces
Occasionally, I'll layer my sweatshirts under a knit vest or add a detachable, oversized collar. They're the perfect basics for balancing out bolder pieces.
I’ve Kept Things Classic
Jeans, khakis, plaid skirts, leather pants — this $13 layer somehow looks great with everything.
These Sweatshirts Have Been in My Wardrobe For Years
I've made them part of my signature style, and if I ever create a capsule wardrobe, they'll definitely be pieces I hold onto. They work for every season, every occasion, and, I repeat, are only $13. You can't beat it.
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