Sweatshirt versus Jacket

On a lighter note: Rachel and I have been having this fight for the last ten years and I need to win it before we get married.

Sweatshirt v. Jacket

No. I’m not talking about preferences. I am talking about definitions.

This is a jacket!

This is not!

My argument: if it has a zipper all the way down the front, it’s a jacket.
Her argument: it is not about the structure, it is about the material.
My argument: you can modify the term jacket by saying sweatshirt jacket, but this does not detract from the fact that it is a jacket.
Her argument: if it’s fleece it’s a jacket, even if the zipper doesn’t go all the way down, because it is considered outerwear.
My argument: that’s stupid.
Her argument: you’re stupid.

Ambiguous modern definitions are little help. Clearly people do not care about this as much as they should:

sweat·shirt
Pronunciation: \-ˌshərt\
Function: noun
Date: 1925

: a loose collarless pullover or jacket usually of heavy cotton jersey

jack·et
Pronunciation: \ˈja-kət\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English jaket, from Anglo-French jackés, plural, diminutive of Middle French jaque short jacket, from jacques peasant, from the name Jacques James
Date: 15th century

1 a : a garment for the upper body usually having a front opening, collar, lapels, sleeves, and pockets b : something worn or fastened around the body but not for use as clothing

Or maybe there are people who care! “The 14th century: One of the first jacket-like garments was the doublet (pourpoint in French). Modern jackets can be said to have evolved from Renaissance doublets. The doublet was a close-fitting, short jacket worn by men beginning in the 14th century. Initially the doublet was a long sleeveless fitted garment with buttons worn without sleeves.”

Pourpoint doublet c.1650

Ahem. Note all those fasteners! That said, I am never too confident in a website with more spelling mistakes than a third grader’s homework assignment.

I encourage anyone (particularly Rachel) to do a google image search of the word “jacket.” You will note that the first several pages showcase garments with a fastener of some kind extending all the way from the neck to the waist. Garments of various materials, I will add. The same experiment with the word “sweatshirt” will show you that zippers only appear in the images if the phrase “zip up” (or the like) is attached, thus suggesting that without a modifier that a sweatshirt has no zipper.

My apologies to all of you not in the Bay Area: the whole idea of jackets or sweatshirts at this time of year is probably offensive to your frozen sensibilities. We did get a lot of rain today . . . if that makes you feel any better?

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9 thoughts on “Sweatshirt versus Jacket

  1. Sorry, Rachel. I am with Dan on this one. My reasoning and definitions line up with his one-hundred percent.
    p.s. I am currently wearing a fleece pullover. I do not consider a jacket since the zipper does not go all the way down. It is more in the shirt or sweatshirt category. I put it on this morning as an article of clothing, not as a piece of outerwear. I do own a fleece jacket. It is nice, comfy, has a zipper that goes all the way down, and I only put it on when I go outside.

  2. Sorry, Rachel. It’s a sweep. The zipper and/or buttons that go all the way down make it a jacket to me. Like Beth, I have fleece pullovers that are shirts/sweaters which I wear under jackets but don’t consider them jackets themselves.

  3. I think the thing on the left is a sweatshirt whether or not you wear it as outerwear. At least where I grew up that is what it was called. You can call it your jacket if you want but that doesn’t stop it from being a sweatshirt. The thing on the right is a fleece. Again, if you want to call it a jacket, go ahead. I’m not stopping you. You could even call it a sweatshirt if you want but I kind of think I’d look at you weird if you did because it’s not made of sweatshirt material.

    In other words, I think sweatshirt refers to material and jacket refers to outerwear. I also think jacket and coat are basically the same thing, though a coat might be thicker.

  4. HAHAHAHA!!! Funny my hubby and I were having the same…ah hum…conversation…(argument) and stumbled upon your site. LOL. I’m with you Dan! My hubby is with Rachel..

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