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I live in varsity sweatshirts and these are the best on the high street

Varsity sweatshirts are everywhere on the high street – these are the ones in my basket

Varsity sweatshirts at Copenhagen Fashion Week 2023
Carla Challis
Commerce Partnerships Editor
Updated: November 7, 2023
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You’d have to have been on a social media or shopping ban to not see the rise of the varsity sweatshirt – they’re officially everywhere. And I should know, I own seven (at the last count). 

The preppy athleisure look is my go-to uniform, pairing an oversized sweatshirt (I always size up, if not twice) emblazoned with a collegiate design with leggings or cycling shorts, depending on the weather. For good measure, I add a pair of white sports socks and chunky trainers. 

Best varsity sweatshirts - at a glance

On the occasion I wear it with jeans, I stick a pair of my faithful gold hoops on with the look and have been known to wear ballet flats or Mary Janes with the combo. Or layer a slightly more fitted varsity sweatshirt over a sharp shirt, with the collar popping for the preppiest of aesthetics, or team with this season’s essential, a silky or denim midi skirt. 

They’re a year-round staple, as versatile as your classic white tee, and can be thrown on as the standout part of your outfit, or slung over your shoulders as a cute collegiate cover-up.

Celebrities wearing varsity sweatshirts 

If you follow any curated fashion accounts on Instagram, you'll definitely have seen Princess Diana in her varsity sweatshirt and cycling shorts. The now-iconic look has been emulated many times, but no-one wears it quite like Princess Diana. 

Princess Diana after exercising at a gym in Earls Court, London in 1997
Princess Diana's now iconic look on the streets of London in 1997

The likes of Emily Ratajkowski, Kendall Jenner and Hailey Beiber have all been spotted wearing them off-duty, too.

Emily Ratajkowski is seen in the West Village in September 2023 in New York
Emily Ratajkowski makes a case for the varsity sweatshirt while out in New York

The best varsity sweatshirts to shop this season

  • Marks & Spencer Pure Cotton Slogan Sweatshirt

    Marks and Spencer Varsity Sweatshirt

    Santa Monica Sweatshirt

    You can't go wrong with M&S for quality and style, and this sweatshirt is going straight into my basket. It looks super cosy, and the vintage-inspired lettering is spot on. Reviews suggest is comes up big, so stick to your normal size if you want an oversized look, or size down for a more fitted finish.

    This pure cotton sweatshirt has a regular fit, tradition crew neckline and a vintage, varsity-inspired slogan.

  • H&M Motif-Detailed Sweatshirt

    H&M Harvard Sweatshirt

    Yale sweatshirt

    In classic white with blue lettering, H&M's Yale varsity sweatshirt ticks all the boxes. H&M shoppers call it "super comfy" and "luxe", and called out its faded-vibes for a true vintage look.

    Available in sizes XS to XXL, H&M's sweatshirt is made from a cotton-polyester mix and features raglan sleeves, ribbed cuffs and has an oversized fit.

  • Pull & Bear Harvard Sweatshirt

    Pull & Bear sweatshirt

    Harvard sweatshirt

    This Harvard sweatshirt has a real retro aesthetic, with artfully faded print and acid-wash colour. I would wear this oversized with leather trousers, or layered over a smart shirt.

    Pull & Bear's oversized sweatshirt features a cotton-polyester-elastane mix, oversize fit and is available in sizes XS to XL.

  • Etsy UCLA Bruins Logo Sweatshirt

    UCLA sweatshirt

    UCLA sweatshirt

    I'm loving the fact you can personalise this UCLA sweatshirt at Etsy - you can choose from 11 colours and whether it's a sweatshirt or hoody too.

    Available in sizes XXS to 3XL, Etsy's varsity sweatshirt is a cotton mix and personalisable.

  • Anthropologie Paris oversized sweatshirt

    Anthropologie Paris Sweatshirt

    Paris sweatshirt

    Surely one for Emily in Paris? I could imagine her styling it as similar, proving the humble varsity sweatshirt is just as cool dressed up as it is down.

    Anthropologie's brushed cotton sweatshirt is crafted from a cotton-polyester mix and has an oversized fit.

  • River Island graphic print sweatshirt

    River Island NYC sweatshirt

    NYC sweatshirt

    River Island's NYC sweatshirt comes in a grungy beige tone which I love for wearing a tonal trend with. Would look as great with white jeans or sequin skirts as it would leggings or joggers.

    This standard fit sweatshirt from River Island features a cool NYC logo in red and white, and is available in sizes small to large.

  • Good American London brushed fleece sweatshirt

    Good American London Sweatshirt

    London sweatshirt

    I'm a big fan of Good American, the brand Khloe Kardashian is the mastermind behind. I've got a few sweatshirts from the label, and not only are the cosy and comfy but they wash incredibly well too. This varsity-esque London sweatshirt could just be my next purchase...

    Good American's take on the trend includes this London sweatshirt; think a drop down shoulder, extra long sleeves and a slim fit.  

  • Anine Bing Jaci brand print sweatshirt

    Anine Bing California Sweatshirt

    California sweatshirt

    An Anine Bing sweatshirt has been on my wish list for ages, and really leans into the vintage collegiate aesthetic across all of her sweatshirts. I'm hoping for this washed-green fit, worn with Nike high tops for a true 90s feel.

    Spun from 100% cotton, Anine Bing's iconic sweatshirts are renowned for being super soft, oversized and ultimately? Cool.

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  • New Look Pocket Logo Sweatshirt

    New Look sweatshirt

    Greenwich sweatshirt

    The bright red of this New Look jumper is everything you want from a collegiate sweatshirt - it's giving Taylor Swift, it's giving Grease, it's working amazingly with denim and a beige trench coat...and the best part? It's under £20.

    This slightly cropped style from New Look is available in sizes small to large, with a soft jersey fabric and discreet logo.

How I chose the best varsity sweatshirts

  • Style: Every sweatshirt included has a varsity-esque design, be it a large logo or mini nod to the trend, including famous colleges, cities and slogans in the collegiate style.
  • New-in: All of the styles included are from the new-in sections of trusted brands, designed for autumn/winter 2023. 
  • Comfort: Although I haven’t tried all of the styles included, I’ve read the reviews as meticulously as possible and studied the fabrics to ensure the listed sweatshirts are as comfortable as possible. Think brushed fleece inner fabrics and cotton blends.
  • Price: From a £15 sweatshirt to a luxe £175 designer top, there’s a sweatshirt on this list for every budget, big or small.

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