How to dress like a grown up with Shane Watson

How to dress like a grown up with Shane Watson: Hoodies… now not just for hoodlums!

  • Shane Watson shared advice for embracing the trend for posh hoodies
  • She predicts the jacket plus Phoodie combo will be normal come Christmas
  • UK style expert advises pairing with smart tailored trousers instead of jeans

When is a hoodie a good idea for the woman old enough to have young, hoodie-wearing dependents?

That’s easy. When it’s a Posh Hoodie — a style that reimagines the classic exercise top in a flattering cut and a luxury fabric.

Your basic hoodie — the one you might pick up in Adidas or Gap — is very useful if you happen to be exercising on a cold day, but a Posh Hoodie, or a Phoodie, is the only one that will do you any favours outside the exercise zone. And the posher —as in sleek, soft and elegantly proportioned — the better.

We’re talking buttery soft, not too chunky or roomy, and never in grey sweatshirt material. This is a hoodie chic enough to wear to work. It’s spring 2020’s smart casual bullseye.

Shane Watson shared advice for embracing the new trend for posh hoodies. Pictured: Cashmere hoodie, £119, marksandspencer.com

Why a Phoodie rather than a regular luxe sweater? For the same reasons that athleisurewear in general has become a staple of the modern woman’s wardrobe — comfort and ease, and a bit of street cred (the fact that its roots are athletic automatically makes it cooler). And the hood is what gives this hybrid sweater extra appeal.

It’s not that you’re going to pull it over your head and skulk like a teenager at the bus stop. Guaranteed, you will never wear the hood of your Phoodie up.

But still, pooling around your throat, the hood has under-the-radar neck-protecting, face-framing qualities, like a contemporary, slimmed-down Elizabethan ruff.

A full polo-neck will completely hide your neck, but it can feel a bit much, like wearing a furry hand-muff indoors. A scarf may look good, but sometimes fussy and overwhelming.

If you want to keep the lines of your outfit clean and simple, then nothing beats a Phoodie for adding just the right amount of neck interest.

Don’t you sometimes want to wear a jacket and trousers with a plain shirt, but end up feeling a little too CIA, only missing the lanyard and navy pumps?

If the answer is yes, a Posh Hoodie might be the answer.

The key to wearing it is — you guessed it — all in ‘the mix’. A hoodie and jeans is nothing special. A hoodie and tracksuit bottoms (even if they are cashmere) can be too much of a good thing. But a Phoodie with a flat-fronted pair of wide-leg trousers or a sharp-shouldered blazer, or both, is a youthful twist on a classic.

Posh hoodies: The Rules

  • Opt for pale colours. 
  • Avoid zips and buttons. 
  • Wear with smart tailored jackets. 
  • Don’t wear with jeans 

You can wear the Phoodie around the house if you like, but the point is to steer tailoring into a new zone. It adds a certain swagger, too; a hood draped over the collar of a fitted coat or jacket works on the same principle as the ruffle-front shirt.

And now jackets are officially here to stay (news just in from the autumn 2020 catwalks), the jacket plus Phoodie combo will be as normal as white trainers come Christmas.

Proof the hoodie has got posh for spring comes from Chanel — or rather Barrie, the Scottish brand that makes the label’s cashmere — whose hoodies retail at around £1,000.

Back on planet earth there is The White Company’s cashmere pocket hoodie (£179, thewhitecompany.com). It’s not too sloppy and in a go-with-everything pale grey.

Me+Em, the label that’s probably best at mixing up athletic details with high-quality, grown-up clothing, does a cashmere box hoodie in shades of cream, camel, blush or grey (£199, meandem.com). It comes in black, too, but now is the time to lighten up.

Moving on from cashmere, Cos does a boiled wool hoodie in red (£69, cosstores.com). A strong coloured hoodie under grey or navy tailoring looks fresh, as can pale mint, yellow or pink ones. Arket does a pale pink cotton hoodie with no strings, which keeps the look clean (£59, arket.com).

To stay more Phoodie than hoodie, go for pocket-free styles, avoid metal-tipped or contrasting strings, and choose a relatively fitted and cropped shape. There are plenty of long-line, cable-knit, A-line, side-vented and otherwise fancied-up hoodies out there, but they won’t work as your under-jacket best friend. Here’s to the new smart casual.

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