What Is the Difference Between a Hoodie and a Pullover?

We have to admit that we’ve been in more “what’s the difference between a hoodie and a pullover” discussions than we can count.

But no wonder it can be confusing as both garments come from the sports world, are super comfortable, and keep us warm on chilly days. 

They’re also versatile and essential in any fitness, everyday, and even work wardrobe. 

There’s no denying that hoodies and pullovers have many similarities from fabrics to styles. 

But today, let’s take a closer look and discuss their differences.

Pullover sweatshirts

A pullover hoodie sweatshirt is a long-sleeved garment designed to keep you warm and comfortable. While it started as an athletic piece, it became much more and is now a part of many classic and elegant looks.

A pullover has no added elements such as buttons, zippers, or pockets. 

Generally, pullover sweatshirts are made from cotton or cotton blends, wool, fleece, and various synthetic materials. 

Sweatshirts give you freedom of movement when doing sports and in your everyday. Usually, they’re also sweat-absorbent (hence the name).

Sweatshirt styles 

A sweatshirt is an absolute must-have, and because it comes in different styles, it can be worn on many occasions.

Traditional pullovers are a little loose, but today you can find slim-fit styles perfect for smart-casual situations too.

There are endless colors and color combinations, from classic navy, blue, or grey to bright red, purple, and yellow.

Usually, a pullover is worn for casual outfits and paired with joggers, jeans, cargo pants, or shorts. 

Worn under a blazer and with, e.g., chinos, it makes a fabulous smart-casual outfit for work.


Now that we know what pullover sweatshirts are let’s look at hoodies.

In short, a hoodie is a sweatshirt with a hood. Duh. The hood usually has two laces that allow for loosening and tightening it. 

That’s one main difference. The other distinction from a pullover is that a hoodie can be both a pullover and a zip-up. It can also have pockets (or one big pocket, often called a kangaroo pocket), hooks, and buttons. Sweatshirts usually have none of these.

Hoodies can be classic, fitted, and oversized.

Hoodie advantages

While both sweatshirts and hoodies keep you warm and cozy, a hoodie also protects your head from wind, rain, and other elements. 

Zip-up hoodies are also easier to put on and take off, so they’re perfect for layering.

The downside of a hoodie is that the hood can bunch up under your coat or jacket, creating an uncomfortable and odd-looking bump.

The main differences

  • A hoodie has added elements such as a hood, pockets, buttons, zippers, and laces, while a pullover does not.
  • A pullover is easier to style under jackets and coats, as the hood can bunch up under and create a bump.
  • A sweatshirt is only a pullover, and a hoodie can be both a pullover and a zip-up.

Styling sweatshirts and hoodies

The good news is that whatever you choose, the styling of these two garments is pretty interchangeable. 

And yes, a sweatshirt has a slight advantage over the hoodie for smart-casual looks, but if you choose a high-end, slim-fit hoodie, it will work just as well.

Wear your pullover or a hoodie with jeans or cargo pants and sneakers for casual occasions. 

Style them under a blazer with chinos and Chelsea boots if you want something smart-casual yet comfortable. 

And if you’re ready to push the envelope even further, wear a cashmere hoodie or sweatshirt under a suit. Add stylish Brogues, and you’re prepared for a high-end event. 

The possibilities are truly endless!