Difference between a Sweater and a Sweatshirt

By: | Updated: Sep-18, 2023
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Sweaters and sweatshirts are wardrobe stables for many of us, and they’re usually worn during cold weather. Both of these garments are made to keep us warm. Some people consider these garments to be the same. Yet, many people use the terms “sweater” and “sweatshirt” interchangeably, but many people also say they are two different things. Which idea is correct? In this article, we will help you find the answer to this question.

Summary Table

Sweater Sweatshirt
Knitted or crocheted upper wear that is designed to keep you warm by covering your arms and torso A collarless loose upper garment that is designed to cover your upper body to make you sweat
Also called “cardigan” or “jumper” in the U.K. Also called a “jersey” in the U.K.
Soft and elastic The outer side is soft while the inner side has a fluffy nap
May have an open or closed front; the neckline can be turtleneck, v-neck, or crewneck and hemline can fall above the hip, right below the hip, or mid-thigh; the sleeves can be three-fourths, short-sleeves, or full sleeves; May have a closed front or an open front (with a zipper); may have a hood (also called a “hoodie”) or not
Has a dressy look; can be worn with a dress shirt and tie, or as a short dress with a belt and tights Has a casual or sporty look; commonly worn with sweatpants to form a sweatsuit


gray cable-knit sweater
A gray cable-knit sweater

A sweater is a piece of knitted or crocheted upper wear that is designed to keep you warm by covering your arms and torso.

Sweaters are crocheted or knitted, though they may also be woven. When knitted or crocheted, sweaters are made with linked stitches. A sweater’s design can also be pretty complex, made with intricate patterns and color combinations.

Sweaters may also be made for different seasons, including fall, winter, spring, and summer. Spring and summer sweaters are lighter weight than those made for the colder months.

Since sweaters are constructed by knitting or crocheting, these garments are soft and elastic. Originally, they were made of wool, which is an outstanding insulator. Nowadays, sweaters can be made of other fibers such as cotton or polyester.

The front of the sweater can be open (also called “cardigan” in the U.S. and U.K.) or closed (also called “pullover” or “jumper” in the U.K.). The neckline can be a turtleneck, v-neck, or crewneck and the hemline can fall right below the hip or above the hip. Sweaters can have long sleeves or sleeveless (known as tank top or sleeveless sweater in the UK and sweater vest in American English). There are also sweaters that are long enough to be worn as short dresses for women. The length of the sleeves can vary from three-fourths to short-sleeves to full sleeves.

Sweaters can be worn by people of all ages, regardless of the gender. They are versatile and can be worn over another top or next to the skin. Sweaters can be worn with a dress shirt and a tie, t-shirt, leggings, or, if long enough, can be worn as a short dress with a belt and tights. They can also be fashionably carried when not worn by knotting around the waist or over the shoulders.

gray sweatshirt
A gray sweatshirt

A sweatshirt, or “jersey” in the U.K., is a collarless loose upper garment that is typically made of cotton, fleece, or polyester. It may have a closed front or an open front (with zippers), with a hood (also called a “hoodie”) or without a hood.

These garments are oversized pullovers with long sleeves and no collar. The bottom and cuffs of the sweatshirt are made with elastic cuffs and hem (bottom of the garment) to ensure the sweatshirt stays in place when working out.

Contrary to popular belief, sweatshirts are not always made of wool. They can be made of absorbent fabrics such as fleece, thick cotton, synthetic fibers, or polyester. The outer side of the sweatshirt is soft while the inner has a fluffy nap which is designed to trap air and retain the wearer’s body heat, hence the name “sweatshirt.”

Sweatshirts may have designs on them, such as graphics and logos. These are often popular with sports fans, fans of a company, and more. These garments also tend to be durable and last for years with proper care.

Sweatshirts are commonly worn with sweatpants to form a sweatsuit, which is an ideal exercise outfit that guarantees perspiration. It can also be worn as a casual wear or leisure outfit.

Sweater vs Sweatshirt

What, then, is the difference between a sweater and a sweatshirt?

Both sweater and sweatshirt are made to keep your upper part of the body warm; however, a sweater is constructed by knitting or crocheting, whereas a sweatshirt is constructed in the way that sportswear is made.

Another difference between the two is that, although they can be both made using wool, heavy cotton, or polyester, a sweater has softer drape and more elastic because it is either knitted or crocheted. A sweatshirt is not that elastic but it is soft. Its inside lining has a fluffy nap.

A sweater is more versatile than a sweatshirt. It can be worn as a casual or dressy outfit. This knitted garment can be worn with a dress shirt and a tie or as a short dress for women. A sweatshirt, on the other hand, has a casual or sporty look and is more commonly worn with sweatpants as exercise wear, although this piece of clothing can also be leisurewear.

Additionally, there are hundred type of sweater designs available on the market today (closed front, open front, v-neck, turtleneck, short, long, short-sleeved, long-sleeved, crewneck sweatshirt, round neck sweatshirt , hooded sweatshirt, etc.). However, most sweatshirts have nearly the same pattern or silhouette. The only variation is that they may or may not have a hood, kangaroo pocket, a drawstring at the waist or zipped front.

What to Look for in a Sweater and Sweetshirt

A sweater should be thick and heavy, so it will keep you warm. It should also have some stretch, so it will not feel tight or constrictive. Sweaters usually have intricate designs or patterns on them, so you can wear them casually or for formal occasions.

However, a sweatshirt is usually lightweight and loose — fitting. It is perfect for layering under other clothing because it will not feel tight or constrictive. You can wear it casually or dress it up with some accessories such as jewelry or scarves to add interest to your outfit.

Types of Sweaters

Sweaters come in many styles and designs, including:

Crew Neck — A crew neck sweater has no collar and is cut straight across the neck with either a regular or V-neckline. The crew neck also comes in long sleeve styles as well as short sleeve styles. The crew neck style can be worn by men or women.

Rolled Sleeve — A rolled sleeve sweater has long sleeves that are rolled up to about midway up the forearm. The sleeves are usually not full length but are instead mid-calf length on most sweaters that have rolled sleeves. There are also sweaters with v-necklines that have mid-calf length sleeves instead of full length sleeves. There are also sweaters with full length sleeves that have rolled sleeves. The rolled sleeve style can be worn by men or women.

V-Neck — A V-neck sweater has a deep V-shaped neckline and is usually long sleeved. The V-neck is cut at the shoulders and the sleeves are long and come to just below the elbow. There are also sweaters with mid-calf length sleeves that have V-necklines. The v-neck style can be worn by men or women.

Collarless — A collarless sweater has no collar and is cut straight across the neck with either a regular or V-neckline. The collarless style can be worn by men or women.

Oversized — An oversized sweater has a relaxed fit and is cut at least one size larger than usual to accommodate the extra fabric used in making it larger than usual for comfort and style purposes. Oversized sweaters come in many styles, including: raglan, ribbed, tapered, and many more styles. The oversized style can be worn by men or women for any occasion such as: around the house, casual wear, and more!

It’s also essential to choose the right garment when planning an outing or activity. For instance, sweaters tend to be dressier, though they can also be worn with a casual outfit. On the other hand, sweatshirts are always casual. They can be a part of an outfit for doing housework, yard work, and more. But sweatshirts are also appropriate to wear when out shopping, doing activities with friends and family, etc.

Things to Consider Before Buying

As the temperatures begin to drop and the weather turns cold, it is always good to have some extra layers. That is why we all need a good pair of sweatshirts and sweaters. The fit of the clothing item should be considered when choosing between a sweater and a sweatshirt. The thickness of the material should also be taken into consideration before buying any of these items, because if they are too thin, they will probably become see-through very easily, while if they are too thick, they will be very uncomfortable to wear.


For Men:
Sweaters are usually worn by men because they are more formal than sweatshirts. If you are wearing a sweater with jeans, then you should avoid wearing sweatpants with them. You can wear a sweater with some casual shoes, but it is not recommended wearing it with formal shoes such as boots or sandals.

For Women:
A sweatshirt is the perfect choice for women who do not want to wear a lot of clothing underneath their clothes because it can be worn with almost any type of clothing. It is also perfect for women who want to look stylish but comfortable at the same time. It is also good to know that sweaters usually have long sleeves while sweatshirts have short sleeves.


Sweaters and sweatshirts are very similar in the sense that they are both thick, heavy, and warm. Sweaters and sweatshirts can be worn by both men and women for any occasion. However, they are also different in the sense of style shown. A sweatshirt is a casual type of garment which comes in various types and models, such as a long sleeve sweatshirt, a short sleeve sweatshirt, a hooded sweatshirt or a crew neck sweatshirt.

Sweatshirts may also come in a variety of colors and be decorated with graphics, logos, and more. Sweaters, on the other hand, are more formal garments. Also, A sweater is knitted while a sweatshirt is sewed.

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