Tips for buying a hoodie for a shorter woman?
December 18, 2017 8:49 AM   Subscribe

I love how my wife looks in hoodies. Unfortunately, many of her favorites are worn and also she's gained a little weight in the waist and chest (not hips, she is a classic apple shape). I'm worried that many hoodies for women — especially the ones described as fitted — will not look right on her. On the other hand, I'm worried that non-fitted hoodies will just look like a non-flattering box. She's also short — around 5'2" or 5'3". What hoodies should I be looking at?

I've been looking at this hoodie which many people have described as amazing: the American Giant Classic Full-Zip Hoodie product link. Of course, none of the models give me a good idea of how it might look on her.

I should note that she just turned 42 and is a bit self-conscious about her age. I think she still looks young and cute but she might not want to wear anything that looks like she's trying to appear young.

Maybe even crazier, I came across the American Giant Hoodie Dress on the same site (product link) and I'm intrigued by it but really worried it might not look good on someone who is short and fuller in the middle.

Basically I am clueless about woman's sizing unfortunately, would like to give me wife a nice surprise and have her put on something that makes her feel beautiful instead of reinforcing her recent experiences of feeling old, unattractive, and her thinking she has an unattractive physique.

Recommendations for hoodies that are maybe not so stylish but still decent in experience but luxuriously comfortable are also welcome.
posted by nosh, daven, shtup to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (35 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Almost every sweatshirt I own is tight over the hips or enormous, except the one I have from Everlane. I don’t have the hoodie version, but I would try this one. The secret is some durable fabric that she’s well and drapes nicely with a wider than usual cut.
posted by asphericalcow at 8:56 AM on December 18, 2017


You are right to not get the hoodie dress. That is a complicated product on any body shape.
posted by I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today! at 9:06 AM on December 18, 2017 [10 favorites]


Are you sure a hoodie is going to make your wife feel beautiful right now? I get that you love how they look on her, but is she especially into them? I am around the same kind of body type as your wife and hoodies are what I wear when I don't care about looking particularly attractive. Whatever you do, don't get her that dress.
posted by cakelite at 9:07 AM on December 18, 2017 [10 favorites]


Do you have a sense of whether your wife has a long or short torso related to her overall height? I'm about 5'6" with a long torso (the length of my legs is about the same as the distance from my shoulders to the bottom of my bum), and a big chest, with some self-consciousness about my tummy (I tend to gain weight there now that I'm in my mid-40s). The American Giant hoodies are my perfect hoodies. They are a nice material, I don't feel as if I'm wearing a teenager's hoodie, they are a perfect length for me (hence my question above - most other women's hoodies end mid-tummy for me and that is the pits - I get a cold tummy and feel as if it calls attention to my least-favorite body part). The AG hoodie is long enough to cover my torso and skims my tummy area (so, as you say, no boxy effect).

Also, does your wife like looser-fitted tops (like tunics or A-line dresses)? If so, she might love that hoodie dress (I do, and am eyeing up that dress, not knowing until now that AG carry them). The key to pulling off that hoodie dress, I think, is feeling confident enough in clothes that are comfortable and call attention to the face and legs.

And finally, I love that you say you love how your wife looks in X article of clothing and that she's gained a little weight. When my husband tells me he loves how I look in X article of clothing, it really makes my day. And yes, he has said that about hoodies (which I never would have thought of "looking cute" wear, but knowing he thinks so, I feel really good in them now).
posted by pammeke at 9:10 AM on December 18, 2017 [5 favorites]


I have that hoodie, am tall with a long torso, and it's almost long enough for me. I would recommend against it for someone who wears petite sizes.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:10 AM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


I do not like the American Giant hoodies at all. They are way too thick.
Old Navy hoodies are just the right weight IMHO.
posted by k8t at 9:13 AM on December 18, 2017


I have a similar figure (short, carry my weight around the middle) and I find that extra long sweaters like this one are more likely to be a better fit. Anything soft with a lot of drape is also good, like this one. This one has both length and drape, though the style is a bit young. The slits in the side of this one and the longer back may be good. (Sorry for Target - their quality is a little cheap but they have the variety to show you lots of different examples.)

Men's hoodies a size down from what I usually wear also fit me decently, though they're less flattering.

(Also, I'll push back a little against the suggestions not to get this at all. Hoodies are a nice cute, cozy gift for the colder times of year. I wouldn't take this as a "here, have something that hides your dumpy figure" kind of slight.)
posted by capricorn at 9:16 AM on December 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


is she especially into them?

My wife likes hoodies and has commented on how she doe
sn't have ones she can wear anymore. Also she usually tends towards more casual dress anyway. Until recently, it seems they were her outerwear of choice. It's possible she's less into them now that she sees herself as older, but also she may not be happy with how many of them fit her currently.

Do you have a sense of whether your wife has a long or short torso related to her overall height?

I would say she has a very short torso.

Also, does your wife like looser-fitted tops (like tunics or A-line dresses)? If so, she might love that hoodie dress (I do, and am eyeing up that dress, not knowing until now that AG carry them). The key to pulling off that hoodie dress, I think, is feeling confident enough in clothes that are comfortable and call attention to the face and legs.

She does, but she often pairs dresses with jeans (which is a shame because she has knockout legs). I think right now a lack of confidence is a bit of an issue.

In terms of measurements I know that her chest is around 38 or so (that was her last actual measurement but I suspect it's increased since). I'd guess her waist is a few inches less than that and her hips are effectively the same measurement as her waist (possibly even less). So an apple or triangle shape.

I have a similar figure (short, carry my weight around the middle) and I find that extra long sweaters like this one are more likely to be a better fit.

Wow that "A New Day" Long Sleeve Hoodie Tunic looks fantastic. Where does it end up on a shorter person though? On the 5'9" model it ends up above her knees. I worry with my wife it could end up below them!
posted by nosh, daven, shtup at 9:31 AM on December 18, 2017


Is there a way for you to surreptitiously measure (from shoulder to hem) an article or two of clothing of hers which seems to hit the right length on her? Then you can ask manufacturers for the same measurement on their items and compare how they might look on your wife. I've called companies in the past to ask for that measurement myself.

Also, not precisely what you're looking for (as you'd likely need her cooperation to make an order), but - I love the company eShakti (you plug in all of your measurements including torso length, distance from shoulder to widest part of chest, etc, and they send you clothes that fit like a glove) and they have a selection of hoodies and hoodie dresses to choose from. As a woman who took a confidence hit after some body changes, I can attest to the miraculous effect of owning a garment that was made for me and fits perfectly in every way. But it wouldn't be a surprise, per se.
posted by pammeke at 9:43 AM on December 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


Based on capricorn mentioning Tunic Hoodies I came across this Miusey V-Neck Pleated Pullover Tunic Hoodie (product link). Thoughts?
posted by nosh, daven, shtup at 9:43 AM on December 18, 2017


As a woman who took a confidence hit after some body changes, I can attest to the miraculous effect of owning a garment that was made for me and fits perfectly in every way. But it wouldn't be a surprise, per se.

No, but if they're custom made I doubt they'd be ready by Christmas anyway (which is unfortunately the goal!). However, a gift card to the website might be a good idea!
posted by nosh, daven, shtup at 9:44 AM on December 18, 2017


Understood. Looking at that latest hoodie tunic link - it is super cute, but I wonder about length on your wife. It looks like the sizes are as follows:

Medium---Length--28.35" Bust--37.00" Sleeve--24.41"
Large ---Length--29.13" Bust--39.00" Sleeve--24.80"
X-Large--Length--29.92" Bust--40.95" Sleeve--25.20"
XX-Large-Length--30.70" Bust--42.91" Sleeve--25.54"

If you have a tape measure you can get a sense of how long the tunic (and the sleeves) would be on her. It looks as if the company making that item is Korean - I've personally had very good experiences with Korean clothing companies making trendy affordable items, but note that their "XX large" might not be a Western "XX large".

One more note - if your wife's chest measurement is 38", I just want to specify that if this is her bra measurement (such as 38C), that is the measurement of her ribcage (without boobs). For boobs, add in 1" for each cup size (so 1" for A, 2" for B, 3" for C, etc.) Just adding stuff that my husband might not think of, if he were asking this question.
posted by pammeke at 9:54 AM on December 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


One more note - if your wife's chest measurement is 38", I just want to specify that if this is her bra measurement (such as 38C), that is the measurement of her ribcage (without boobs). For boobs, add in 1" for each cup size (so 1" for A, 2" for B, 3" for C, etc.) Just adding stuff that my husband might not think of, if he were asking this question.

Scarily accurate and you're absolutely right, I just know her bra measurement.

Just to be clear, you've been very happy with the clothes from eShakti? 'Cause right now that's the direction I'm leaning in, especially since she is actually usually pretty picky about her clothes. I just want to get her into a cute hoodie that fits and that she likes. I'm not adamant about picking it out for her.
posted by nosh, daven, shtup at 10:06 AM on December 18, 2017


I am about the same size and build as your wife -- a little shorter, short torso, same shape -- and I've never had problems with women's hoodies being too small in the waist/hip if it fits everywhere else. I only have this problem with men's hoodies which obviously makes sense because they assume you have no hips. However, basically everything is too long. I am used to and enjoy my shirts covering my butt, but she might not. I have an Old Navy women's large hoodie that I adore. The thing I'd be careful on in women's sizing is the arms. If she has gained weight in that area, Old Navy is not a good place to shop for her. My girlfriend carries some weigh in her bicep area and can't wear anything from ON that is too fitted. I can't make any comparisons for any of the other suggestions already in this thread but I do have an American Apparel sweatshirt I love that is about the right length in the torso but too long in the arms. It's hard being short and buying clothes, I'm sure she'll appreciate your efforts.
posted by possibilityleft at 10:11 AM on December 18, 2017


I've only ordered two dresses through eShakti, but I was delighted with them both.

For context: I'd gained some weight and had a friend's wedding to attend where I knew I'd see some old friends for the first time in a long while, and there would be a ton of pictures I'd have to be in. None of my favorite party dresses fit me. I ordered two dresses to choose from, and I felt so good in both of them that I asked my husband for his opinion. He loved them both, and the one I decided to wear he liked so much that he had us stop on our way to the ceremony so he could take pictures of me in it. I felt like a princess, and the reactions I got from people were so positive and encouraging that I forgot that I'd started dress planning feeling so down about my weight.

Another nice thing about eShakti is that you can mix and match sleeve lengths/styles, so if she prefers a 3/4 sleeve, for example, she can select that.

Merry Christmas!
posted by pammeke at 10:14 AM on December 18, 2017 [2 favorites]


Miusey V-Neck Pleated Pullover Tunic Hoodie (product link). Thoughts?

I am built, afaict, exactly like your wife (height, short-waisted, a little thick around the middle, good sized breasts) and if I liked hoodies (and I do! I wear them most days) I would not like that because it looks like it might be snuggie around my wast which i am not trying to emphasize. For me the big thing about hoodies is their complete unzippability so you can wear them open or closed. This is not that.

Also: if she's picky about her clothes I might get her something that doesn't need to be fitted (a fabulous scarf or something in just her colors) and then a gift card to something where she could pick exactly what she wanted. Sounds like you are on the right track. Also wanted to mention that I've gotten my best hoodies from Old Navy, they have thinner fabric which is often what I want. If you do get her a hoodie and a gift cert. maybe get her one that has a message she'd be in to (favorite brand or band or something) and then the fit is less an issue. Also keep an eye on return policies.
posted by jessamyn at 10:36 AM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


Hoodies are awesome and can be really flattering, actually, but I would suggest going with the idea in your first link, a zip-up one, as opposed to a pullover one. If she gains weight (or if the hoodie shrinks at all in the wash), the pullover ones can be saddening and frustrating to try to get on, and they'll mess up your hair, get you all staticky, etc. Go with a zip-up one with big pockets for maximum comfort and happiness.
posted by limeonaire at 10:41 AM on December 18, 2017


The hoodie I live in much of the time is one of these, for what it's worth. Reasons I wear it more than my former favorite hoodie: 1. it's super soft inside; 2. it's not tight and built up around the stomach and hips (extra layers, such as the ones with pockets stitched on in an external layer, can bunch up when you sit down); 3. the contrast zipper really looks good and makes it more flattering for some unknown reason, like it highlights the lines of the garment a little, rather than it just being a single-color sack; and 4. it has a logo I like.
posted by limeonaire at 10:53 AM on December 18, 2017


I am not a hoodie person, but think I am similarly shaped and my favorite sweatshirts are from Eddie Bauer. I buy myself a new one every year for Christmas.
posted by notjustthefish at 10:59 AM on December 18, 2017


I'm 5'2" and have all of the hoodies. You might want to check h&m. Definitely you want a zip. I have a short torso and hips but no boobs and their hoodies kind of lump around my waste. They look pretty frumpy on me but I think if I carried weight like your wife, they're what I'd want. Broadly h&m is designed for a shorter woman I think. They're durable by women's clothes standard and they come in a lot of different colors.
posted by Bistyfrass at 12:03 PM on December 18, 2017


This is the one I have.
posted by Bistyfrass at 12:08 PM on December 18, 2017


Eshakti made me a great shift dress that fit my very oddly proportioned post-Patinkin body.

You might also try Ureshii design - they’re also made to order and have lots of things (ind hoodies) that look flattering and comfy.
posted by jrobin276 at 12:08 PM on December 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


Post Patinkin? I meant post partum!
posted by jrobin276 at 12:10 PM on December 18, 2017 [10 favorites]


Wardrobe Oxygen is a blog by a woman who probably has a similar body shape as your wife - I think she's 5'2" or 5'3" and is around a size 12-14, if that seems right to you. You can browse through her outfit posts and see if you find something your wife might like. This outfit features a hooded sweatshirt/cardigan - not exactly a hoodie, but I really like it and it looks fantastic on the blogger.
posted by insectosaurus at 12:25 PM on December 18, 2017


If someone buys me a hoodie without a zipper, I truly believe they don't understand me at all. A lot of options you mentioned don't have zippers. Do you know how your wife feels about them?
posted by freezer cake at 1:30 PM on December 18, 2017 [5 favorites]


Sizing data point. I'm 5'4" and I've often had hoodies be short on me even though I have relatively long legs. Old navy hoodies run short on me for example. If she normally wears standard sizes instead of "petite" for SHIRTS specifically, then most standard hoodies are probably an okay length. +1 for zippers.
posted by Crystalinne at 3:49 PM on December 18, 2017 [1 favorite]


I have a close friend with a not-dissimilar height, shape, and age, and she wears the hell out Prairie Underground, and looks absolutely glorious doing it. I will warn you that this stuff is far from cheap, but IME, it's really well-made and if you take care of it, it lasts forever.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 4:00 PM on December 18, 2017


I've been super happy with eShakti clothes and order almost everything from them now. BUT two caveats. The first is that their stock changes constantly. There is no way those hoodie dresses will still be there in a month or two. I frequently miss out on great stuff by waiting a week or two to order. And the second is that my husband gave me a gift card to them for Christmas last year and one for my birthday shortly afterwards and neither of them worked. I got weird error messages when trying to use them. I tried a million things and went through their customer service email a lot to try to figure it out. In the end I had to call them on the actual phone (which is annoying because I am in Australia and they are in America and only take calls during American business hours), and they were super helpful then and sorted it out. But it was a giant pain in the ass. I'm sure not everyone has that sort of experience, though.
posted by lollusc at 5:34 PM on December 18, 2017


I have a close friend with a not-dissimilar height, shape, and age, and she wears the hell out Prairie Underground, and looks absolutely glorious doing it. I will warn you that this stuff is far from cheap, but IME, it's really well-made and if you take care of it, it lasts forever.

Coming here to also suggest Prairie Underground, although I recently bought myself the American Giant hoodie. What I like about the AG: enormous hood, which I think is more feminine and flattering (not unlike the huge cowl/hood on the Prairie Underground stuff). However, it is a pretty basic hoodie shape otherwise, the fabric is thick without much stretch. The thick fabric helps hide lumps and bumps, but I'm not sure it's as comfortable as I would like. I think the AG could work for an apple shape, but may not be as feminine looking as the Prairie Underground styles.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:49 PM on December 18, 2017


Oh yeah, I am also on team zipper. Hoodies without drive me insane.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:51 PM on December 18, 2017


If you want to get her a really special, flattering hoodie, look at the signature wrap at Kania (https://kania.ca)- NOT CHEAP but lovely designer sweatshirts.
posted by bighappyhairydog at 8:27 PM on December 18, 2017


She wears the hell out of Prairie Underground

I'm 5 foot 4 and most of my height is in my legs, so I have a short torso, with lots of hips and chest. I've tried on Prairie Underground's Long Cloak Hoodie and am saving up for one for myself. It's comfy, it's long (it would look good with a long-sleeved T and leggings), and it flares out under my ribcage and skims over my hips and perimenopausal stomach padding.

Oh, and it zips up, too, and is made in a lot of colors.
posted by virago at 8:35 PM on December 18, 2017


Prairie Underground looks fantastic but is definitely outside my price range! Or, at the very least, definitely not in the price range of a piece of clothing I'd buy for my wife without her very, very active participation.

Re: zippers there is one she has that is just a v-neck zip but other than that all of hers are full-zip so that is what I'd probably get her if I bought her a hoodie myself.

My inclination now is to go for a simple zipper hoodie for her to open on Christmas along with a faux gift card (thanks for the heads up lollusc!) inviting her to get a custom-fit hoodie on eShakti (I think she will also like that it seems like eShakti has ethical labor practices). Since reviews of the American Giant hoodie are a bit mixed, I'll probably go with something a little bit less expensive.

Thanks everyone for your feedback! Don't worry, I am not getting her the dress.
posted by nosh, daven, shtup at 12:35 PM on December 19, 2017 [2 favorites]


The two part gift sounds like a great idea -- that way she gets something to unwrap and something to look forward to!

Plus as someone who has been there re: gaining weight and feeling like nothing looks good anymore, i try to keep in mind words that I read on the blog Already Pretty: "The problem isn't with your body -- the problem is with the clothes." (not an exact quote, but that's the gist)

The blogger was encouraging readers to get their clothes altered, but what she said could also apply to an experience like eShakti, where your wife will get to order a hoodie with the features that flatter *her* (as per pammeke above), not some abstract sample-size woman.
posted by virago at 6:09 PM on December 19, 2017


Correction to my Prairie Underground comment: I posted the wrong link. This is the Prairie Underground Long Cloak Hoodie.
posted by virago at 6:14 PM on December 19, 2017 [1 favorite]


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