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Why the humble half zip is a cold-weather must-have

Why the humble half zip is a cold-weather must-have

It used to be that half zips were largely reserved for camping trips, airplane terminals, and the back nine of a golf course – the kind of places where how you look tends to be secondary to comfort. Then they became the corporate swag of choice (remember when every young start-up had a Patagonia half-zip sweatshirt with a company logo emblazoned on the front?). And then the unexpected happened: half zips were embraced by style-forward crowds, and suddenly they had the sort of unassuming cool factor that made them must-have layers. And we're here for it. 

We love a style that looks good without trying too hard, and this is a particularly versatile one. You can easily dress half zips down with joggers and chunky trainers, or elevate them under a tailored jacket with a pair of wool trousers. But we’d argue the style sweet spot falls somewhere in between, as stylist Freddie Kemp illustrates in the image above. 

That in-between territory blends a dash of Normcore, athleisure, and workwear, making it an off-duty look that’s still considered. And don’t feel pressured to reach for a zip up that’s punchy in colour or pattern. The beauty of this specific style of half zip is that it serves as a supporting role – not the main act. And the other items in this ensemble cast? Relaxed pieces – mainly neutral ones. 

Loose-fitting trousers

Khaki or tobacco work particularly well. Paired with a half zip, they’ll create a laid-back feel that will take you from errands, trips to the pub, to dog walks in the park. Much like a half zip, they're great in a medley of other unassuming pieces, meaning they'll work well with most of your core wardrobe essentials. 

A pair of dad trainers

Cue the Normcore. What we love about the New Balance trainers featured above is that they have enough contrast in colour and texture to make them visually compelling, but not the focal point of your look. Noticing a theme emerge?

Punchy outerwear 

To lend your pared-back look a bit of interest, reach for colourful outerwear. A safety orange gilet, like the one Freddie styled above, may be bright, but it mingles well with a neutral palette – think shades of oatmeal and tobacco, and the fact that it has a workwear silhouette helps keep it rooted in both style and practicality. Consider it another low-maintenance layer to add to your style rotation.


Words: Allison Pavlick
Photography: Angus Williams
Styling: Freddie Kemp