sweater vs sweatshirt

Sweater vs Sweatshirt: 5 Key Differences to Know Before You Buy

For beginners who wish to design customized garments, it is essential that they thoroughly understand the distinction between a sweater and a sweatshirt. Each garment has characteristics that determine how their personalized designs will appear. Knowing the difference between these two items regarding warmth, style, and flexibility helps you decide what you want best.

At ooShirts, we are dedicated to helping enthusiasts understand sweater vs sweatshirt for custom apparel designs. We are committed to educating our customers on how to create their clothing using the right choice of clothes. Leveraging our deep expertise in custom printing, we will guide you through the unmatched benefits of sweaters and sweatshirts.

We meticulously crafted this guide to highlight the key distinctions between sweaters and sweatshirts in terms of custom apparel design as a result of our commitment to offering insightful advice. This includes reviewing their unique attributes, highlighting their advantages, and comparing sweaters and sweatshirts based on different features. By the end, you’ll have a detailed overview of selecting suitable items for your custom attire requirements.

Let’s dive in!

Sweater vs Sweatshirt: What’s the Difference?

Sweaters and sweatshirts are essential pieces of clothing in any wardrobe, serving as the foundation of comfort and style. Understanding the nuanced differences between sweater vs sweatshirt can significantly enhance your style choices. Each serves a unique function in your ensemble, from design nuances to material selection.

What is a Sweater?

what is a sweater?

A sweater is carefully made from knitted or crocheted fabrics, engineered to deliver warmth and style. These adaptable layering pieces can be matched over other attire. Sweaters come in various weights, from lightweight to heavy, and often feature long sleeves to cover the arms. Common materials used in sweaters include wool, cotton, and synthetic blends.

Common Types of Sweaters

Sweaters are a staple in any wardrobe, offering warmth, style, and versatility. From traditional pullovers to snug cable knits, a sweater exists for every circumstance. Consider these prevalent types: 

common types of sweaters
  • Pullover Sweaters: These serve as your basic sweaters, effortlessly slipping over the head. They come in various necklines, such as crewneck or V-neck, rendering them versatile.
  • Cardigan Sweaters: These options open at the front and are usually fastened with buttons or zippers. They’re like fashion multitaskers, great for layering and quickly switching from casual to dressy.
  • Cable Knit Sweaters: If you’re looking for warmth and style, cable knit sweaters are the way to go. They’re thick and cozy, perfect for chilly weather, and their textured patterns add a touch of class to any outfit.
  • Turtleneck Sweaters: Turtleneck sweaters have that high collar that snuggles up to your neck, keeping you cozy and chic, especially in colder climates or fancier events.
  • V-Neck Sweaters: These sweaters feature a relaxed V-shaped neckline, adding flair to one’s attire. They excel at layering over collared shirts or being worn independently, which is ideal for casual outings and professional environments.
  • Crewneck Sweaters: Classic and versatile crewneck sweaters have a rounded neckline that goes with almost anything. They are an excellent base layer beneath jackets or standalone pieces for moderately chilly days.
  • Sweater Vests: Sleeveless and stylish, sweater vests are like the Swiss army knives of sweaters. You can layer them over shirts or blouses for added warmth without all the bulk, giving you that polished, preppy vibe for any occasion.

What is a Sweatshirt?

what is a sweatshirt

A sweatshirt is a casual garment known for its comfort and relaxed fit. It is fashioned predominantly from plush, fleece-lined fabrics and commonly showcases a crew neckline. Sweatshirts are the cornerstone of sporty and casual wear, offering warmth and comfort. Moreover, sweatshirts may feature hoods, commonly termed hoodies, giving them an additional facet of style and practicality.

Common Types of Sweatshirts

When it comes to cozy comfort and casual style, sweatshirts are the ultimate wardrobe essential. Whether you’re lounging at home or out for a jog, there’s a sweatshirt for every occasion. Let us dive into a selection of common variants:

common types of sweatshirts
  • Crewneck sweatshirts: These are your classic, go-to sweatshirts with a round neckline. They exude comfort and ease, making them ideal for relaxing in any casual setting.
  • Hoodies: These cozy hooded sweatshirts have a handy front pocket. They’re perfect for keeping warm and looking fabulous, whether for a stroll or hitting the gym.
  • Graphic Sweatshirts: They’re like wearable art, featuring cool designs, logos, or artwork that lets you express yourself while staying cozy.
  • Zip-Up Hoodies: These feature a full-length front zipper, representing an evolved version of your regular hoodies. Additionally, they afford supplementary airflow when requisite, rendering them ideal for layering beneath outerwear.
  • Fleece Sweatshirts: Made from super-soft fleece fabric, these sweatshirts are like a warm hug on a cold day. They’re perfect for lounging at home or staying cozy during outdoor activities.
  • Oversized Sweatshirts: Sometimes, you just want to kick back and relax in something extra comfy. These loose-fitting, ultra-cozy sweatshirts are ideal for days when you simply want to relax.
  • Athletic Sweatshirts: If you’re hitting the gym or heading out for a run, you need a sweatshirt to keep up. Athletic sweatshirts are designed with moisture-wicking fabrics and ergonomic designs to keep you comfortable and performing at your best during workouts or sports activities.

5 Core Differences Between Sweaters and Sweatshirts

Sweaters and sweatshirts are both beloved for their cozy comfort and casual style. Yet, they have distinct characteristics that set them apart. From fabrics to pricing, understanding these disparities can guide your wardrobe choices. Check out these key differences between them to ensure you make the proper selection for any occasion: 

differences between sweaters and sweatshirts

Fabric Type and Materials

Regarding sweaters and sweatshirts, the fabric type and materials are crucial in determining their comfort, warmth, and overall feel. Whether snuggling up on a chilly evening or braving the winter winds, the suitable fabric can keep you comfy and warm. Explore these various materials frequently utilized in both garments:

sweater vs sweatshirt fabrics


  • Knitted or Crocheted Fabrics: Sweaters are primarily constructed from crocheted materials or knitted garments, which provide a flexible and often stretchy texture.
  • Wool: A common material for sweaters, wool offers excellent insulation and warmth, making it ideal for colder weather.
  • Cotton: Cotton sweaters are breathable and comfortable, suitable for milder temperatures and layering.
  • Synthetic Blends: These can include acrylic, polyester, or nylon, offering durability, affordability, and sometimes added warmth or moisture-wicking properties.


  • Fleece: Sweatshirts are often made from soft, plush fabric that provides warmth and comfort. Fleece is typically made from polyester and is known for its insulating properties.
  • Jersey Knit Fabric: Another common material for sweatshirts is jersey knit, a smooth, stretchable fabric that is soft to the touch and comfortable to wear. It is often made from cotton or synthetic blends.
  • Cotton Blends: Many sweatshirts use blends of cotton and synthetic fibers to balance comfort, breathability, and durability, making them suitable for both casual wear and athletic activities.

Design and Styling

When contemplating between sweaters and sweatshirts, the facets of design emerge as crucial considerations that may sway your decision. People love sweaters for their intricate woven patterns, high-neck collars, and elegant cuffs, which exude sophistication and versatility. They are ideal for injecting a touch of refinement into your attire.

Sweatshirts, on the other hand, are relaxed and casual. This is due to their hoods and front pouches. Sweatshirts encompass many styles, from those adorned with bold graphics and emblems to understated designs, allowing you to express your personal preferences.

Customization Options

Sweaters and sweatshirts offer a canvas for self-expression through various customization options. Embroidered sweaters and custom-printed sweatshirts let you build a unique wardrobe that truly reflects your essence. Discover these exquisite choices to elevate your style: 

explore customization options for sweaters vs sweatshirts


  • Embroidery: Transform your sweater into a masterpiece with intricate embroidered designs, logos, or monograms. Elevate sophistication and personalize your garment with various colors and styles tailored to your unique taste.
  • Patchwork: Unleash your creativity by adorning your sweater with captivating patchwork detailing. Fabric patches or appliques create mesmerizing designs, ensuring your sweater exudes charm and personality.
  • Knit Patterns: Craft a sweater that reflects your style with custom knit patterns. From classic cable knits to modern ribbed textures or traditional Fair Isle motifs, each stitch tells a story of your impeccable taste.
  • Color Selection: Custom sweaters often offer a range of color options. Choose the palette that resonates with your individuality, ensuring your sweater becomes a canvas for self-expression.


  • Screen Printing: Make a bold statement with vibrant and detailed designs adorning your sweatshirt through the art of screen printing. Whether for promotional purposes or personal flair, this method ensures your sweatshirt stands out in any crowd.
  • Heat Transfer: Embrace flexibility in design with heat transfer customization, allowing full-color prints to grace your sweatshirt effortlessly. 
  • Vinyl Graphics: Precision meets style with vinyl graphics, as custom designs are meticulously cut and heat-pressed onto your sweatshirt. Add a touch of personalization with custom names or numbers.
  • Embroidery: While less common, embroidery lends a touch of sophistication to sweatshirts, offering logos, monograms, or decorative designs. Ensure your sweatshirt stands out with delicate embroidery tailored to suit the thicker fabric.

Maintenance and Care

Because of their detailed knitting or crocheting, sweaters need a tender approach. They should undergo manual washing in frigid water with a mild or mechanical cleansing agent on a soft rotation. After washing, lay sweaters flat to dry, preventing elongation; then, fold and store them in a cool, dry place to avoid stretching or moth damage.

In contrast, sweatshirts are considerably simpler to manage. They can endure machine laundering with a standard cleansing agent. In cases of necessity, they are amenable to being subjected to low to moderate warmth during the drying process and to being pressed with a gentle touch. Sweatshirts can be folded, stored, or hung without a notable risk of elongation. Nonetheless, recurrent washing may lead to the formation of pills and a loss of color intensity. 


Craftsmanship in sweaters, particularly for intricate designs, contributes to their higher pricing. Luxury brands further elevate prices due to their reputation for quality. Additionally, sweaters’ association with cold weather increases demand and pricing in fall and winter. These factors collectively shape the pricing dynamics of sweaters on the market.

On the other hand, sweatshirts undergo a more straightforward production process than sweaters, which helps lower costs. While luxury sweatshirt brands exist, they’re typically linked with casual or athletic wear and are often priced lower than designer sweaters. Also, sweatshirts are wearable year-round. They depend less on seasonal trends. This makes their pricing steadier each year.

Advantages of Using Sweaters for Custom Designs

advantages of sweaters

When you compare sweaters and sweatshirts, you’ll notice each has its own unique benefits. Sweaters offer the versatility and personal touch of a custom-designed sweater when it comes to expressing your unique style. Discover these key advantages to elevate your wardrobe and make a statement with every outfit.

  • Tailored Style: Custom-designed sweaters allow you to express your individuality like no other garment. You can create a look that reflects your personality, whether it is quirky, sophisticated, or anything in between.
  • Premium Quality: Opting for custom sweaters often means choosing superior materials and craftsmanship. This ensures a great garment that stands the test of time, maintaining its shape and integrity wear after wear.
  • Perfect Fit: Say goodbye to awkward sizing issues. Custom sweaters are made to measure, ensuring a fit just right for your body type. This approach means no more sacrificing style for comfort or vice versa; you can have both.
  • Unique Gifts: Custom sweaters make for unforgettable gifts. Whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, or holiday, giving someone a personalized sweater shows that you’ve put thought and care into their present. It’s a gesture that’s sure to be appreciated and remembered.
  • Brand Representation: Custom sweaters offer businesses a powerful branding opportunity. Whether for employees, customers, or promotional purposes, branded sweaters help reinforce your company’s identity and foster a sense of unity among wearers.
  • Versatile Wardrobe Staple: Sweaters are timeless wardrobe staples that can be worn in various settings and seasons. Whether dressing for a casual outing, a professional setting, or a formal event, a custom sweater can effortlessly elevate your look.

Advantages of Using Sweatshirts for Custom Designs

advantages of sweatshirts

When it comes to combining comfort with style, sweatshirts reign supreme. These cozy garments are perfect for lounging, running errands, or staying warm on chilly days. Explore the advantages of using sweatshirts for custom designs and why they’re the ultimate choice for anyone who can easily express themselves.

  • Comfort and Functionality: Sweatshirts are synonymous with comfort, making them ideal for lounging at home, running errands, or staying warm on chilly days. With a custom design, you can enjoy comfort and style in equal measure.
  • Easy Customization: Sweatshirt fabrics lend themselves well to various customization techniques, such as screen printing, embroidery, and appliqué. This means you can easily personalize your sweatshirt with logos, graphics, or text to suit your preferences.
  • Group Identity: Custom sweatshirts are perfect for creating a sense of unity among groups or teams. Whether for a sports team, a school club, or a volunteer organization, matching sweatshirts help foster camaraderie and team spirit.
  • Promotional Opportunities: Businesses can leverage custom sweatshirts as practical promotional tools. Whether as employee uniforms, customer giveaways, or branded merchandise, sweatshirts offer a practical and stylish look to increase brand visibility.
  • Seasonal Appeal: Sweatshirts are versatile garments that can be worn year-round. From lightweight options for spring and summer to cozy fleece-lined styles for fall and winter, custom sweatshirts can be tailored to suit any season or climate.
  • Fashionable Statement Piece: Sweatshirts have evolved from essential athletic wear to stylish statement pieces. With endless design possibilities, you can create a comfortable, stylish, and on-trend sweatshirt, allowing you to express your style confidently.

Key Takeaway

Understanding the nuances between sweater vs sweatshirt is essential for anyone venturing into custom apparel design. In fashion, grasping what each type of garment offers can significantly impact the approach and outcome of your designs. You open up many possibilities for your custom apparel projects. You can tap into each garment’s distinct benefits by knowing the unique features of sweaters and sweatshirts.

Recognizing the main differences between sweaters and sweatshirts paves the way for creating custom pieces that truly resonate. This knowledge allows designers to fine-tune their creations, leveraging each garment’s specific features to enhance appeal and functionality for their target audience.

Still deciding whether to use sweaters or sweatshirts for your custom designs? Reach out to us at [email protected] for personalized advice. You may also explore our blogs on the ooShirt blog page for valuable insights and resources on custom apparel design. Let’s collaborate to ensure your designs perfectly capture your unique style and vision.