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At first glance, it might seem like men’s and women’s hoodies are basically the same. However, these two items of clothing are actually quite different, and learning about the differences between the two can help you get the fit you’re looking for or make a better decision when purchasing a hoodie as a gift.

man and woman wearing a hoodie

Men’s vs Women’s Hoodies: Differences

  • Waist and bust
  • Shoulder fit
  • Sleeve length and width
  • Sizing
  • Zipper tab
  • Unisex

Waist and Bust Fit

Women’s hoodies tend to be cut to fit a curvier figure. They are often a bit more form-fitting, and they tend to have a smaller or more form-fitting waist and more room in the bust area.

woman leaning on a fence wearing a hoodie

Women’s hoodies are also a little bit shorter than men’s hoodies since women tend to have shorter torsos comparatively.

Men’s hoodies, on the other hand, are not as shapely, and they’re usually a bit baggier. Even if they’re not baggy, men’s hoodies don’t usually curve in at the waist but are instead cut and stitched in a straighter line. They also usually have less room in the chest area.

Exactly how fitted a hoodie is depends on what it’s designed for. For example, a hoodie that’s designed solely for warmth and was made to be worn over a shirt or even a sweater will be a bit baggier regardless of whether it was made for men or women.

The different waist and bust sizes in hoodies are especially noticeable in athletic hoodies, however. Athletic hoodies are almost always more form-fitting, whether they are made for men or women.

However, men’s hoodies tend to be much boxier, while women’s are designed to have a more hourglass shape. This form-fitting cut is perfect for sports, particularly running, because it is much more aerodynamic.

man and woman wearing black hoodies

Shoulder Fit

In general, men tend to have broader shoulders than women. For this reason, men’s hoodies also usually have wider shoulders.

If a woman wears a men’s hoodie, she might find that the shoulder seams rest on her upper arm instead of at the shoulder where they’re supposed to.

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Conversely, men wearing women’s hoodies might find the shoulder area a bit too tight.

Sleeve Length and Width

The sleeve’s on men’s hoodies are usually a little bit longer than those on women’s hoodies. This is true even if the rest of the hoodie is of comparable size.

Women’s sleeves also tend to be more fitted, while men’s sleeves are often a bit looser.


A women’s small hoodie and a men’s small hoodie are not the same sizes. This is because men’s sizes are almost always larger.

man wearing a white hoodie against a wood grain background

A men’s medium, for example, is usually at least an inch and a half larger across the chest, and it can be 3 or 4 inches longer than a women’s medium.

A men’s medium hoodie, therefore, is equal to a women’s large or even extra-large hoodie.

Sizing does vary from brand to brand, so if you’re picking out a hoodie, it’s always best to either try it on or look at a size chart to see how that particular hoodie compares to shirts and sweatshirts in your normal size.

Zipper Tab

If you’re looking at a hoodie that zips up, as opposed to a pull-over style hoodie, you might notice a difference in zipper placement between men’s and women’s hoodies.

Men’s zipper tabs are usually on the right side, while women’s zipper pulls are on the left side.

However, most modern hoodie manufacturers don’t bother with this distinction anymore, and all hoodies made by a particular brand will have the zipper pull on one side regardless of whether they’re men’s or women’s hoodies.

Unisex Hoodies

Unisex hoodies are also a little bit different than either men’s or women’s hoodies. Unisex hoodies are based on men’s sizing, so a small unisex hoodie will be closer to a men’s small in size.

However, the arms might not be quite as long. Unisex hoodies also tend to be a bit more form-fitting than most men’s hoodies, although they aren’t designed with the noticeable curves of women’s hoodies.

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The material used to make unisex hoodies is often a bit more stretchy than in regular hoodies so that it will fit comfortably over a woman’s curves or a man’s broad shoulders.

However, the material can differ from brand to brand, so this isn’t the case all of the time.

hoodies on a hanger

Which hoodie is right for me?

Whether a men’s, women’s, or unisex hoodie is right for you depends mostly on preference. If you prefer a tighter fit, you might want to go with a women’s hoodie.

Women’s hoodies are also a good option if you have shorter arms or smaller shoulders. Women’s hoodies are often a good alternative to athletic hoodies because they’re form-fitting.

Men’s hoodies, on the other hand, offer a bit more freedom of movement. They are usually looser, and many people find them more comfortable because of the extra fabric.

The sleeves might be too long for some people, particularly women, but some people see this as a benefit, since you can tuck your hands into the sleeves to keep them warm.

man and woman wearing hoodies with a zipper

It’s also important to consider what you’ll be using the hoodie for. If you want the hoodie for warmth or to wear over other clothes, a men’s hoodie might be a better choice, as the looser fit is often a little more versatile. The fabric of the hoodie can also make a difference in the fit.

If you’re purchasing a hoodie at a concert, sporting event, or team-building event, it’s important to remember that when hoodies are purchased in bulk they’re often purchased in men’s or unisex sizes and styles.

If you usually shop in women’s sizes, you will probably need to size down to find a hoodie that fits you correctly.

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