Why do sweatshirts have a ‘V’ at the neckline?

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Have you ever wondered why some American-style sweatshirts have a ‘V’ stitched under the collar, and some don’t?

I have, though that may be due to my ever-inquiring mind! I wonder about everything. I was a very annoying child.

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Early American sweatshirts – from about the 1940s – were used purely for sport, and so they had absorbent webbing around the neck, which is where that v-shaped patch of sweat usually starts. This v shape was made of entirely different (absorbent cotton) material from the rest of the sweatshirt. There was no lightweight moisture-wicking sports gear then so soaking up sweat was the best you could hope for. And that is what that v did.

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This webbed material also made the neckline more stretchy so that it was easier to get the sweatshirt on and off.

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Later on, as athletic gear developed and became more high tech, this v  became purely decorative – a patch of cotton stitched into the sweatshirt, or just stitches in the regular material.

Fashion being what it is, when vintage is in, there are v shapes in sweatshirts and when vintage is not in, there is a regular round neck with no detailing around the collar.

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Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

6 thoughts

  1. Indeed! The sweatshirt as we know it today (cotton, “V stitched” etc) was invented in the 30s by Benny Russell, a student and football player at the University of Alabama.

      1. That’s so kind of you! Thank you, Janet! I just happen to be always wondering about things and I have a very good memory so I remember small things and anecdotes.
        You often bring up subjects I’m interested in so I find it very informative to read your blog.

  2. I’ve often wondered the same, and it’s one of the first things I look for when shopping for a sweatshirt. For some reason I find it unattractive so a shirt with that feature is an immediate no-no for me.

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