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

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.


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.


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


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.


Author: Janet Carr

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

8 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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