The white T-shirt is a great wardrobe staple—and a personal favorite of mine. But from now until the end of May, it's sweater weather for most of the Northern Hemisphere. So, we need something to layer over our beloved T-shirts. Lately, I've been channeling my love for white tees into a similar, more weather-appropriate item: the white hoodie. In white, hoodies look bold, clean, and edgy in contrast to darkly colored winter pieces: I've grown to love them.
My affinity stems from childhood. I grew up in the late '90s watching Puff Daddy star in countless music videos—and he made wearing anything white look cool. From his ensembles in videos like "Been Around the World" to his invite-only "White Party" in the Hamptons—Puffy's hue of choice was clear.
In each phase of rap since, I've noticed many of my favorite artists donning a white hoodie at crucial cultural moments. From 50 Cent in his Get Rich or Die Tryin' days to Drake in the "Started From the Bottom" music video to A$AP Rocky today, the white hoodie has become an aspirational emblem of success in that world. In those contexts, white hoodies are intentionally, irreverently impractical, and even gaudy statement pieces—if you could call such a basic piece gaudy. A white hoodie marries two things: The style of clothes these guys have always worn, and their newfound ability to replace them as soon as they lose their bright white glow.
Both 50 and Drake made anthems about their ascent to the top of the charts, despite those who doubted them—and rocked white hoodies in their respective videos for those songs. For me, things like graduating school or getting a new job made me feel like I, too, had made it to the top of the game. That feeling of success is something I want every day—who wouldn't?—and so, with respect to my favorite rappers, I buy white hoodies.
Despite being a basic piece in, literally, the most basic of colors, finding the perfect white hoodie isn't easy. If you're anything like me—a detail-oriented buyer, to say the least—then things like cut and the tiniest bits of branding matter a lot. Some of the smaller labels that pay attention to that stuff, like Antisocial Social Club or The Good Company (both of which produced an exclusive range of T-shirts for Dover Street Market this season) had the foresight to produce great white hoodies for this winter, which I'll be wearing until I can head out in a white tee.
Nike and Champion also both make white hoodies year-round—they're unfussy, well-cut, and best of all, affordable. If you're in the market for something a little more special, Supreme collaborated with legendary skater and artist Mark Gonzales this season on a printed white hoodie. Stüssy has several good options available now, and Vivastudio, a mainstay of the burgeoning South Korean streetwear scene, produced a great clean option. Even Kanye West showed a luxurious off-white hoodie in his fall/winter 2016 collection.
No matter what you end up with, any white hoodie is like the warmer, older brother of the basic white T-shirt—wearing one will let you ride out the rest of the season comfortably and in style. Whether I'm at my desk writing or out doing some personal market research (read: shopping for more stuff), I can guarantee I'll be cavorting around New York City in a piece that's not only on trend, but that makes me feel like I just won a Grammy (just like 50). And hey, there's room out here for all of us to shine, so if you want to feel like you're on top, too, I suggest you start with the basics.