Review: Belgian Crew Hoodie (€85)
(2018) Imagine taking the warming properties of a hooded sweatshirt and mixing it with the comfort fit of your favorite cycling jersey. Most hooded sweatshirts are for wearing on the couch after a day at the office. They are not optimal garments to wear out to a casual dinner. But as cyclists we look for items that remind us about the open road. Belgian Crew (formerly Belgian Boys Club) has a hooded sweatshirt that moves beyond the realm of wash-n-wear.
I got my first lesson of ‘American’ fit when describing to a business suit store my disdain for the wide sides of button down shirts. His response was, “That’s American fit, where the sides poof out. [Slim fit] is where the sides of the shirt contour the body.” I told him I wanted Euro fit. I never understood the purpose of flappy flanks in business shirts or casual tops. Having the ‘American’ fit made me perceive myself as muffin topped without trying. The problem is hooded sweatshirts struggle with this design flaw as well.
I tried the Belgian Crew Hoodie on and had to remind myself I was trying on a piece of casual clothing and not a cycling jersey. The flanks of the hooded sweatshirt are cut appropriately to give a taller appearance. There is no extra fabric where unneeded. The zipper is of stout YKK design, one of those niche items on boutique garments meant to impress those in the know. Our black Belgian Crew Hoodie would certainly be an item to wear to the team meeting at the nearby pub. It’s stylish to relax in; it’s acceptable to wear out.
For the discerning cyclist the Hoodie has many feels of a cycling jersey. The hood lining is of single jersey. There are hard seams to remind one that it is a hooded sweatshirt, not a National Champion jersey. The garment comes down in a satisfying manner when aligned properly with the party kit. Though Belgian Crew states the Hoodie is 15% polyester, it feels much more than that as it moves with us. This is the hooded sweatshirt you have always looked for but never found until now.
Should you wonder what to wear to the next cyclocross season finale, or should you have started your Spring Classics manifest, the Belgian Crew Hoodie is an item to prioritize. With a low profile hood and ‘race cut’ fit, the Hoodie could be used in a pinch on colder cycling days. We could see it getting used during warm-up for E3, hockey lace drawstrings cinched to keep out the chill.
You might wonder why all the fuss over a hooded sweatshirt by a boutique cycling company, but that’s just it: This is the hoodie for the cyclist in your life. It is not a twenty-dollar throw away garment that hangs loosely and keeps warmth in for a couple of months. This is a hooded sweatshirt designed for the cyclist in mind. After a cold hard ride, this is what top cyclists will reach for when the bikes have been stowed and a glowing group rider states, “Anybody up for libations?” Having the Belgian Crew Hoodie waiting in the closet will make the transition from bike to brews that much easier.