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Fleece is one of those materials that works in three seasons, from cool fall days to balmy days in winter to chilly spring mornings and evenings. Add in overly air-conditioned buildings in summer, and the fleece jacket becomes a year-round garment. A Fleece jacket also works wonderfully as a base layer to bulk up a winter coat. Fleece jackets transcend the gamut of activities, too, from hitting the trails to hitting play on the remote. You’re not going to regret getting a fleece jacket—the challenge is in the choosing.

Whatever you choose, heed the manufacturer’s care instructions for washing. Using the proper detergent, water temperature, and drying method allows fleece to live its longest, softest life.

Dokotoo

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If you want your fleece to be able to stand in as a winter coat, make sure it has a hood. In less extreme weather, A larger hood can even do double duty as a scarf.

Amazon

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Functionality in a fleece has to do with fabric and pockets and thumb holes and hoods, but it also has a lot to do with bulk. If you’re looking for your fleece to be your top—or only—layer, go big or go home. But if you want it to fit underneath a coat, keep things trim. Pay particular attention to the shoulders and arms of both the jacket and coat. Those tend to have the least maneuverability, and a misalignment of bulk and space can make the whole idea a no-go.

The North Face

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For outdoors wear—whether that means hiking or walking the dog—not all pockets are created equal, and you’ll want to consider closure, zip or otherwise. If you’re lounging on the couch, your phone falling out is no big deal. But if you’ll be out and about, and relying on pockets to hold your essentials, make sure your jackets pockets can be buttoned or zipped shut.