How to wear 1/4 zips

How to wear ¼ Zips

Amon Fearon - February 08, 2023

If you’re looking for a new way to style yourself or try something different, a ¼ zip may initially have you reminiscent of vintage flair – the old pull overs and maybe even those ‘gentlemen’ vibes – and there is nothing wrong with vintage style! It’s back and its bigger than ever. However, the ¼ zip is an underdog in current apparel and is on its way to making a comeback and now, not only can ¼ zips be functional and look stylish, but times have moved to make them perfect for all occasions and for everyone.

Be they layered or going solo in your daily dress, if you’re looking to present yourself in the day as more relaxed or maybe go more formal, a ¼ zip is the way forward to looking effortless but chic. Our ¼ zips at Castore provide just some inspiration for your daily dress or fitness regime for uncompromised quality and performance.

Here’s everything we’re going to cover –

  • What is a ¼ zip?
  • What is the difference between ¼ zip and ½ zip?
  • ¼ zip vs full zip:
  • How to wear a ¼ zip


What is a ¼ zip?

There is no hard and fast rule on what length constitutes a quarter zip. Consider them as pullover tops that to unzip and descend from the upper neckline to a few inches beneath, almost reminiscent of a polo. It hasn’t gone unnoticed that there has been an influx in cropped styles, and this could have very well further promoted the ¼ zip style. The cropped top style allows for a ¼ zip to look in place where a half zip could turn the top into more of a jacket if it were to be used.

We can consider the ¼ zip as a revised classic, however, once an item that was typical for layering it is now not out of place as a key piece and standalone item.

From a functionality perspective, you can find ¼ zip across a vast range of activewear found to be ideal for their closer seat to the skin. Light weight styles with ¼ zips give you the opportunity to wear them under a jacket or coat or go for a higher neck if that’s all the extra comfort you need and still look stylish. The styles are coming out big and bold and making the leap forward into our everyday wear.


What is the difference between ¼ zip and ½ zip?

At this time, there is little to no adequate definition between the ¼ and ½ zip – they are used almost interchangeably in the fashion world - for now. However, we consider the difference quite clear. The chic ¼ zip will start out from the top of the neck and run to just above the chest, heading down the garment just a few inches - perfect for the colder months where just a little ventilation is needed and stops the feeling of restriction around the neck area.

The ½ zip is likely to proceed more towards the abdomen and sit below the breastbone. It is more possible that a t-shirt would be worn under this type of clothing to avoid the bare chest being revealed – under layers would be advised where this isn’t as necessary with a ¼ zip as they can be worn as an individual item.


¼ zip vs full zip:

The idea of the zip is as a mechanism to attach two edges of fabric. Most full zip items would be considered jackets, coats or even hoodies, but of course they are found on other items such as dresses.

In comparison to each other, a ¼ zip can be well defined from a full zip. A full zip, as the name suggest, reaches from the top to the bottom of the garment to separate the panels of a top or jacket - it changes the entirety of the clothing item. The ¼ zip stays neatly at the top of the apparel and just allows the little extra breathing space when needed.


How to wear a ¼ zip

In terms of functionality, the ¼ zip can be beneficial for a range of purposes especially for working out and fitness arrangements. The ¼ zip for women is a modest look whilst allowing for movement and ventilation around the neck for relief when exercising and the same can be said for the ¼ zip for men.  However, the ¼ zip has come a long way from just being functional and has delved into the realms of fashionable. Coming into the autumn and winter season is a great time for the extra protection around the neck when you’re outside in the drab weather and then easy relief of restriction when you head back inside to the warmth. When it comes to styling them, they really can work for fitness, casual or formal wear and have become incredibly versatile.

For men and women, the ¼ zip range now is so varied that there’s a multitude of ways to wear them for every day. There are some classic options found in vintage stores with bright, bold prints and colours or there’s the modern-day spin of block neutral or pastel tones if you’re after the chic street attire. Pair oversized versions of ¼ zip with shorts or cut offs which gives you that street edge as well as reminiscent vintage vibes. You can be playful with the colours on the top half and keep the bottom half simple with either neutral tones or dark navy and black.

If you’re heading into winter and wanting to keep warm, get a casual look but not with the dishevelled edge, then stock up on those basic plain white t-shirts to layer with your ¼ zip. These work so well, very simple and effective. The basic t shirt sit neatly under a ¼ zip top and can look trendy but casual – you’ll be thankful for the layering aspect too in this unpredictable climate. Consider a basic t shirt that has a high and tidy neck as this will be framed by the open ¼ zip. This ensemble can be paired with your standard jeans, leggings or shorts to stay casual. When choosing a casual ¼ zip top, you really don’t have to fear bold colours, an oxblood red or olive green are gorgeous tones heading into the winter months and subtly stand out. A simple white t-shirt layered underneath looks smart without looking too try-hard.

A co-ord set for working out is a stylish way to go for ladies in the gym or hitting the daily exercise routine. Matching pastel blues hues, flattering greys or standout burnt orange. Look the part and feel great in your workout with a ¼ zip lightweight, high neck fitted top with matching leggings or shorts. The unique fabrics at Castore are particularly high performing and moisture wicking for intense workouts. For a more casual look, consider wearing an oversized or bold pattered ¼ zip with fitted leggings. Long sleeved cropped top versions of sweaters and jumpers are very much everywhere, and we think a ¼ zip looks great on these bringing a little edge to a casual piece of apparel.

For men looking for a more formal approach, the ¼ zip jumper is a fantastic layering piece and goes well with a shirt neatly tucked under. The trick with this look is to wear a shirt with a stiff or well supported collar and ensure it is visible through and open ¼ zip. Don’t let this look down with anything less than structured trousers or chinos – jeans or jogging bottoms will not exude the formal look with a shirt and jumper alone. If you’ve gone for a darker ¼ zip jumper as your layered piece then be brave with lighter colours on the bottom half, the contrast will stand out and look sharp. Go with creams and light greys. Vice versa, if you have gone for a lighter jumper on the top half, navy or dark trousers will bring an edge to your formal look.

Final words on the ¼ zip. It really is a versatile piece that can be utilised in several areas. In fitness, it brings the best for ventilation, moisture wicking materials and general comfort. For casual wear it can help bring out the bold colours and comfortable look while remaining stylish. In formal wear it can boost the layering aspect to look chic with a stiff collar shirt. What’s important to remember is that the fit is everything, the more fitted the ¼ zip top, the less relaxed the look is going to be so decide how sharp or casual you want your style and take it from there. If you’re truly wanting casual – go bigger and get comfier.