Cats are having a “moment” right now in menswear, and we’re officially calling the abundance of cat-themed sweaters, sweatshirts and hoodies for men a genuine micro-trend. In the past, menswear designers preferred more traditionally masculine and “safe” themes and patterns like checks, paisley, plaids and graphic prints. However, over the past few seasons, menswear fashion designers have really started to flex their artistic muscles and began to add non-traditional fabrics and patterns such as floral and brocade. It’s part of a larger trend toward unisex clothing, which we’re seeing with womenswear, too.
Like a lot of recent menswear trends, Gucci is at least partially responsible for the sudden popularity of cat sweaters for men. Just check out the brand’s popular pink cat sweatshirt, which was a popular sight during the Fall-Winter 2020 fashion season.
The Fall-Winter 2019-2020 fashion season saw menswear designers using a brilliant array of colors, wild prints, oversized florals, portrait style sweaters and loads of glitter. Those shows were the last time fashion houses had an audience, of course. Since the pandemic, menswear designs have been more muted as most of the world is on a fashion pause due to COVID-19. What did stand out at the recent menswear fashion shows in Paris? More brilliantly oversized floral prints and cat print t-shirts at Loewe. Fuzzy Dior sweaters in offbeat combinations like pink, yellow and red (all used in one item) with a distorted animal on the front. We also saw plenty of oversized graphics inspired by manga and Saturday morning cartoons.
Basically, we’ve got a brilliantly colored season ahead of us where a joyous riot of prints, colors and unusual combinations can brighten up our closets. So, how did we end up with a ton of cat-themed sweaters for men?
What is a micro-trend?
The simplest explanation for a micro-trend is that it’s a trend that slowly and quietly rolls out without anyone noticing that it’s happening, and then suddenly, you’re seeing it everywhere. Some micro-trends stay at a low heat before fading away, but some micro-trends become an enduring menswear trend and fashion fixture. Case in point: the revival of Adidas Stan Smith sneakers. It started as a slow drip, and then suddenly everyone was wearing these popular Adidas sneakers.
So, cat sweaters?
Menswear designers have long used animal motifs — Lacoste’s alligator, Gucci’s lion, Ralph Lauren’s teddy bear, Vineyard Vines’ whale, Pyscho Bunny’s bunny, Le Coq Sportif’s rooster, and so on. Those animals are usually portrayed with a dose of classic masculinity. House cats, on the other hand, are a bit twee. Womenswear has mined cutesy animals and animal prints since forever. Sanrio’s Hello Kitty is popular with women of all ages, and that company’s made a hefty fortune with its adorable feline mascot.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how, why or where a micro-trend starts. Cat-themed sweaters for men might be traced back to the motif sweaters seen at the Ami, Etro and Lanvin shows for Fall/Winter 2020, and these cartoonish images could have set the launching pad for the cat sweaters of 2021. As more menswear designers revel in using non-traditional menswear fabrics and prints, that factor could also have assisted in this burgeoning feline fantasia. Certainly, Gucci’s limited edition Doraemon sweatshirt was an important moment for this trend, and now other designers are working graphic printed cats into their designs this season.
The thing about micro-trends like this is that sometimes they come out of nowhere. In all likelihood, a handful of different designers, all with a different point of view, came out with cat-themed items in a rare moment of synchronicity, which then sparked other copy cats. That is the only explanation that I can think of as to how we suddenly have cat sweaters and sweatshirts in a variety of price points.
So if you like being ahead of the fashion pack, or enjoy the company of a cat or two, scroll on down and find a cat-themed sweater or sweatshirt to call your own. There are certainly plenty of men’s cat sweaters to choose from right now.
1. Doraemon x Gucci Sweatshirt for Men
“This cotton sweatshirt is part of a special collaboration between Doraemon and Gucci. Born on September 3rd, 2112, a cat-type robot was sent from the 22nd century to help a young boy called Nobita with secret gadgets from his four-dimensional pouch. A playful character, Doraemon hates mice and loves Dorayaki, a sweet pancake.” American audiences might not be super familiar with Doraemon, a Japanese manga character, but that’s going to change thanks to the popularity of these Gucci cat sweatshirts, which are available in gray and beige.
2. Gucci Cashmere Turtleneck With Cat Patch
Seemingly out of nowhere, Gucci started placing small embroidered cats on shirts and really big graphic print cats on sweatshirts. The fashion house recently took their classically designed cashmere turtleneck sweater and gave it a feline twist. Chic and slightly subversive, like all things Gucci, the cashmere turtleneck sweater for this season has a tiny black cat sauntering towards the hem. If you’re looking for a subtle way to show the world that you’re following the cat micro-trend, this is the place to start.
3. Victor Li Embroidered Cat Crew Neck Sweater
Menswear fashion designer Victor Li’s clothing, while not strictly considered unisex, is worn by both men and women. A cat owner, his cotton/merino blend sweater is an homage to Mei Mei, a Pixie-Bob cat that rules his home. Her silhouette is embroidered in a flat stitch across the chest, while her eyes and nose are done in a raised French knot. Long after the trend fades, this will still be a stylish sweater to wear from season to season.
4. SHEIN All Over Cat Pattern Sweater
SHEIN’s a fast fashion brand that consistently creates up-to-the-minute styles at affordable prices and are made well. As an aside, I ordered a couple of pullovers and was really pleased with how they fit and look. If you’re looking to up your sweater rotation, and want to get in on the cat sweaters for men trend, then this cartoon-style graphic crew neck sweater will work well for you. (By the way, a cluster of cats is called a clowder.) It has garnered plenty of five-star reviews on the site for comfort, style and warmth. Try it with dark jeans and Chelsea boots.
5. NewChic Men’s Contrast Knit Cartoon Cat Pattern Sweater
NewChic’s another fast fashion brand that almost seems prescient on what the next big thing’s going to be, and they turn around and serve it up quickly to their customers. Case in point, this two-toned heather cotton sweater is accented with a trio of appliqued cat faces on front. Cut in a relaxed fit, this modern styled sweater could be worn with corduroy pants and workboots.
6. Gucci Logo Hoodie With Cat
BEST GUCCI CAT SWEATSHIRT
Here’s another Gucci cat hoodie that’s still available — and awesome. The beige hoodie has a cartoon cat emblazoned across the chest and positioned to partially block the brand’s logo. Made in Italy, the hoodie has ribbed cuffs, a waistband and an adjustable drawstring hoodie. Try it with joggers, track pants, or jeans and sneakers.
7. Jaywoon Cat Patterned Sweater
Southern Koren music groups like BTS, EXO and the like are influencing streetwear styles across the globe. South Korean brand Jaywoon perfectly encapsulates this trend with their colorful oversized cat sweater. Pair this oversized baggy yellow cat-themed sweater with slim jeans or track pants for athleisurewear style. It has a solid back and it also comes in black or gray.
8. À La Garçonne Cat Print Hoodie
BEST ROCK INFLUENCED
French brand À La Garçonne designs men’s and womenswear with a mix of street style and touch of vintage flair, which could be a nod to their name, as Garçonne means “flapper.” The cotton-blend hoodie is oversized with kangaroo pockets and a drawstring hood. Try it with Doc Martens and distressed jeans.
9. GCDS Cat Logo Print Hoodie
BEST UPSCALE STREETSTYLE
GCDS means “God Can’t Destroy Streetwear.” The Italian-based brand has a cheeky sense of humor; they’ve created Rick and Morty, Gremlins, and Tom and Jerry cartoon-themed capsule collections. Now the brand has turned its artistry to cats and created an oversized hoodie that is long on comfort and style. Their oversized hoodie has a ribbed waist, cuffs and an oversized hood.
10. SHEIN Cat and Letter Pattern Sweater
70s print sweaters and shirts were often a mix of stylized drawings that were combined with phrases or words in a repetitive pattern. SHEIN’s roomy sweater captures that decade’s style ethos perfectly. Because the sweater’s colors are neutral hues, it can be paired with either dark or light-colored jeans or cords.
11. Coriresha Colorblock Cat Unisex Sweatshirt
BEST POP ART INSPIRED
This unisex oversized printed sweatshirt is a little bit grunge revival and a little bit pop art in its aesthetic. It echoes what’s been strolling down the runways but at a much more affordable price tag. Made in a cotton blend, this sweatshirt could be layered over a long sleeve tee or under a puffer vest. It would also look on-point with painter’s pants and Converse low-tops.
12. NewChic Cat and Fish Patterned Sweater
If you like your fashion with a shot of tongue-in-cheek humor, you might want to invest in this cotton, relaxed fit, slightly nautical style sweater. Embroidered on the chest is a small, embroidered fish, and on the back, there’s a hungry cat peeping out from the hem.
13. Black Cat Peeking Hoodie
BEST CLASSIC HOODIE
This lightweight unisex hoodie designed by artist Lukasz Czyzewski showcases a classic graphic print. Made with French terry for extra comfort and breathability, it has kangaroo pockets, ribbed cuffs, a waistband and a drawstring hoodie.