Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Great Fleece Ideas for Winter

This week marks the official start of winter and that means it’s the peak season for branded polyester fleece products. Fleece jackets, pullovers and vests make great promotional gifts for the simple reason that they get worn – regularly – by the people who receive them. Fleece has many of the same properties of wool, but at a much lighter weight making it great for layering when heading outside, or for taking away the chill of a cold indoor environment such as an office or warehouse.

This fabric was created in 1979 by Malden Mills and called Polarfleece®, but didn’t really hit mainstream until the early 90’s. Once the Asian market jumped into it, prices dropped and the fabric soared in popularity in the promotional products industry.

Today there are all kinds of polyester fleece products to choose from and the fabric is even incorporated into winter outerwear jackets to provide insulation and wind resistance.

Read on for some specific polyester fleece products that provide great value for dollars spent.

Columbia Sportswear Fleece

This brand has undergone a bit of a restructuring within our industry as they’ve changed distribution partners and also swapped out some styles. The fact that they’ve affiliated with Sanmar – in my mind our industry’s strongest clothing wholesaler -- to me is a very positive development. Columbia is known for its outstanding quality and I think that with Sanmar’s assistance, we’re going to see lots of fresh and innovative Columbia products available for co-branding going forward.

Case in point:

Columbia Western Trek Pullover

Brand new this year, this lightweight pullover is made with 270 gram, microfleece. It features a zippered chest pocket, zippered hand warmer pockets and an open hem and cuffs. It also has the embroidered Columbia logo located on the right chest for maximum branding reinforcement, while your organization’s logo goes on the left chest. In my opinion, no organization can ever go wrong by associating themselves with Columbia Sportswear.

Cost for the Western Trek (embroidered): $47.38 (12 pc. price)

Columbia Women's Fern Creek Vest

The perfect layering piece for extra warmth. It’s made with 360 gram MTR fleece for maximum thermal retention. This item has been in the Columbia line for a long time, which means it’s a proven top seller. The men's version that's pictured pictured to the left is the Cathedral Peak Vest.

Cost (embroidered): $34.72

Evolution Bonded Microfleece Jacket

(Charles River Apparel)

This item is a personal favorite as I’ve received great feedback from clients who have ordered them in the past. Available in men’s and women’s styles, these jackets are made from two layers of microfleece bonded together. This creates added warmth without bulk and also knocks down icy winter winds.

The outer layer of this fleece is very smooth making for a stylish look. These also feature open cuffs and hem with zippered pockets and even a hidden inside pocket to store valuables.

Cost: $44.77


Viking Fleece Pullover

(Tri Mountain Apparel)

This is a typical good quality mass market fleece, a core industry item that’s been around for close to 20 years. But what makes it stand out, in my mind, is the range of sizes that it comes in. Got someone in your organization who’s really big? You can order these in

size 6XL. They also have a full range of Tall sizes as well as lots of color choices. The Viking is made of 10.5 oz panda fleece and provides plenty of warmth, plus it holds up over the long haul
Cost: $33.47

If you would like to check out samples of any of these items, just drop me an email.