If You Just Buy One Item From Free People This Winter, Make It This Fleece
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If You Just Buy One Item From Free People This Winter, Make It This Fleece

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By now most of us on the Refinery29 Shopping Team have minimum one cult-favourite FP Movement jacket in our wardrobes. Let’s face it, Free People’s in-house and impressively eclectic activewear brand knows how to make some excellent outerwear — from convenient, packable puffers to relaxed button-up jackets. Our current fixation: the FP Movement Mountain High 1/2 Zip Fleece. And we’re not alone, this super soft half-zip fleece keeps selling out.

Why is it so popular? When it comes to embodying gorp-core vibes while still maximising cosiness, it’s hard to beat the Mountain High 1/2 Zip. Specs-wise, this £88 jacket is made with a supple fuzzy fabric, two deep, front pockets, a high neckline with the signature half-zip closure, a bottom drawstring hem and some sturdy nylon cuffs. In terms of style, this buy hits all of the trendy boxes: oversized fit, boxy silhouette and bold colour-blocking (its available in six different colour combos). Just like those other FP Movement staples we’ve already tested, this jacket quickly charmed its way into our lives, from winter workouts to running errands; but how does it measure up to the rest of the brand’s all-star offerings? Find out below as six R29 editors (and self-declared FP Movement experts) divulge our first impressions and honest opinions on this show-stopping fleece. Spoiler: there’s some mixed feelings about sizing, though we’re all unanimous in declaring — this is a winter essential.

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Free People Movement Mountain High 1/2 Zip Fleece, £88

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Shopping Team reviews

Esther tests the Mountain High 1/2 Zip Fleece in the Pacific Combo

“This is officially my new favourite winter fashion item — since arriving in the post, I’ve pretty much worn it every day, for wholesome countryside walks and less wholesome, feeling-like-I’m-going-to-die hungover bed-rotting. Though it’s not as thick as I anticipated from the photos online, it is just as comfy and super-soft as it looks and feels like wearing a blanket out and about. In fact, I’m glad it’s not as super thick as some other fleeces in my wardrobe. It means that it’s lightweight enough to be worn alone with PJs or loungewear whilst chilling at home, and is thin enough to easily be layered under a winter coat without me ending up looking (or feeling) like the Michelin Man.

“The colour combinations on offer are particularly stellar. I had a hard time deciding which to opt for, but am so glad I chose this forest green and salmon pink mixture. The pink details on the seams, zipper, sleeves and drawstring bubble hem combined with the drop-sleeve, cropped cut is so flattering on, especially on my 5 ‘2 petite frame. The best part though? The pockets! They’re surprisingly deep. I just wish these were zippered too to keep your phone, keys and wallet safe when on the go.

“In terms of sizing, I usually find Free People items a little large and so tend to size down. In this case though, I recommend sizing up. I’m a 14/16 and a size L offers the perfect roomy fit needed for extra layers underneath. A must since this fleece is on the lighter side and we head deeper into winter (or if you live somewhere particularly cold). Right now, for example, I found this fleece and a light puffer kept me plenty cosy on a Sunday afternoon walk.”Esther Newman, UK Affiliate Writer & Content Producer

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Karina tests the Mountain High 1/2 Zip Fleece in the White Combo

“FP Movement’s Mountain High 1/2 Zip Fleece was love at first feel the cosy sherpa fleece was positively cloud-like and plushier than most other fleeces I own (honestly, the fabric most closely resembles what your favourite sofa blanket is made of). I opted for the White Combo, which is giving major après-ski vibes. The half-zip neckline allows you to wear it open and be cool like that, or you can be snug as a bug and zip it all the way up — you choose your own adventure. Oh, and did I mention the pockets? They are capital-R roomy, and comfortably fit phone, keys, wallet and probably some emergency snacks as well. If you see me wearing it nonstop on and off the slopes this season, no you didn’t!” — Karina Hoshikawa, Senior Writer

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Victoria tests the Mountain High 1/2 Zip Fleece in the Pacific Combo

“First off, this colour combo is outrageous in the best possible way. I love the unique deep teal green and contrasting soft salmon pink, especially because it isn’t like anything else I own — but it will still easily pair with any of my jeans. The fleece is sooo supremely soft inside and out, as is the ‘puffy’ trim. I usually am between a medium and a large, but I ordered this piece in a size large for extra cozy-comfy vibes. I find it to be very oversized, especially with the dramatic zip-up neckline, so I could have definitely sized down, but I’m not upset about it, especially since I can cinch the waist with the drawcord.” Victoria Montalti, Associate Affiliate Writer

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Alexandra tests the Mountain High 1/2 Zip Fleece in Clay Combo

“I took a leap of faith and selected the Clay Combo. Free People models can pull off anything so I wondered if the neon green accents and earthy tan fabric would actually look cute IRL — specifically in a concrete jungle where dreams are made of and not a scenic mountain background (I live in NYC, FYI). It came in the post and looked exactly as it did on-site, not a smidge less bright. I was tempted to size up to a large because I wanted an exaggerated, oversized fit to match the vibe of the bold colours. Instead, I went for my usual medium as Free People never lies when it claims a garment is oversized. I’m very glad I did as it envelopes my frame exactly as I intended — boxy, loose on the shoulders and capable of hanging off my wrist if I prefer.

Okay, I love this fleece. Like some of my fellow editors mentioned, I can wear it indoors under a blanket, on my way to the gym with leggings and out on the town with friends. It’s an insanely versatile piece. This also makes it perfect for transitional weather as the half-zip lets your neck breathe when you please but completely bundles you up if you’re freezing. It’s also so soft, like Barefoot Dreams blanket soft.

I like to style it with more sporty and ski-like clothing — i.e. these cargo pants, some chunky boots and a beanie. You don’t have to go for this crazy colour way like I did but I definitely think you should add it to cart before winter. “Alexandra Polk, Affiliate Lifestyle Writer

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Vivien tests the Mountain High 1/2 Zip Fleece in Mid Atlantic Combo

“There are cuddle blankets, and then there are Free People’s Mountain High 1/2 Zip Fleeces. If you want to roll out of bed and head straight into a cosy and super-soft jacket, this is it. I’ve already declared it as my easy morning package pick-up, food delivery and errand outerwear. The bright blue adds a cheerful pop of colour to encourage me to start the day on a high.

When it came to sizing, I was surprised. For most Free People outerwear like the Hit The Slopes Fleece Jacket, I would opt for a medium for an oversized look. This time, I went with a size small to make it more fitted, and it ended up being pretty roomy. Since I have a longer torso than most people, at the end of the day I don’t mind. However, if you’re the opposite of me and have a shorter torso, one quick warning: the plushness of the jacket might engulf you.” Vivien Lee, Affiliate Fashion Writer

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Venus tests the Mountain High 1/2 Zip Fleece in Oxblood Combo

“This half-zip pullover checks so many boxes for me as a winter wardrobe staple. Layering up for the cold weather can sometimes feel cumbersome, but this fleece material is incredibly lightweight compared to any other sweatshirt I own. I feel toasty as soon as I throw it on almost like the garment has already been warming up on the heater for ages. The oversized fit is perfect for layering underneath, but it still looks smart thanks to the contrasting nylon seams. The piece has front zipped pockets, which is always appreciated and the bottom hem can be adjusted with a drawcord for a more cropped look. I’ve been getting such a Y2K kick from it, and I loved accessorising it with my other retro-inspired pieces, like light-wash denim, chunky sneaks and a bucket hat. I went for the oxblood and hot pink colour way, and it’s been the colourful item I reach for as a pick-me-up (and quick warm-up garment) when it’s cold and dreary outside.” Venus Wong, Senior Travel Writer

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