When we think of wearing a fleece, we often think of being lazy at home in something that gets overly worn or a super-technical upper to go under your waterproof jacket when hiking. Neither is flattering, and you probably wouldn't be seen dead in it. Finding a women's fleece that is comfortable and looks suitable to wear in public can be challenging, to say the least.
This is where the Awaken Recycled Sherpa Full Zip Fleece steps into the limelight and is almost everything you need for an outdoor fleece. If you want more advice and recommendations on mid-layers, check out our best fleece jacket guide, where we have rounded up our favourite fleeces from brands we love.
Passenger Awaken Recycled Sherpa Full Zip Fleece review
Passenger Awaken Recycled Sherpa Full Zip Fleece review: price and availability
The women's only Awaken Recycled Sherpa Full Zip Fleece is available directly from Passenger UK, Passenger US and Passenger AU for the price of £199.95/ $149.95/ AU$ 219.95. The brand offers worldwide shipping from its base in the UK.
The fleece is only available for women, though there are many other great fleeces for men at Passenger. The Awaken Recycled Sherpa Full Zip Fleece is available in two colourways: washed blue, which is the one I tried and biscuit. Sizewise, the fleece is available from an XS (Bust 32-33inch) and (waist 26-27ich) to an XXL (Bust 42-43inch) and (Waist 34-36) inches.
It's good to bear in mind that Passenger generally fits on the oversized side. I would usually go for a medium in a fleece, but I was recommended a small (I am a UK10) and 5,10” tall, and it fitted me perfectly whilst still retaining that oversized chunky style.
Passenger Awaken Recycled Sherpa Full Zip Fleece review: design and build quality
Upon receiving the fleece, I was very impressed with the look and feel of the product. This is a real lifestyle fleece, and it's to be worn as an outer layer, though you could potentially put a large, thin waterproof shell on the top if needed. The washed blue colour is a really different pigment, and the soft grey jersey cotton inside is a lovely contrast if you were to wear the fleece open.
I am also a big fan of jersey cotton and how soft it feels. The fleece sports two very large front pockets, which are fleecy inside. The Awaken is a full-zip, almost jacket-style garment, with the breast having a vertical, corduroy-looking effect, featuring a branded woven label on the left-hand side.
The cuffs are ribbed, which helps minimise the cold getting in. The Awaken Recycled Sherpa Fleece is made with recycled polyester as well as being vegan friendly and using organic materials only.
What I really love about this brand is that they plant a tree for every order they process, which might sound like a gimmick, but the brand says they have been doing this from the start and plan on keeping this up no matter what. Passenger focuses on "putting sustainability at the heart of all their products."
Passenger Awaken Recycled Sherpa Full Zip Fleece review: performance
There's never been a better time to test the Passenger Awaken Recycled Sherpa Full Zip Fleece than now; with the cold, crisp weather finally reaching the UK, it's nice and dry to head out.
Living in the southwest of the UK, we had some seriously wet spells over Christmas, and I was starting to get cabin fever, so when the temperature dropped, the rain stopped, and the sun started to shine, I was the first one outside to reconnect with nature.
The first time I wore the Passenger Awaken Recycled Sherpa Full Zip Fleece was on a day out in Cardiff when the temperature was 5 degrees Celsius. I wore a long-sleeved T-shirt and a thin jumper with the fleece as an outer layer. The oversized style meant I could layer underneath without feeling restricted.
I felt stylish but comfortable and warm, which is how we all want to feel in the colder days. I will say that I was starting to get a little cold towards the end of the day, but I do feel the cold more than others, so it could just be me.
On my outings in the Passenger Awaken Recycled Sherpa Full Zip Fleece, I noticed that the lack of an adjustable hem made my mid-section feel a bit cold. I'm considerably tall, which means it might just be a tall person problem, but it's something to keep in mind before you buy.
As mentioned above, I was recommended a small model due to the oversized nature of the Awaken Fleece. I wonder if a medium or even larger model would be sufficiently long. They would probably be too big on the arms, though, not to mention they would also feel too baggy.
Long story short, an adjustable, non-butterfly-cut hem would probably improve comfort levels. Maybe Passenger should launch a tall version? Just thinking out loud.
Passenger Awaken Recycled Sherpa Full Zip Fleece review: verdict
As far as lifestyle fleeces go, the Passenger Awaken Recycled Sherpa Full Zip Fleece is an excellent product from an environmentally friendly brand. I love all the design details and the comfort it provides in the forever-changing weather.
Come springtime, I can imagine I'll be wearing the Awaken fleece all the time and feel instantly warm. Thanks to the full-zip approach, temperature regulation is spot-on, not to mention how cosy it feels!
Overall, the Passenger Awaken Recycled Sherpa Full Zip Fleece is a brilliant fleece based on style, wearability, sizing options and price. Highly recommended!