A hoodie also spelt hoody, is a mysterious thing. If you’ve never owned one, you view them with deep suspicion, especially if the hoodie wearer is following you up the street on a dark night. On the other hand, once you’ve experienced the comfort, warmth and general usefulness of a hoodie, especially if you work outside or are an athlete, you cannot ever imagine living without one.
While it developed as a piece of warm up gear in the 1930s, it wasn’t until Hip-Hop took hold in New York in the 1970s that the hoodie became a fashion item, helped by the first Rocky film, where Sylvester Stallone single-handedly made the hoodie into the garment de jour. And by the 1990s, the skater or surfer hoodie was ubiquitous. However, in the UK, the hoodie was associated with chavs, criminal activity and out of control youth. It was banned from certain shopping centres and the term hoodie culture was viewed as marking out all that was bad in urban, disenfranchised, delinquent young men.
But since the Millennium, the hoodie has begun a process of rehabilitation, and now that London will host the Olympics 2012, hoodies are becoming not just acceptable but downright popular.
A great hoodie, like those produced by Fruit of the Loom, has a number of features: it will be comfortable, it will be heavy enough to feel warm but loose enough to allow easy movement and it will be soft and comfortable to wear. It may have a drawstring hood and a front pocket, or a zipper and two side pockets, but it will always fit snugly around the face to prevent earache or loss of heat through the head. And it will be easy to wash and wear. Given all its benefits, it’s good that the hoodie, or hoody is undergoing a renaissance, because as far as casual clothing goes, it’s definitely in the top ten for wearability.