Paean to the Hoodie

Enjoy this photo while it lasts, folks. When he catches it, Arnaud may make me take it down. Here Arnaud models an underlayer moisture-wicking sports hoodie under his puffer jacket. Lausanne, Switzerland, April 2019.

Enjoy this photo while it lasts, folks. When he catches it, Arnaud may make me take it down. Here Arnaud models an underlayer moisture-wicking sports hoodie under his puffer jacket. Lausanne, Switzerland, April 2019.

Hands down, the hoodie is the most important clothing item in any wardrobe. In fact, you don’t just need one—you need several.

Disagree if you’d like, yet I will prove you mistaken.

First, let’s define “hoodie.” In my definition, anything with an attached hood is a hoodie. Therefore, hoodies can be coats and jackets, sweatshirts, sweaters, t-shirts, athletic gear, and even capes. (Maybe even especially capes. Because capes.)

With that context, let’s review the reasons that that hoodies win the best-clothing-item contest:

So Arnaud isn’t the only one rocking a hoodie in this post (and with a goofy picture), here’s me in my hoodie in the Parc de Milan. The day looked sunny and warm, and it was, but I needed my hood up for the shady portions of the walk. Thank you, hoodie! Lausanne, Switzerland, April 2019.

So Arnaud isn’t the only one rocking a hoodie in this post (and with a goofy picture), here’s me in my hoodie in the Parc de Milan. The day looked sunny and warm, and it was, but I needed my hood up for the shady portions of the walk. Thank you, hoodie! Lausanne, Switzerland, April 2019.

  • There are hoodies to fit every style, mood, and personality. Swap out hoodies by the day to fit your form, function, and fashion of the moment.

  • Hoodies give you extensive temperature flexibility. Put the hood up for more warmth and put the hood down for less warmth. And if your hoodie has a full zipper, you can zip it all the way up, partway up, or not at all to moderate the warming effects. If you’re overheated, take the hoodie off—usually, people wear t-shirts or tank tops under their hoodies. (If you don’t, then please don’t exercise the take-it-off option.)

  • Hoodies protect you from grossness. With the hood up, your head can touch public spaces—seats, walls, wherever—without risking who-knows-what from other heads, hands, mouths, noses, or what-have-you. (Yuck.) And if people sneeze and cough around you, your hood at least deflects some of the airborne germiness (if you have it raised).

  • Hoodies help you sleep on planes. Hoodies tamp down the light, sound, and hubbub nicely. Put your hood up, rest your head against the seat or the side wall, and pass out. I’ve never slept better on planes as I have when I’m hoodied up.

  • When wearing a hoodie, you can leave home or office without an umbrella or hat. The hood, when raised, protects you from most inclement weather.

  • If you have an umbrella or hat and you have a hoodie, you have a weather-protection system: If you have a hat, put it on under the hoodie to help keep the rain out of your eyes and give you more peripheral vision by lifting the hood a bit. If you have an umbrella, put your hood up to keep the rain off your neck (and to stay warm and dry). If you have a hat and an umbrella and a hoodie, you have the trifecta: Put the hat on under the hood, put the hood up to keep warm and dry, and use the umbrella to shunt off most of the rain.

  • You can buy hoodies in all kinds of styles, weights, and fabrics. Wear light hoodies in the summer, to keep off the sun without adding heat, or as under layers for heavier hoodies to give you a tighter inner layer and a warmer outer layer for maximum warmth and temperature modulation in the colder months. Choose fabrics based on skin sensitivity, preference, or function (many athletic-wear hoodies feature all sorts of fancy fabric technology).

  • All hoodies are comfy. The heavier hoodies are snuggly. The lighter hoodies feel protective yet soothing, like summer pajamas (with more panache).

  • If you pair a scarf with your hoodie, you’ll have all the warmth you need. You can wrap it around your neck under the hoodie and tuck it in the front of the sweatshirt and you can wear it wrapped around the outside of the hoodie with the hood up. When your neck and head feel toasty, you’ll feel toasty—almost regardless of what other clothing you have on your body.

  • Hoodies keep away looky-loos. Sometimes, you want to be in the world without dealing with the world. Athletes use hoodies to keep their heads in the game and their faces away from prying eyes ahead of sporting events. Boxers most famously, sure. And swimmers. And tennis players. And so on. For the rest of us nonathletes, sometimes we want to move through the world without it seeing our pissed-off face or our sad face. Ever needed a good walk-and-cry? Hoodies to the rescue.

  • Hoodies are iconic. All sorts of characters and stories involve hoodies: Superheroes in hooded capes. The Grim Reaper (yeah, sorry). Little Red Riding Hood. Lots of monks. All the Jedi, even Yoda.

In sum: Hoodies make you feel secure. Hoodies have practicality. Hoodies send a fashion statement. And hoodies warm you while still letting you feel cool.

All hail the hoodie.