April 12th, 2021


Hoodie Hooey

Greg Crosby

By Greg Crosby

Published December 12, 2014

This will not come as any kind of revelation to anyone, but clothing fashion has a propensity to come and go out of style. (You knew that, right?) I know this to be an absolute fact because I just happen to personally own several dozen articles of clothing that are so out of style, that to call them that would be an understatement akin to General Custer saying, "I think there might be a couple of friendly Indians over that ridge."

Fashion and my wardrobe have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

Whenever I hear "Oh you must wear this, it's all the rage," I want to run raging down the street. I never cared much about being "fashionable" after I got past eighth or ninth grade. Up to that time I admit I fell into the "I must fit in with the other kids" trap.

The whole social stigma of looking "different" was just too much pressure and I found it easier to conform to my peers. But I grew out of it, thankfully. Now I only look like me and the hell with my peers (which now would be senior citizens, and who wants to look like them anyway?).

There are two major problems with fashionable clothes: Problem one is, just when you begin to finally develop a liking for some particular style of clothing, the fashion gods decide to make it "out of fashion." Suddenly a look that yesterday made you appear so "with it" now makes you look like a shlump. Your friends shun you, children run in fear at the very sight of you, and certain high tone stores, restaurants, and hotels refuse you service. Beverly Hills may not even allow you out of your car.

But even if you are willing to endure all of that to wear yesterday's style, you better run right out and buy it all up because chances are it won't be available in the stores for very long. They have to make way for the new styles coming down the pike. (By the way, where is that pike that everything always comes down from?)

The other problem with fashionable clothes is that the really ugly stuff seems to never go out of style. Blue jeans came into fashion about, I don't know, maybe around the 1940's for kids and teenagers. It took a few decades for the adults to catch up with it, but then in the late sixties it caught on and it hasn't gone out of fashion since. Same goes with sneakers (or what is known today as athletic shoes).

Wear a hat and a pair of gloves and get laughed at. Put on a suit or dress for dinner and people look at you like you came from Mars. Wear a trench coat when it rains and get rude comments about how you look like a detective. But slip on sneakers and jeans at any time in any weather for any occasion and you're in with the in crowd.

Yep, jeans and sneakers have become de rigueur for everyman and woman for decades now. This look isn't going away anytime soon. But wait. Don't leave the house without the perfect top to the outfit and that would be the ever glamorous, all-purpose hoodie.

As stupid as I think the look is, it's the name "hoodie" that really drives me nuts. The thing is a hooded sweatshirt, or a hooded jacket, or a hooded whatever, so why not just call it that?

Hoodie sounds like a name you give it for a baby. You know, instead of saying to your two-year old, "Here Junior, it's cold out, so put on your hooded sweatshirt," you say, "Here, Junior, put on your wittle hoodie!"

Why not say, "Put on your pantsies, and your socksies and shoesies?"

The hooded sweatshirt originated in the 1930s for workers in cold New York warehouses. This had nothing to do with style; it just made sense back then as way to keep your head and neck warm while you worked.

But in the 1970s several factors contributed to its becoming a fashionable thing; Sylvester Stallone wore it in the huge blockbuster film, "Rocky," Hip hop culture embraced it, as did the criminal element who liked it because of the instant anonymity provided by the accessible hood and hidden pockets for stowing, well, anything.

Unabomber Ted Kaczynski was depicted wearing it in a FBI composite drawing and a reporter termed it a symbol of "cool anonymity and vague menace."

The hoodie became a garment for the seedy underclass, the gang bangers, the thieves, and the burglars, in short the costume for those who wanted to disguise their appearance.

No wonder it got so popular with teenagers, young people going through the most confusing, insecure time of their lives. At once they could be anonymous and cool at the same time!

Now we see EVERYBODY walking around in "hoodies," teens, toddlers, old people, it's a huge fashion statement.

Not for me. I'll never wear anything that sounds like a garment for wittle, itty babies.

Comment by clicking here.

JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. He's also a Southern California-based freelance writer.