To Hood or Not to Hood

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Hoodies, here’s a topic close to the heart of my 11 year old son. He loves them, and they are appropriate for him to be wearing, but how about when you’re 50. Are hoodies something that should be gracing your wardrobe?

OK, now this is just my opinion, and you are welcome to have your own, but to me, hoodies are for kids, not adults, unless you’re working somewhere that requires at hooded garment or you’re off to do some exercise. For most adults, they never wear the hood on their hoodie anyway, so what’s the point of having one?

Hoodies are a garment that is synonymous with youths who want to mask their face as they commit crimes, as seen in news footage on TVs all around the world. My question to you … is this something you want to communicate?

When to Wear a Hoodie
  • Hoodies – best for exercise – when you’re off on your morning run when it’s chilly before you’ve warmed up.
  • Hooded coats – great for people who spend time outside in the snow or cold – the more adult alternative to a hoodie sweatshirt.
  • Sweaters/Jumpers – there are so many beautiful ones out now that will keep you warm and way more stylish than a hoodie ever would.

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20 Comments

  • Hmm, I agree with you to an extent, but I love my two hoodies for more casual weekend wear, and I’m 30.

    At a fruit and vegetable market on the weekend, an older gentleman said in passing, “You look very smart; it’s so lovely to see a young lady wearing a nice outfit.”

    I thanked him but had to laugh–I was wearing knee-high boots, a pleated jersey skirt, a cotton scarf, and a knitted zip-up hoodie under a jean jacket. Honestly, it felt as comfortable as wearing pjs! On the other hand, my clothes were flattering and fit well. Rather than just throwing on jeans, trainers, and a hoodie, I’d put together a cohesive outfit.

    So here’s a thumbs-up for hoodies; they’re very functional for me. I prefer to wear mine layered under a jacket in spring or autumn, when the weather can’t make up its mind and varies wildly in temperature during the day. The hood does come in handy when it’s raining off and on all day and I want to do my errands without an umbrella (though I don’t keep the hood up indoors). I think a hood does less ‘damage’ than a hat to my wavy hairstyle as well.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on hoodies. Of course, you realise that the fact I get outfit compliments while wearing a hoodie is partly your fault, Imogen. It’s all thanks to your style advice! 😀

  • I think a hoodie can be OK to wear, but it will always be rather casual and sporty. My mum (56) wears them sometimes (with jeans) and it actually makes her look younger than she is. That coat above with that hood is actually more stylish than without it, in my humble opinion. Adds interesting detail, doesn’t it? But yes, on anything non-casual, like a proper jumper or pullover or knitted top, a hoodie would look out of place.

  • I have a few hoodies and they are definitely for casual wear. I like them with t-shirts and converse. I like the fun they add to an outfit, but they also are very handy for the cooler nights. I’m taking at least one glamping this weekend. Rachel x

  • I agree, best for workout wear & for appropriate outerwear, like a raincoat. In general I don’t like the added bulk of a hood. And they mess up my hair if I’m wearing my hair long. And on less expensive hooded garments the inside of the hood shows unfinished seams & the wrong side of the fabric, which is not a look I like!

    • I’ve obviously hit a nerve with my dislike of hoodies as an everyday garment – I just get so sick of seeing them everywhere, they often look sloppy and lazy, and on some women as they get older, like they’ve borrowed their children’s clothing.

  • Usually like most of your blog articles, but this made me and my office uncomfortable.

    Hoodies are popular and look great on both men and women and can look amazing with knee boots and skinny jeans when walking the dog on a frosty morning and on men with stylish trainers and jeans or sweatpants at the weekend.

    To have the responsibility of writing to a broad audience and state “hoodies are for kids…. hoodies are a garment that is synonymous with youths who want to mask their face as they commit crimes, as seen in news footage on TVs all around the world. My question to you … is this something you want to communicate?” is biased and a very unsuitable message to portray to women of any age.

    Maybe your article would have been more professional if you had just shown outfits with hoodies and alternatives to hoodies.

    • Sal, I didn’t say that you can’t wear them – I personally don’t love them for anything other than exercise and outdoor activities (or slouching round the house). I did say it’s my opinion, and the reality is, clothes all communicate messages, whether you’re aware of those messages or not. I did also provide ideas for alternatives. But I get questions about them from women who are in their 50s asking my opinion, and this is what I communicated. You can choose to disagree.

  • I am 56 and apart from no longer doing short skirts and spaghetti straps have not changed my wardrobe style since my 30’s. My shape has not really changed since then either but my face has. I love a good hood or hat of any type and think as you age it is about the jawline and the framing of your face by your hair. Mine is a short bob with a fringe (saves on sunscreen!). Choose a hood with plenty of height to avoid the teletubby face and consider that a little bit of fur, wooliness, texture or edging will enhance your face .

      • If you can’t find one create one! There are dozens of furry fabric trims available that you can stitch around the edge of any hood. It only needs a simple handstitch too. Voila you have a one-off that you love. In our crazy Australian climate we need lots of variance so a bit of velcro or a few press studs makes it removable too. Happy hunting…

  • Funnily enough I bought my first hoodie in Australia, when I was in my 40s. The sun went down and I was freezing in my casual day-time outfit, so we popped into a shopping centre where I spotted a pale blue very lightweight hooded fleece, which I still wear occasionally. My style is casual or occasionally chic casual (obviously the hoodie isn’t worn then!) though I don’t wear the hood up. I also have a winter jacket with a detachable fur-trimmed hood: I only wear it with the hood when it’s very cold or rainy and even then I rarely put the hood up. Luckily it’s not very cold and rainy much in Spain. By the way, I am ten years older than artroomer!

  • I dislike hoodies on sweatshirts and jersey zip jackets even on children! However, I love the fur trimmed hoods on my two gaberdine winter jackets. I agree with Imogen that they look like the wearer is trying to hide their identity whether or not they are committing any crimes. I guess that is what I associate them with, the CCTV image on the news of shoplifters or robbers holding up gas stations. My DIL always sends the grandchildren in their non hooded sweats to me because she knows how much I dislike them.

  • All the above … and also:
    the weight of a hood pulls the front of a garment up .. I’m always tugging back down.
    So all hoods are gone, except a good old sweatshirt.

  • I have to disagree with your opinion also, Imogen. I think there are some nicer hoodies, which add interesting shapes and lines. I have a hoodie which I wear for casual occasions where the hood helps create a flattering open V neckline.
    There are occasions where I want to be casual and stylish. In a rural area, casual and social can overlap, like at our county fair, community gardening activities, or farmers markets.
    Hoodies are casual, but I think you’re incorrect to dismiss outdoor casual to be incomparable with stylish or separate from everyday dress.

    I should also mention that you did hit an open nerve in your audience in the States. Conflating hoodies and criminal youth is thought to have contributed to the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. His death challenged our assumptions about dress and criminality, and transformed wearing a hoody to a protest act.

  • Thank you Melanie. Equating a hoodie with criminal activity is really inappropriate and is not a message that really needs to be perpetuated. Sad. A hoodie is a functional garment. I wear mine to actually stay warm.

  • I suppose it’s a matter of personal taste. I have one hooded jacket that I wear to and from the gym with my workout clothes. I would never wear it out or to do errands because I would feel frumpy. Same feeling that sneakers give me. However, my best friend wears hers daily and feels totally at ease with it.

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