The hood - so very functional, comfortable, mysterious and old ... How did it originate and what is the phenomenon of its sustainability, if it has evolved through the centuries and is still worn?
The hood, of course, is just a part of the garment and is closely related to it. For example, a jacket with a hood, a coat with a hood ... I decided to look into the twists and turns of the history of the hood in order to explore in more detail the secrets of one of my favorite garments.
What Is Behind The Name?
Hood as an option for head covering and the word itself indicate etymological roots in Old English word "hod" - a hood which has been described as a soft covering for the head. With the addition that this head covering usually was extending over the back of the neck and often has been attached to a garment. The word comes from
Proto-Germanic "hōd" which has a traceable link to source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian "hod", Middle Dutch "hoet", Dutch "hoed", Old High German "huot ", German "Hut", Old Frisian "hode"(guard, protection). [6.]
As we can see, the hood is another variant of the headgear, which is most often connected with a cloak or coat. A modern jacket with a hood or hoodie has also emerged from here. The name hoodie originated in the 90's of the 20th century, also referring to today 's style of clothing typical of the street style.
Function, Evolution Of Style and Symbolism
Since ancient times, the hood has been used as a practical, protective headgear, worn by itself or attached to a cloak. Protection from rain, wind and cold has played a key role, both in Western European fashion and in the traditional clothing of people in the Arctic.
However, as it turns out, the hood has also been used to hide identity, emphasize modesty, indicate belonging to the community, as well as emphasize isolation from the outside world. "Most of the ancient civilizations wore such hoods, either separately or attached to a cloak as, for example, the Roman cucullus [...], which was handed down for medieval monastic use." [4.] The hoods of the monastic communions can be considered as typical features of the medieval cultural space, as they contributed to the spread of the headdress also in the context of fashionable expressions. Since then, wearing of the hood has been improved both for functional reasons and in the direction of extravagance.
The hood, which was buttoned or tied to the neck, was supplemented with a short cloak, becoming an expression of fashionable clothing. D. Yarwood writes that, "in the fourteenth century the point on top began to lengthen into a padded sausage which hung down the wearer's back. " [4.] It was a peculiar pod (called liripipe) with which one could experiment and create amazing new headgear style variations. It was tailored to fit the head and shoulders and was called a gugel (from "hut" (hat)) in medieval Germany. It is worth to mention that from about 1360's variations of a German hood was also worn in other countries of Europe. In France it was called a chaperon and cappucio in Italy.
It should be noted that the chaperon headgear underwent new transformations in the following centuries. "By the 1420s a more formal arrangement evolved. The chaperon, the name given to the hood and shoulder cape combined, was re-designed so that it was no longer necessary to re-drape the material each time that it was donned. Now the part set upon the head was made up into a padded roll, a bourrelet or as it was later termed, a roundlet." [4.] As can be seen from the development of this headgear in the coming years, such bourrelets were extremely popular in medieval Europe, and later evolved into variations of big hats.
During the first half of the 16th century various styles of hood formed new and fashionable headgear. They were mostly wire-framed /gable hats that strangely merged with shape of the hood and were worn by women belonging to the European courts.
In the 17th century, hoods were more typical of women's clothing when they were traveling and going out. Such hoods could be part of a longer or shorter cloak, but there were also those worn separately. Individual wearable hoods were tied with cords under the chin. In addition to the functional hoods, there were also fashionable hoods made of black silk fabric with a contrasting colored lining.
The Origins of Hoodie
If the hood together with the cape has a very long history, then the hoodie is a seemingly new garment, the main element of which - the hood, however, has remained unchanged. However, looking at the history of medieval monk's clothing, one has to conclude that the clothing item with an attached hood is not as new as it might seem at the first sight.
In medieval Europe, monks' clothing always had a hood that allowed them to distance themselves physically and mentally from the secular world. In addition, the hood also has a deep religious contextual significance. At the same period hooded cape was very commonly worn by workers who did their job outdoors. As writes James Robinson Planché in "A Cyclopedia Or Dictionary of Dress, Including Notices of Contemporaneous Fashions on the Continent" (1876), hooded cloaks appearance was known in England at least as early as the 12th century. Author notes that it was possibly in England by the Norman conquerors as a short hooded cloak was very widespread clothing item in Normandy. [ 3.]
Hooded garment again appeared during the 18th century as a Brunswick gown. It was a two-piece woman's gown of the middle of the century. The Brunswick consisted of a hip-length jacket with attached hood. The jacket was worn with a matching petticoat. [7.]
The hooded sweatshirt that is so very well known nowadays originated in the USA during the 1930's. Such hoodie was very popular among workers of warehouses.
In the 1970's, the hoodie's popularity boosted Hip Hop culture, fashion designer Norma Kamali, who raised the style of sportswear to the status of modernity, hoodie's iconic appearance in the blockbuster Rocky. Increasing popularity of hoodies among Geek culture also appeared at this time.
In fashion terminology, the word "hoodie" appeared in the 1990's, along with the multi-layered symbolism of social exclusion, isolation and various factors related to the dressing style of youth and subcultures. As a high-profile garment, it is associated with its appearance in the collections of Tommy Hilfiger, Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren during the 1990's.
In terms of popularity of the hoodie, nothing seems to have changed in the 21st century.
References & Further Reading:
1. Baumgarten L. What Clothes Reveal: The Language of Clothing in Colonial and Federal America. - Yale University Press, 2002.
2. Ribeiro A. Dress in Eighteenth Century Europe 1715–1789. - Yale University Press, 2002.
3. Robinson Planché J. A Cyclopedia of Costume Or Dictionary of Dress. - Chatto and Windus, 1876.
4. Yarwood D. Illustrated Encyclopedia of World Costume. - Dover Publications Inc., 2011.