• Tom Boyd

Better Than A Tie?

Two years ago, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, shocked Wall Street when he wore a “hoodie” to pitch the IPO of his company to Wall Street. The financial community thought it was inappropriate–never mind that he was following a time-honored tradition of young tech entrepreneurs slumming down dress codes.

Remember how Steve Jobs, founder of Apple and now a god in the pantheon of entrepreneurs, also raised eyebrows when he first presented new products wearing blue jeans and black turtlenecks?

Going casual is a long-term trend in workplace dress.

But hoodies are different somehow. Hoodies are not just informal–they have multiple personalities. Monks wear them, so we associate hoods with humility and piety. Hoods are also practical. Parkas have hoods to protect us against the freezing cold, and sweatshirts have hoods that can be conveniently whipped on and off to protect athletes and laborers against the elements.

On the other hand, hoodies also have an element of menace. They conceal identity and intent. Criminals, after all, are sometimes called “hoods.”

So, can hoodies ever become acceptable in the highest circles of social activity? Apparently they just have. This week, The Wall Street Journal declared: “The hoodie is having a fashion moment–one that may be long lasting enough to make the garment a wardrobe staple.” Yikes, a staple? Here’s one more reason for me to feel, um, out of date. I think hoodies are great while patching the roof or fixing the car but not great in the office or a dinner party.

But now, apparently, designers are embracing hoodies. Vuitton, Givenchy, Burberry, Duckie Brown (whoever that is), and Bruno Cucinelli, to name just a few, all have new fashion hoodies. The Journal even offers how-to-wear advice for hoodie fans.

For example, choose a merino wool or cashmere hoodie to go with a jacket, and button-up hoodies are more formal than zipper ups.

OK, how much is this trend gonna cost me? Well, Bergdorf is selling a 12-ply cashmere Cucinelli hoodie for $2,535.00.

Umm, no thanks. The best thing about the Journal announcing the arrival of hoodies in haute establishment circles is that millions of teenagers will now have to abandon them. As for me, if a designer ever comes out with a “parenthoodie,” I’ll take two.

Peter Nulty Editor, Wells Fargo Daily Advantage

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