This post appeared first in The Finger Lakes Times (NY), in the weekly series, “Denim Spirit.” http://www.fltimes.com/opinion/denim-spirit-an-ode-to-hoodie-season/article_0bf995a2-10a0-5357-8f03-ec7bf527e70f.html
In the style of spare poetic speech befitting the northern-most reaches of Vermont where he lives, a friend calls autumn “stick season.” Such a frugal graphic matches the more widely recognized term up there for spring, “mud season.”
While stick season is apt, I prefer the moniker, hoodie-time.
With an excitement akin to the dawning of spring, when tender green shoots poke out from buds on branches and shrubs for the first time, autumn’s delightful crisping of the air sends me running to the closet for my favorite hoodie. Even now, long into a post-hair stage of life, a well-worn hoodie is more than the mere comfort of an old shoe, it is practical also. A hairless pate simply gets colder than does the poor noggin that still requires coiffing.
There is something about pulling on a hoodie in defense against a bracing chill, that feels like home. A worn cotton hoodie says comfort even more than faded jeans or beat up old sneakers. That first day of fall when suddenly a tee-shirt or polo isn’t enough, pulling out that hoodie from the place you tucked it away last spring, is a special category of pleasure.
I often wonder what the dog thinks as she waits for me to envelope my feet in socks, and then tie them up in plastic and leather shoes each morning for her walk. She who delighted in our ten below zero walks under the stars in Vermont, not an iota of trepidation or danger, must look with pity or scorn down her long proboscis as I now slither into a hoodie – and a raincoat too, depending on the weather.
Credit for the first hoodie goes to the Knickerbocker Knitting Company (now Champion) back in the 1920’s, who made them for athletes and laborers to keep warm. Of course, a nice Medieval chain mail coif looks a lot like a mesh hoodie cut away from its sweatshirt. On those very cold nights when senseless canine requires a squat in the snow, pulling on a hoodie to go underneath a fluffy down coat feels a bit like donning armor.
Someday, from a station a thousand years down the tunnel of time, they will find a well-preserved body whose family buried him or her in a favorite hoodie. The brightly colored, thick cotton fabric will cause those anthropologists of the future to imagine the deceased was extremely well-loved, and perhaps socially significant; a celebrity even.