Hoodies, or hooded sweatshirts as they used to be known, were first developed for labourers but were soon picked up by the sports market. Spurred on by Rocky, the trend persisted but not before fashion designers had realised that hoodies were an extremely flexible item of clothing. For one, they could be made into a great symbol of isolation, ideal for the hip-hop crowd whose angry lyrics about their outsider culture meshed well with half-hidden faces.
Surfers and skateboarders, the self-consciously cool crowd who spend a lot of time outdoors catching waves or grinding curbs, are also keen hoodie wearers. They see the tops as practical and trendy, with funky slogans or quirky designs. Most Californian golden boys have at least one hoodie in their wardrobe and would be surprised at the amount of bad press that this item has received in Britain. Then there is the frat boy trend; the wearing of hoodies with university logos by students who take pride in their place of study.
Unfortunately, the criminal element still receives far too many column inches for their hoodie preference. Hoodies have been at risk of being ostracised for their association with unruly groups of men or intimidating criminals, but this hardly seems fair. Their history is long, varied and filled with happy customers. Even the Bluewater shopping centre, which banned people from wearing Hodded tops inside a few years ago, still continued to sell them. Despite Tony Blair's distaste for them, David Cameron balanced the political picture - even if Labour politicians derided his speech as 'hug a hoodie' propaganda.
But away from the froth of news and the raw edges of society are millions of ordinary men who do not want to carry an umbrella. After this year's terrible summer their attitude is quite understandable. Umbrellas are hopeless in winds and simply not very 'manly', unless you take John Cleese as a role model. Men's hoodies [http://www.topman.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?catalogId=17551&storeId=12555&categoryId=38978&parent_category_rn=60089&langId=-1&top=Y] are superbly practical, comfy and trendy.
A new line of fashionable designs have filtered down to the high street from the catwalk, featuring bright colours, original designs, retro prints, and - occasionally - no sleeves. They are the garment in which the comfort of sport and the desirability of fashion collide. Isn't it time that you hugged a hoodie?