Today, the high in my California desert town is a sizzling 109 degrees, or tank-top weather for most. My personal reaction to the forecast, however, was, “Ah, what a perfect day to don a hoodie.”
While I dabble in fashion, my chief concern when rummaging through my closet every morning is protecting my fragile skin from the humongous sky fireball, and hoodies certainly provide plenty of coverage. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer worldwide, and I do my absolute best to escape becoming a statistic. Moreover, I actually enjoy being a pale, goth daddy.
I admit, my situation is somewhat unique: My body is entirely covered in black tattoos, and as you may know, the color black absorbs sunlight and therefore heat. Thus, for me, wearing a hoodie — and being protected from the sun — can sometimes be cooler than wearing nothing at all. Furthermore, consistent sun exposure fades tattoos, and I want mine to stay crisp for as long as possible.
Now, you might be thinking, “Just wear sunscreen, bro!” I do apply sunscreen on my neck and face each morning, but wearing a sweatshirt is much easier (and cheaper) than lathering my whole body on a daily basis. Not to mention, too much sunscreen can damage your skin if not removed properly and rigorously.
All of which is to say, I deeply understand why thousands of internet adventurers felt inclined to defend themselves in a Reddit thread about people who wear hoodies during summer that popped up over the weekend.
Not every hoodie devotee has the same rationale as I, though. For some, hoodies deliver a deep sense of comfort and ease, heat be damned. “To me, hoodies, specifically oversized ones, are like giant blankets you can walk around in, and it’s entirely socially acceptable,” says Aretha, who wears hoodies all summer long. “Why wouldn’t you want that comfort all year round? They also look pretty great with shorts, and if my legs aren’t warm, in my head, that compensates for my arms being warm. Therefore, enough of my body is being cooled to avoid discomfort. There may be very little fact in that, but in my head, it makes sense.”
Jonathan, another hoodie junkie, seconds this sentiment, adding that hoodies provide more than just physical comfort; they administer emotional comfort, too, similar to that of a weighted blanket. Research shows that weighted blankets — and also hoodies, going by this logic — encourage the release of serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters that make us feel more relaxed, a highly coveted feeling in today’s increasingly panicked world.
Others sport hoodies during summer for more utilitarian reasons. Hoodie extremist Niki says she wears them primarily for the large front pockets, since clothes designed for women tend to be lacking in that respect. A commenter in the Reddit thread agrees, writing, “Women’s clothing is so stupid. The pockets are typically too shallow to fit anything useful. Also, when a dress has pockets and I carry things in them, the items in my pocket hit against my legs when I walk. Hoodies solve these problems!” Other women in the thread say they wear hoodies during summer so they can go braless without flashing too much nipple (which, understandable).
Another hoodie fanatic, Nikki (two Ks this time), tells me that she wears hoodies during summer because she never knows when a breeze might roll through, and that hoodies are the perfect every-weather garment. Speaking of sudden temperature changes, I should note that people experience temperature differently, meaning hoodie weather for you may be completely different from hoodie weather for someone else.
Along those lines, a common explanation in the thread is that some people have sensory processing disorders, like autism, which prevents their body from interpreting temperatures correctly. For those who fall into this category, hoodies can act like a safety blanket, helping them almost create their own, comfortable climate.
Finally, many people wear hoodies despite the weather because they feel unsatisfied with their bodies. Kurt Cobain classically wore baggy clothes because he was ashamed of his petite frame, and many in the thread explain that they wear hoodies to cover scars or the shape of their body. They simply feel better and more comfortable in a hoodie than in something more revealing.
While I could go on and on — hell, some people even wear hoodies to keep mosquitoes at bay — my point is, if you ever come across someone wearing a hoodie in 109-degree weather, (1) that might be me; and (2) they have their reasons. So just let them live in their cozy, warm, sun-protected world in peace.