“It’s hard to explain,” 22-year-old Joselyn, who works at a Hollister store in L.A., tells me when I ask whether or not she has a specific technique for folding the chunky hoodies the brand is known for. To her, of course, the answer is fairly obvious. “You just fold it in half and tuck the arms in,” she explains. After that, you leave the hood hanging forward over the top of the chest. “Don’t tuck it,” she implores. “It will help keep the hoodie together and leaves more space for other clothes.”
She’s not wrong (she is, after all, the pro here) — leaving the hood out of the fold does in fact help keep everything together — but eventually, the puffy, seemingly ever-more-billowing cloud that is the rest of the garment still too easily comes apart. Which is always my problem when attempting to fold my hoodies — they possess too much material girth to conform into any kind of square. I can say with confidence then that I’ve never successfully folded one into a compact, tuckable shape for any real length of time. What I wouldn’t give to be this dude on Reddit, a man who brings an origami-like efficiency and grace to his hoodie storage.
In hindsight, it’s gotta be evolution at play. The proto hoodie, which was full-length and similar to a monk’s robe, is among the oldest garments the world has ever known, providing plenty of time to innovate on ways to store it elegantly. “According to design curator Paola Antonelli, the hoodie’s history stretches back over 3,000 years to the ancient Greeks and Romans,” reports Frank and Oak. The more contemporary version we know today originated with Champion Products, which, per Rolling Stone, began as the Knickerbocker Knitting Company in 1919. “Originally a sweater mill, Champion began making sweatshirts in the early 1930s once it developed methods to sew thicker underwear material,” the music magazine writes.
In terms of how to best tame it when it’s ticketed for your drawer, a YouTube video by Emily Brooker, whose channel only features two other videos but whose hoodie-folding prowess has been viewed more than a million times, provides true enlightenment. The first half of her methodology is fairly standard: She mainly follows the same advice I received from Joselyn, though with an additional effort to fold in the shoulders to maintain a more recognizable square. Her final step, though, took my breath away. “You take the hood section, and you turn it inside out,” she instructs. “As you’re turning it inside out, you’re shoving the body of the sweater into the hood.”
In the process, the hoodie has reached its final, perfect form: A bag that tightly holds the whole thing together, impossible to be undone by anything other than you.