Even though the specific garment, hoodies, can be traced back to the 1930’s, the basic design concept is much older than that. It can be traced further back to the middle ages to a clothing item known as the cowl, worn by catholic monks.
The cowl was a long hooded robe that was designed to be worn for long hours in churches that did not have heating. The color could be either black or white. Hoodie’s as modern clothing started much later as mentioned before in the 1930’s. It was originally designed for workmen working long hours exposed to the cold weather.
There is a theory the hoodie originated from the parka or anorak that was invented by the Eskimos. It was worn especially for hunting of seals, because of its capability to protect the entire upper body including the head from the elements. Other variations include the snorkel parka which is also a hooded jacket.
There is yet another type of parka called the fishtail parka that was used by the U.S military in 1951 during the Korean War. The reason why it was called fishtail parka is because it was made to be longer in the back than in the front. They also had pockets in the front. After a brief spell of unacceptance, the parka returned in popularity in Europe.
In the U.S Men’s hoodies did not become part of the culture until the 1970’s and 80’s. The reason for its rise in acceptance was partly because of its association with the hip hop culture and also with celebrities. And when major design names picked up on it there was no looking back and now it is part of the mainstream culture.