PSA! Hoodies: the Dress of the Depressed

I’d like to say I don’t know what I’m talking about when it comes to the spectrum of neuroses, that I’m a cool cat, but the truth of the matter is that I’m a hypersensitive rainbow.  When I was a child, I thought the sun was my best friend.  All of this is to say that I’ve plunged into some strange times.

As a guest blogger for IBC, I’d really like to be writing about summer’s short shorts and parasols, but it’s just not what comes to mind.  Instead, I ponder questions like, “Why did I wear a hoodie for two years straight?” My friends would say things like, “Anisse is wearing the hoodie again.”  I hate to tie such garments as hoodies to depression, for it isn’t a cut-and-dry case.  Obviously hoodies can be symbols of many things: swagger, efforts to keep a low profile, and overall just a way to define the line of urbanity.  We can’t truly know if someone’s depressed merely by looking at them, but what I am getting at with this post is that if you’re depressed you’re more likely to dress like this:

Than this:

She's so happy she's scaring herself.

Nothing displays the use of the hoodie to reveal hard times like that of the celebrity shot.  If you trace the visual culture of paparazzi, you see that its invasive eye reveals a window into how celebrities (mainly female) deal with the ensuing paranoia and depression of being followed all the time with a hideously scrutinizing and sexist gaze.  I want to mention that I abhor the way female celebrities are used to enforce an overwhelmingly sexist and regressive stance, and I’m not looking to further that through this post–rather this is an examination of how that gaze is expressed through the wearing of one particular shielding garment–the hoodie.

Let’s take a stroll through the images of celebrities as they wax and wane with their relationship to the hoodie. No one’s seen hard times as a celeb like Lindsey Lohan.  That girl has been through every permutation of the celebrity disaster.  How does she wear it?  Let’s take a look.  First up, Lindsey wearing a hoodie like the confused ’70s glam star she thinks she is.

Quickly, her look devolves into an array of hoodies that only serve to highlight the hard times she’s fallen upon.  First, there’s the paranoid hoodie look.

Then there’s the court hoodie.

Drunk hoodie.

And, last but not least, the most depressed look of all: house arrest hoodie.

Another female celebrity whose fashion sense I adore, and has been through a very tough time under that um-ber-ella of violence and scrutiny, has taken to the hoodie in tough times.

Here Rihanna is wearing the hoodie of mourning.

Here is a look where the hood of said hoodie hasn’t been pulled up and over her head yet. 

She could pull that hood up at any moment.

Now let’s take a look at  Katie Holmes,  who one day was frolicking on the set of Dawson’s Creek, and the next day confessing herself to Tom Cruise.  This is a fashion illustration of what happens during the transition period of going from being normal to believing in a galactic god who lives in a volcano and blows his people up with hydrogen bombs.

Now here she is shopping…look at the rainboots…oh no…

You start dressing like this when you sign your life over to a cult.

Finally she must have got a new stylist because she got all chic (see Carrie’s post on jeans).

I also want to make a side note here–because I have no intention of writing a post devoted to sweats–that sweatpants are part of this family.  So are Uggs.  If you find yourself persistently wearing sweats in public, like our favorite mouseketeer below, then you might be depressed.

Sweats are depressed too.

Listen when we’re happy we might be more inclined to dress like this.

I’m not saying that hoodies can’t be happy.  Just look at the girl below!

I'm so happy on the set of this commercial shoot!

What I’m saying is that nothing suits depression like the hoodie.  It’s the perfect warm garment to soothe the dying ember of your soul.  It zips up, keeping the world outside.  And it hides your face.  No one can tell anything about you if they can’t see or hear you.  Celebrities take to the hoodie in tough times, when they are desperate for instant anonymity.  It’s a garment that has come to serve us in our difficult moments in this hyper-public world we live in.  But let us use it sparingly.

If you find that you’ve been wearing a hoodie for two years straight, and the fleece on the inside of your Uggs is starting to dread, well I’m no doctor, but I think you very well may be a little depressed.  It may be time to unveil that cotton cap, uncinch the tightened drawstrings, and have a look around your closet, and then, perhaps, the world around you.

About anissegross

freeartist, writer, lover of most things.


  1. msjacks

    This is freaking great. I love it. You have both identified and explained the hoodie phenomenon. Kudos!

  2. Michael von Braithwaite

    I don’t think it comes as any surprise that I wholeheartedly agree with everything in this post!

  3. Your post really made me reflect on past trends in my personal wardrobe. I must confess, I have used the hoodie as an emotional safety blanket during rough times. As always, I am impressed with your insight on fashion.

  4. erin e

    It’s true. I’m throwing out my hoodie to fight the epidemic. Cardigans only from now on!

  5. Maria

    This is so right on, I giggle errupted at work (the comment about the woman so happy she is scaring herself). I bought a hoodie recently, but I think only to try to break my obsessive cardigan buying habit. I am a cardigan junky. Hoodie docter, what does this say about me?

  6. Ami

    This KILLED me. One of the funniest, truest things I have read in a long while. I went through a hoodie phase but mine was about trying to sync up with my depressed hoodie-wearing boyfriend. Ugh! Or should I say Ugg? I’m not sure what ended up bumming me out in the end: his depressed ass or my new constant-hoodie wearing. I look forward to more of your explications of culture via articles of clothing.

  7. This was hilarious. I found myself hooting it up at my office. Unfortunately, I got angry looks and am now forced to wear the scarlet hoodie.

  8. I went to elementary school with a girl who wore an ET hoodie, bangs in her face, every day. She was troubled, I think, but also an amazing student and artist; she pretty much invented emo in 1983.

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  11. A Losing Game

    I realized I was beyond depressed when I started buying men’s hoodies at the thrift store by the cartful. Think UFC, basketball, any random pattern as long as it was extra large. Too bad they take the strings out when you go inpatient.

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