The History Of The Hooded Blanket
A decade ago, you might not have known what a hooded blanket is if someone hit you over the head with one. Sure, the name is pretty self-explanatory, but these comfy items weren’t yet known and beloved by millions.
Yet, these days, hooded blankets are everywhere. They’re practical, they’re irresistibly cosy, and celebs love them. It’s easy to see why they’re so popular – but how did they reach this point of cult status? We’re taking a look through the history of the hooded blanket to find out just that.
What is a hooded blanket?
A hooded blanket is a unique piece of clothing that’s essentially – you guessed it – a blanket with a hood. Also sometimes called a hoodie blanket, these cosy garments offer the wearer the warmth and comfort of a blanket, with all the functionality of a hoodie.
Hooded blankets are usually made from soft fleecy fabrics and feature a spacious, integrated hood. They tend to be oversized to ensure that they provide maximum physical freedom and can cover the whole body when sitting down.
The best hooded blanket designs feature practical details like wide sleeves with elasticated wrists and a large front pocket for carrying around snacks and your phone. They’re also lined with an incredibly fluffy sherpa fleece interior – just like our very own Snuggys.
Hooded blankets: The timeline
From the fur and animal skin blankets of the caveman era to the hooded garments of the 13th century BC, both hoods and blankets have been used by humans for millennia. They’ve long provided vital protection from the elements, especially in the days before modern comforts like central heating had been invented.
Their forms have evolved throughout history, with the earliest evidence of woven blankets similar to what we have nowadays being from Egypt in around 3,500 BC. Hoods, on the other hand, progressed from pieces of material wrapped around the head to purpose-designed additions sewn into other garments.
Blankets have always had a primarily practical purpose – they exist to provide warmth. Hoods are also extremely useful as a way of preserving heat and protecting from harsh weather conditions, but have consistently been used for other purposes too.
For a long time, hoods were an integral part of religious dress, as covering the head was a very common religious tradition during medieval times and even earlier. We also have evidence of men wearing hooded tunics during the 12th century, although this was not necessarily for religious reasons.
The modern hoodie was invented in the 1930s in upstate New York, although it wasn’t called that until much later. The ‘hooded sweatshirt’, as it was then known, was designed to provide some much-needed extra warmth for factory employees working in bitterly cold warehouses.
The 1970s saw the emergence of hoodies as a fashion item, especially within New York City’s hip-hop culture, further propelled by the hit movie Rocky. The term ‘hoodie’ wasn’t widely adopted until the 1990s, when the garment was widely adopted in both the UK and the US.
In the UK, rave culture was at the heart of the hoodie trend while, in the US, it was the California skateboarders that took it to peak popularity. High-end brands quickly followed suit, with Armani and Ralph Lauren including the item on their '90s catwalks.
Evolution of the hooded blanket
In 1998, a game-changing concept emerged. Gary Clegg, a student at Maine University, created the ‘Slanket’ – a sleeved blanket that was designed to provide warmth and comfort while allowing the wearer to move freely. The unusual concept ignited the public’s imagination and set the wheels in motion for a new category of loungewear.
Wearable blankets came into the mainstream consciousness around 2008. Their increase in popularity at this time can be attributed to two major factors: the ongoing societal shift towards more casual clothing, and the rise of social media. These influences coincided with a few celebrity endorsements, and boom – an iconic piece of clothing was born.
Quite the departure from the fur blankets of our ancestors, contemporary hooded blankets have embraced ethical practices and moved away from animal products. Instead, modern materials and manufacturing processes, such as the super-soft sherpa fleece used in Snuggys, ensure a warm and cosy experience without compromising on ethics.
The COVID-19 pandemic meant that large parts of the world were hit with stay-at-home orders in 2020. This sudden increase in time spent at home meant that loungewear surged in popularity. As the UK concurrently grappled with a cost-of-living crisis and soaring energy prices, people turned to the Snuggy to keep themselves warm and comfortable on a budget.
You might have a chuckle to yourself the first time you put one on, but the hooded blanket isn’t just an unusual garment with a practical purpose. Much like its predecessor, the hoodie, which once raised eyebrows but is now a wardrobe staple, the hooded blanket could also prove that fashion trends really do change all the time.
What are hooded blankets used for?
These days, people wear hooded blankets for all kinds of activities. Their versatility and irresistible comfort make them suitable for a wide range of purposes:
- Comfort and relaxation
- Outdoor activities
- Cost-effective warmth
- Therapeutic aid
- DIY fancy dress!
What makes Snuggys better than the rest?
At Snuggy, we’re proud that our hooded blankets offer superior quality without a premium price tag. We’ve carefully designed them to include thoughtful features like useful pockets and a generously sized hood, seamlessly blending comfort with practicality.
Snuggys are also designed to last and won’t fall apart after one too many washes. But despite their easy maintenance, Snuggys are still lined with the softest sherpa fleece interior that envelopes you in luxury every time you put one on.
The range comes with a wide variety of patterns and colours, so you’re sure to find a Snuggy to suit any personality.