15 December 2022

BEST OF 2022: It's been cold, but is it ever cold enough to wear an Oodie in public?

| Chris Roe
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Oodies worn proudly on Baylis Street. Photo: Chris Roe.

Year in Review: Region Media is revisiting some of the best Opinion articles of 2022. Here’s what got you talking, got you angry and got you thinking in 2022. Today, Chris Roe questions the wisdom of ever donning an Oodie.

The year 2022 has thrown some pretty cold days at us, but how cold does it have to be for an Oodie to be worn in public?

Sightings of Oodies in the wild are becoming increasingly common with the oversized, hooded, blankety garments occasionally paraded down Baylis street or flaunted at the Marketplace.

Once a questionable choice for the drive-thru, these wearable bean bags are now being seen at the checkout.

Not since Clint Eastwood sauntered across the West in a brown poncho as the Man-With-No-Name, has wearing a blanket been so popular.

How did we get here?

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The Oodie is the brainchild of twenty-something South Australian entrepreneur Davie Fogarty and is essentially a polar fleece hoodie that is too big for you.

Described on its website as “the warmest, most scrumptious and utterly buttery piece of clothing you will ever own” the Oodie became the must-have item of the pandemic.

Being warm and “buttery” was certainly par for the course in the depths of lock-down – back when shuffling from the laptop to the fridge was the best outing one could hope for.

The lines between home and work became blurred and more than one of us succumbed to the COVID Kilos and a penchant for comfort wear.

Google trends show that Australian searches for “Oodie” peaked on 29 June this year prompting me to wonder how you could possibly claim one as a tax deduction.

cowboy and oodie

While Clint Eastwood could pull off the wearable blanket with panache, the latest incarnation lacks the same class. Photo: Composition, Chris Roe.

My first Oodie encounter was Christmas in 2019 when my 10-year-old nephew was delighted to receive a Koala-printed version in his stocking.

Not yet hip to the craze, I tried the $80 garment on, only to find it fit like a glove on my well-padded six-foot-two frame.

“This is just a 2XL hoodie made from a baby blanket!” I exclaimed earning a chorus of eye-rolls and “OK Boomer”.

Little did I know that the humble Oodie was about to boom into a $200-million a year global phenomenon.

“Now the top-rated wearable blanket on Facebook!” proclaims the website.

Given that an Oodie is most appropriately worn while eating Cheezels on the couch, binging Netflix and scrolling through socials, I’m not surprised the wearer could well be inspired to drop them five stars.

But when did we decide to venture beyond the mailbox and take our Oodies public?

In the 1980s I recall a brief trend in “wearable sleeping bags” that could be unzipped and snap-fastened into a bulky, padded onesie that was fun the first time, but not very useful.


The infamous Snuggie was a precursor to the latest wearable blanket trend. Photo: Snuggie.

In the 90s, late-night TV advertorials opened the gateway to polar-fleece couch-wear with the iconic “Snuggie” – the blanket with sleeves!

Looking back, the warning signs were there.

The ads showed us how problematic blankets could be, slipping from our knees and tangling in our arms as we tried to operate the remote or eat popcorn.

It was a cross between an open-backed hospital gown and a gospel choir robe and left you looking like you’d joined a dooms-day cult from the lounge room.

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I remember laughing out loud when the Snuggie ads suggested that you could “stay cozy and warm at sporting events” and showed a cheesy couple high-fiving on the bleachers in their appalling (but comfortable) robes.

Surely this As-Seen-On-TV monstrosity would never be seen out of doors?!

But here we are, with social media driving a viral Oodie craze that continues to spread across the globe and leak out onto the streets of our quiet Riverina towns.

Where will it end?

Certainly the Oodie will melt away with the warmer weather and lurk in the wardrobe awaiting winter 2023.

Its emergence back into the daylight is likely to depend on the ever-fickle world of social media.

Are they here to stay, or will they go the way of the fidget spinner and drown under a deluge of dollar store knock-offs?

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