Academic Hoods - Graduation Hoods by Graduation Gowns UK

Academic Hoods - Graduation Hoods by Graduation Gowns UK

About Academic Hoods offered by Graduation Gowns UK

Despite its now-decorative use, the hood originally was meant to be a functional garment that would shield the head from the elements. However, the English tradition slowly evolved into making the hood a bright, decorative garment that was usually only worn for special occasions.

Today’s hoods are usually worn by Anglican lay readers and clergy in choir dress. It is still common in churches for choirmaster and choir members to wear academic hoods to which they are entitled during services, over their choir office garments. It was worn at the Eucharist in the past, though this is not considered to be appropriate in modern times.

Today’s hoods have two distinct patterns, which are known as the simple shape and the full shape. The simple shape is used at Oxford and many other colleges in the UK for both bachelors’ and masters’ hoods. The simple hood has no cape, only a cowl and liripipe.

In contrast, the full-shape hood consists of a cape, cowl and a liripipe, and is used at Cambridge and many other UK schools. Interestingly, the “Aberdeen” shape style is also used at some universities. This hood consists of only a cap and cowl and no liripipe – or just a cape only, in some cases.

There is a lot of variation among these patterns – various universities have different patterns and hood shapes, corresponding either to the ancient patterns used when they were founded, or even comprising completely new, modern designs.

The color and lining of academic hoods are both intended to represent the rank, faculty, or both of the wearer. In a lot of UK and commonwealth universities, those with a bachelor’s degree will wear a hood that is lined or edged with rabbit fur. Masters wear hoods with a lining of colored silk – which was originally made with an expensive fur like ermine.

Doctoral hoods are typically made from scarlet cloth, and are also lined with brightly-colored silk. Faculty colors, which mean the hood varies in color based on the area of study of the wearer, were first introduced by the University of London – and quite a few other universities have adopted this policy.

Hoods are almost always worn with a gown, with very few exceptions. At Oxford, for example, doctors wearing their festal robes do not wear a hood.

Around the neck band of most hoods, there is a loop. This loop’s original function was to hook onto the button of a cassock – an ankle-length garment. However, since most students no longer wear cassocks to graduation, this loop is frequently hooked onto a shirt button.

Due to the weight of the hood, this may pull the more lightweight shirt upward, so this is not considered the proper way to wear a hood. Instead, the neckband should naturally hook underneath the collar, beneath the tie that holds the hood in place. When worn improperly, the hood is likely to sit poorly and may slip down onto the shoulders like a shawl, which it is not intended to do.