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{THE ESSENTIALS}

All Hail The Hoodie

September 16, 2007|Melissa Magsaysay | Times Staff Writer

The hoodie -- that beloved, if ratty, staple of the gym locker -- has become fashion's latest blank canvas. It started a few years back, when the Juicy Couture girls tweaked it to become a stylish wardrobe essential. Then streetwear designers such as Bathing Ape and Hysteric Glamour covered it in graffiti as a means of underground expression. L.A.-to-Paris transplant Rick Owens deconstructed it and made it an art form, and Karl Lagerfeld blinged it almost beyond recognition in the latest Chanel resort collection.

This fall, the hoodie -- adorned, stoned or graphic; leather, cashmere or silk -- is bringing a streetwise edge to feminine dresses, skinny jeans and high-waist trousers. And for men, they're bridging the territory between blazer and bomber. Put one over a classic white shirt, black necktie and dark denim or polished trousers, and you've got a look that's sophisticated enough for work, but not as serious as a suit.

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