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Hot or cold, rain or shine, teens want to wear their hoodies, including this group of students from Chicago’s Kenwood Academy. From top left, clockwise: Isaac Shariff, Kamron Coppage, Juanita Jones, Malcolm Fleming, Jori Johnson and Demitri West.

Manuel Martinez

Even on days of record-setting high temps, teens still reach for their hoodies. Why?

The fall semester is underway in the Chicago area, even though summer isn’t officially over until late September.

This school year marks the earliest start date for Chicago Public Schools in recent memory and students have endured extreme heat since classes began on Aug. 21.

But the weather isn’t impacting how students dress for class. Parents have been poking fun at their kids on social media for wearing hooded sweatshirts year-round.

WBEZ’s Nereida Moreno stopped by Kenwood Academy High School on the city’s South Side on a recent hot day to learn why hoodies are now a closet staple for Gen Z.


WBEZ

Senecca Ruiz

Manuel Martinez

Senecca Ruiz, 15, a sophomore, wears a gray Levi’s hoodie to class. He considers hoodies to be a fashion statement.

“It’s like my body is used to it at this point. It could be 100 degrees, and I’ll still wear it. I don’t feel overheated so I’m fine.”



WBEZ

Isaac Shariff

Manuel Martinez

Isaac Shariff, 16, a junior, wears a cream-colored Adidas hoodie on recent Tuesday but has one in every color. He said teens wear hoodies because they want to feel comfortable.

“I feel like also it’s a little shield. Like, kids feel protected when they cover themselves for certain things that they don’t like … like their arms … whatever they feel insecure about.”



WBEZ

Kamron Coppage

Manuel Martinez

Kamron Coppage, 16, a sophomore, wears a hooded black sweatshirt featuring the popular hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan. He said he regretted wearing a hoodie during a heat wave the first week of class.

“I wore a hoodie when it was like 100 degrees outside. I didn’t like the shirt under it so I just kept it on. I was dying … but I still kept it on.”



WBEZ

Juanita Jones

Manuel Martinez

Juanita Jones, 16, a junior, wears a custom hoodie designed by her mother’s coworkers. She wears hooded sweatshirts in the summer because it’s cold out during her early morning commute to school.

“I know if it’s going to be warm I’ll just put it in my backpack. It [does] get cold in some parts of the classrooms.”



WBEZ

Demitri West

Manuel Martinez

Demitri West, 16, a junior, wears a light pink hoodie with a photo of a palm tree in Los Angeles. He says hoodies make him feel more at ease in his own skin, and he likes the design and fit.

“It could be 101. It could be 150. I’ll still wear a hoodie. I don’t leave the house without a hoodie. Never.”



WBEZ

Jori Johnson

Manuel Martinez

Jori Johnson, 17, a senior, said she feels comfortable in her zip-up black hoodie. It’s one of the top fashion staples in teens’ closets, she says.

“This generation is very into fashion. It’s easy, they go with a lot. And you can dress them up and down.”



WBEZ

Malcolm Fleming

Manuel Martinez

Malcolm Fleming, 17, a senior, has about 50 hoodies in his closet, ranging from $30 dollar versions from H&M to more intricately designed $300 pieces.

“I sometimes have multiple of the same hoodie because I like the hoodie that much.”


Nereida Moreno covers education for WBEZ. Follow her on Twitter @nereidamorenos and @WBEZeducation.

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