JK (thanks) sent in this (admittedly somewhat old, but interesting) item from the Northern Echo:

HISTORIANS have delivered a second and potentially devastating blow to the Italians' reputation for sartorial elegance.

Fresh from last month's news that the Roman occupiers of County Durham committed the ultimate fashion faux pas, wearing socks with their sandals, comes the shocking revelation that they were also responsible for inventing the quintessential symbol of 21st Century British youth - the hoody.

In recent months, the hoody has been banned by shopping malls, its wearers have been made the subject of court orders and it has been blamed by politicians for society's ills.

However, it now emerges that, far from being a recent phenomenon, the hoody was the must-have fashion item for Britain's Roman occupiers, both rich and poor, nearly 2,000 years ago.

Indeed, Britain was the centre of a cottage industry churning out woollen hoodies to be exported across the Empire.

The Roman hoody, or birrus Britannicus, is among the objects recreated for display at a new exhibition at Durham University's Old Fulling Mill Museum, on the banks of the Wear at Durham City.

At Home With The Romans is aimed at introducing children to aspects of domestic life among the invaders and includes board games, coins and mosaics among the rare artefacts found in the North-East.

Curator Craig Barclay said: "One tends to think of Romans being dressed in togas, but the popular dress form was in fact the hoody.

"Essentially, it was a primitive anorak or a waterproof cloak, which was made in Britain but exported as well."

Evidence of the fashion disaster comes from an edict from the Third Century Emperor Diocletian, which tried to set a maximum price for the in-demand garments, and also from pictorial evidence on Roman tombstones, including several from York.

Mr Barclay said: "It is quite ironic that the type of clothing for which Britain was famed in Roman times was the hoody. I am sure it would have been much appreciated by soldiers on Hadrian's Wall."