Pop quiz: which garment underwent the most unlikely metamorphosis from style no-go to chic modern must-have last year? Answer: the hoodie.

Previously, it was a signifier of slobdom, the uniform of Harry Enfield and Kathy Burke’s eternal teenagers Kevin and Perry and shorthand for the disenfranchised underclass (remember David Cameron’s ‘hug a hoodie’ speech in 2006?).

Time was when the sight of a midlife woman wearing a hoodie in public — possibly having forgotten to get dressed, so doing the school run in her pyjamas, or maybe bawling out her soon-to-be ex on her mobile on the steps of a mid-price hotel — suggested one thing: a woman on the verge.

And yet here I am, looking at a sumptuous long, forest-green cashmere hoodie from Victoria Beckham’s autumn/winter 2018 catwalk collection, worn over a pleated floor-sweeping skirt. And it is chic, chic, chic.

True, the price might be a bit prohibitive at an eye-watering £718 (and that’s in the sale!), but no matter — there are some completely fabulous looky-likey options around.

Autograph at M&S have a grey cashmere hooded jumper, for instance (£119, marksand spencer.com). To create a similar ensemble, team with a sleek maxi skirt and a slouchy leopard print tote.

That’s right ladies, this is not a cosy hooded knit for being hygge (that mysterious Scandinavian notion that apparently involves curling up in front of a fire with a mug of cocoa).

No, these new luxe hoodies are for wearing in your daily life — even to the office!

The hoodie may only have reached my wish list this year, but in truth its journey from gym sweats to everyday civilian attire has been under way for some time.

For this we can thank the new generation of designers, such as Demna Gvasalia at Balenciaga and Jeremy Scott at Moschino, for playing with the contradictions of high/low fashion and injecting a subversive shot of streetwear into their collections.

If you have teenagers, you are doubtless aware of the phenomenon of over-priced hoodies with luxury logos.

And while these are probably best left to the young, for fear of entering Patsy and Edina territory, there is no avoiding the influence of sportswear, no matter your age.

How best to style it? The key is not to be too matchy-matchy, so pair your hoodie with a long skirt in slipper satin or velvet.

Rodarte, the designer darlings of the bohemian Hollywood set (Kirsten Dunst, Emma Watson, Natalie Portman) do this look brilliantly.

On the High Street, &OtherStories’s midnight-blue hoodie, with a sequinned mythical-looking bird on the back (£79, stories.com) delivers gothic glamour. It would look perfect with a long black satin skirt for a winter party.

For day, I love the hoodie and blazer look, with jeans, flats and a cross-body bag, but do be mindful of the bulk of your hoodie to avoid ‘sausage arms’ you can’t lift above your head.

Whistles’s orange ‘fashion hoodie’ (£41.65, whistles.com) is a good one to layer with a menswear check jacket.

Be mindful of double hoods (ie, a hoodie and a parka), and wearing a hoodie and a beanie is probably best left to Cara Delevingne and her chums.

Should you go cropped? My desk-mate at Net-a-Porter has a nice line in layering a midriff hoodie over a long-sleeved tee, but she does have a washboard stomach.

Getting the right hoodie is about trying a few on and experimenting. Just remember, you’re going for a sense of insouciant ease, rather than a look you’d put the bins out in. Grey marl joggers and fleece novelty leggings are a no-no.

Sarah Bailey is executive brand editor at Porter.

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