The medieval hood consisted of three parts: the cowl, which protected the head; a cape, which covered the shoulders; and the tail, which was long enough to wind around the shoulders like a scarf. However, this was short lived and by 1450, influenced by the forces of popular fashion, it had evolved considerably.
With the advent of so many new universities, each requiring a distinctive system of robes, academic dress has changed significantly. However, for centuries it has been the shape of the sleeve that has served as an indication of the degree for which is represented and fortunately, this is a feature that remains today!
Graduation Gowns originated way back in the 12th century, around the time when universities were being formulated.