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Hey Fashion Friend: How Do I Practice Hygge With My Closet?

Animation: The Cut

Every year, summer ends and gives way to fall and eventually winter, and every year, without fail, the thought of spending another cold season in New York City sets me off into a spiral.

Mere months ago, near the tail end of summer, 6 p.m. would’ve meant golden hour. Lush green leaves would dangle off trees, glowing in the sunlight without an inkling of their impending doom. The breeze would have been warm, and short skirts would be worn. I might have had an ice cream cone in hand.

Nowadays, the sun sets around that time and is doing so earlier and earlier. The wind has gone cold, leaves have turned brown and wither in the streets, and the sweater drawer I’d left shut for the better part of seven months has squeaked back into action. Winters in the city, while dotted with cheer, are cold, dark, and a bit isolating.

Just as I was pondering how much a sacrilegious winter in the Los Angeles sun might cost, a former editor (and incredibly chic person) posted a photo to their Instagram story of a cable-knit cream sweater with the caption “personal hygge.” Something clicked. Perhaps not all was lost! Perhaps I could figuratively escape the abyss that is seasonal depression with a little help from the Danish.

Hygge, a Danish word that means “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well being,” is a cold-weather state of being long practiced in Nordic countries. Scandinavian fashion has recently had a grip on American style, as have that region’s cultural practices. Hygge is all about feeling that state of eternal, internal warmth, and for me, anything goes. Tapered candlesticks? Plush throw blankets? String lights dangling from the ceiling? A fireplace crackling on your television screen? I began to think of all the ways I could create a feeling of personal hygge in my own wardrobe. Perhaps if the clothes I put on my body made me feel cozy, they’d also make me feel happy and, in turn, fill the void the sun has left behind.

But what does it mean to practice personal hygge with your personal style? Yes, of course, lean into the things that seem decadent and plush and nearly indulgent, but only if they seem so to you. Hate cashmere, my personal north star of all cozies? Don’t wear it! Think wool is itchy? Donate your merino sweaters!

Personal hygge is all about feeling good in clothing that makes the cold an occasion. It makes you feel like you are exactly where you are supposed to be and you came dressed to relish the affair. Think: knits and shearling and fuzz and crochet and faux fur and coats that swaddle you in warmth.

As always, I recommend giving your local vintage and thrift stores a peruse. The knits stowed away in those spots are often exactly what we’re looking for. If you’re searching for something more specific to hygge your closet, we’ve got you covered.

For Cozy Staples

Imagine wearing this and curling up with a good book by the fire. That’s cozy.

This is essentially the half-zip version of the sweater Chris Evans wore in Knives Out. Iconic.

Our shopping writer Chinea Rodriguez told me these are “the closest you can get to wearing an actual blanket,” but beware, they do tend to shed lint.

Chinea also mentioned she lives in these crewnecks all season long. “These are thick, warm, and roomy enough for layering,” she said.

Are you even from New York? A good puffer is an investment and necessity in the cold winter months, and this one comes highly recommended.

What is cozy if not a pair of stretchy pants? Fashion and beauty writer Asia Milia Ware loves this pair and even likes to “dress them up for a comfy night out.”

For Comfort and Fun

One thing about us is that we love cargo pants. These are roomy, lounge-worthy, and comfortable.

Hello, fleece of my dreams!

For Elevated Warmth

Senior fashion writer Emilia Petrarca told me these sweats make her feel cool
“and not depressed!” That’s the goal!

This beauty also comes highly recommended by Emilia. Imagine: You step out into the cool air to mull over your horrid husband’s untimely demise. There’s a cold breeze, and you must wrap this robe closely to your body à la Big Little Lies. The drama!

In case you are, for some godforsaken reason, forced to leave your home and attend an event in the cold, this skirt is it. The boiled wool feels incredibly soft and comfortable.

I’ve been wearing an iteration of this fleece all fall and I feel effortlessly cozy and chic in it.

Senior writer Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz says this coat is like a chic blanket. “It kind of makes me look like the grim reaper? But fashion.” We’ll take it!

For Snug Accessories

I’ve been wearing Uggs since middle school. They’re the real, snuggly deal.

This “Nordic-inspired” (how fitting) balaclava is made of 100 percent wool, ensuring warmth and style.

Something about these mittens healed my inner child.

Ugg does it again. Click clack on your phone while fending off frostbite.

I’m hearing rumors that some people don’t like leg warmers? I’m here to tell you those people are wrong.

Do not underestimate the power of socks on your cozy endeavor. Sometimes a good pair is all it takes.

Once again, socks! They speak for themselves!

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How Do I Practice Hygge With My Closet?