If you’ve ever yearned for an aesthetic equal parts comfy and stylish, “comfycore,” AKA “cozycore” is the fashion revelation for you. Born out of the rising popularity of loungewear and the pandemic forcing a re-examination (and appreciation) of home comforts, simply put, comfycore is a comfort-first lifestyle and aesthetic.
In fashion, this means sweats over jeans. In life, it means staying in vs. going out. In home, it means comforting function over aesthetic-focused form. Maximalism is still trending because there’s a huge overlap with comfycore. If you’re not familiar, maximalism is the antithesis of minimalism, which was dismissed during the pandemic due to people spending more time at home, and realizing their home could and should be a comforting sanctuary in a time of excessive discomfort everywhere else in the world.
Comfycore is reflected in TV, fashion, food, interior design, self-care, hobbies and more. To give credit where it’s due, other similar design and lifestyle philosophies include hygge (Danish) and friluftsliv (Norwegian). If you’re like me, and you stream ol’ reliable Friends, Frasier, Seinfeld, Sex and the City and more, those nostalgic titles have become collectively known as “comfort TV,” a part of comfycore that’s been written about by the likes of The Atlantic, Shondaland and Stylus.
In a 2020 study, Deloitte found “consumer comfort and familiarity with iconic brands outweighed the novelty of niche brands or the low prices of private labels.” AKA – nostalgia was king at the height of the pandemic – psych folks will attribute this partially to the mere-exposure effect. As Stylus wrote; during the outbreak, many consumers sought comfort and familiarity in their food choices, and more than half of US Gen-Zers and millennials have tuned in to familiar, nostalgic TV shows and music during lockdown. Speaking of “comfort TV” and the likes of the Great British Baking Show, stress-baking was all the rage as a coping mechanism – with sourdough starters being one of the hottest conversation starters in 2020.
While Gen Z, and their god, Billie Eilish, re-popularized loose, baggy clothing before the pandemic, the authorities on aesthetics leaned into the comfycore revolution along with the rest of us via fashion over the last two years. Female magazine writes, “Instead of keeping up with the latest trends fresh off the runways, comfycore encourages you to prioritize comfort and function over form, and that’s where the revolutionary aspect comes in.” Take it from Aesthetics Wiki, where they list flannel, sweatpants, slippers and scarfs, among others, as part of the comfycore fashion aesthetic.
In interior design, comfycore overlaps with bohemian, maximalism and the Danish and Norwegian design/lifestyle philosophies. Think mounds of throw blankets and pillows, rounded design features, diffusers and candles, biomimicry and Marie Kondo-approved clutter-free environments. Magazines and books have proliferated shelves with special editions and guides all around making a house a home, designing for a stress-free home environment, and habits such as mindfulness and meditation to tie it all together.
Where the world is really seeing, or rather, not seeing, a shift toward comfycore, is working from home. It’s widely known, accepted and joked about that when you work from home it’s a mullet-style head-to-toe get up: “business up top, party on the bottom,” that is, ‘professional top-half, sweatpants below the desk.’ But what happens when some companies recall employees to offices? Physical comfort while working makes a huge difference that employers aren’t thinking about in planning their great “return to office” plans.
For instance, the last in-person job I had was a rather formal environment for my taste, “business casual” leaning toward the business end. Two years ago when we were all sent home from a normal 9-to-5, never to return, I put on my cozy sweatpants and never looked back. I’ve turned down jobs that aren’t fully remote now, as I realize it’s a necessity no office has ever fulfilled for me – not just sweatpants, but comfort overall. Stereotypically a female struggle, women bore the grunt of the temperature battle at work – I am “one of those people” who’s perpetually cold, so while wearing a puffer jacket at work and running my hands under hot water every couple of hours was a blast, I now comfortably sit focused and toasty warm at my highly-productive home-office desk. I’ve even snuck in a space heater to two different offices at times, and of course, at some point, I was found out and told to get rid of it. What half of the population commonly struggles with, something as simple as the thermostat, is never taken seriously as an environmental factor of a workplace.
So, is the cozycore aesthetic something you’ve adopted, knowingly or subconsciously, during the pandemic? Long before the pandemic? Would you take a non-remote job knowing you had to dress in business casual daily? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Cheers to a more comfortable future!