We don’t need to be half naked to be sexy

We don’t need to be half naked to be sexy

A few years ago, back when Nashville was the filter of choice, cozy season Instagram looked something like this: a bird’s-eye view photo of a woman dressed in the comfiest of knits, relaxing on a bed with a steaming cup of coffee in hand and a laptop resting in front of her with a low-light filter edited on top. These photos may have met the dictionary definition of cozy-“enjoying or affording warmth and ease,” according to Merriam-Webster-but they didn’t do it for me.

I didn’t only want to be toasty and warm in the comfort of my own home. I wanted that comfort to follow me as a trekked throughout the brisk New York City streets, when I’m stuck between strangers on a crowded subway car, and especially when the temperature in the office dips so low I start playing musical chairs to find the warmest spot. Uggs don’t usually translate to “office chic,” sitting pretzel-style in a bed with a hot cup of White Chocolate Mocha doesn’t really align with company culture, and I hate the Nashville filter or any rustic-looking filter, if I’m being quite honest.

But scroll through your Instagram today, and a community of self-described “cozy girls” have a completely different aesthetic for wintertime warmth. For them, Air Jordan 1s and Nike Air Max’s take the place of fuzzy house slippers and down-filled puffers and tracksuits are the snuggly alternatives to throw fleece blankets. I’ve finally found my people.

I didn’t have to search too far to stumble upon the cozy girls of Instagram. She lives, eats, and breathes for swooshes (Nike) and stripes (Adidas) and everything in between; she punctuates each outfit with a statement piece, be it an Off-White crossbody, stacks of gold necklaces and rings, a bucket hat or sunglasses, and is frequently featured on Hypebae’s glossy Instagram feed.

She’s Christina Paik (), the mastermind behind the Instagram account, known for her eclectic mix of streetwear and high end, like wearing an oversized Stussy button-down with a black billowy skirt from Junya Watanabe and a pair of Nike Tekno trainers. “Cozy isn’t about being in comfortable clothes,” Paik tells ELLE. “Cozy is being comfortable in your own skin. Be you and everything else falls in place.”

Meet the Cozy Girls of Instagram

She’s also Jess Gavigan (), whose Instagram bio begins “STAY COZY.” The London-based sneakerhead and owner of sneaker shop Small Feet Big Kicks adopted the #StayCozy hashtag as a way “of telling people that you can be sexy and be comfortable at the same time,” she tells ELLE. “Sometimes I feel my best in my baggiest boyish outfits and everyday sneakers, [especially] since In London, I’m always running around on my feet. Often times, I need a look that goes from day to night, so I learned to make comfortable a ‘sexy look’. “

After clicking through a bevy of Instagram accounts and hashtags, I found myself deep down the rabbit hole of “cozy girl” Instagram. There were females from all over the world whose versatile sartorial taste rely heavily on comfort and practicality, instead of following societal expectations of how a woman is supposed to dress. And many of them garnered a loyal following and big-name collaborations because of it.

Take Aleali May, stylist and FROW favorite, for instance. Her cozy ethos has helped her become a leader in streetwear culture, which eventually led to her becoming the first woman to collaborate with Nike on the iconic Air Jordan 1 silhouette in 2017, followed by her second Jordan collaboration released earlier this month.

To these women, “cozy” means more than dressing for comfort, they dress to feel good. Society likes to tell women that to look feminine means to wear heels, soft colors, and tight-fitting clothes or else you’d be labeled a tomboy, as if being both feminine and a tomboy were mutually exclusive. Curious to explore “cozy” culture, I polled a few streetwear enthusiasts about what the term means to them and how to get the cozy look.

Gia Seo ()

“Growing up in a small-town in Alaska, I didn’t understand traditional mainstream fashion because fashion was very much based on functionality and dependent on the weather. In that sense, all of that practical wear – snow pants, bunny boots with fur in them- became a natural adaptation of myself when I came to New York and something that I didn’t want to let go of. Everything that I own has to be really malleable to my body. I don’t like things that are super structured, don’t love denim, so in that sense I hookup clubs Raleigh am really cozy. I love super soft fabrics, anything that is silky. A lot of the way that I dress is based on how the textures feel on my skin.

[Being cozy] is always about having a statement piece that you’ve worn before that makes you feel incredibly comfortable, like a jacket that you get a compliment on every time you wear it, so you remember that memory and take it with you the next time you wear it. It always starts with a statement piece. I have a huge jacket and sock fetish.”

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