Stores from American Eagle to Kohl’s are all bragging about being ‘cosy’ — and it represents a major shift in fashion

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A Sherpa fanny pack at American Eagle. Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

  • Coziness is one of the most popular trends in clothing retail right now.
  • The trend is inspired by the Danish concept of hygge, which is all about the contentment that comes from feeling cosy and enjoying simple things.
  • Knit sweaters, Sherpa coats, and fuzzy slippers are everywhere this holiday season. See how the trend has been taking over stores.

If you’ve walked into just about any clothing store this winter, you’ve probably seen the word “cosy” on, well, everything.

Sweaters, hats, leggings, t-shirts, and even fanny packs this winter are fleece-lined, ultra-soft, and most importantly, cosy.

The cosy trend isn’t anything new – it became popular a few years ago, when the Danish concept of “hygge” started gaining traction. Pronounced “hoo-ga,” the Danish concept is better translated as a feeling than a single word. Embracing the idea of hygge is all about feeling cosy and content by enjoying the simple things in life.

In Danish culture, hygge is a way of life. Hygge started catching on as a trend in the UK in 2016 after several books were written on the subject. In 2017, the trend hopped over to the US. And according to Country Living, there was an influx of books published on the subject within just a few months.

Though the trend has been going strong for a few years already, retailers don’t seem to be letting go of it anytime soon. Many of the stores we visited in recent months have been marketing their clothes as “cosy,” “plush,” and “soft,” showing ads with models bundled up in oversized knit sweaters and cosy hats.

“There is no doubt that the casualization trend has taken over the wardrobes of many Americans,” NPD Group analyst Maria Rugolo wrote in a company blog post in November. “But this holiday season we will see this trend in all of its furriness.”

See how the trend has been taking over stores:


The word “hygge” doesn’t have a direct English translation, but it can best be described as a sort of coziness. And American Eagle Outfitters was all about coziness when we visited a Midtown Manhattan store.

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It seemed everything in the store was geared towards comfort.

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“While consumers will look to get dressed up for holiday festivities, comfort is the key word. Brands that are incorporating fashion along with athletic and comfort elements will win,” Beth Goldstein, executive director and industry analyst at NPD Group, told Footwear News last month.

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Source: Footwear News


Goldstein explained that winter boots with fluffy detailing might benefit from the hygge movement as well. Old Navy had an entire wall of fuzzy moccasins and slippers when we visited.

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Source: Footwear News


The Aerie store attached to American Eagle was very similar — everything was soft and cosy. Hygge is more about a cosy and content feeling than a particular look, but one style we found everywhere was Sherpa.

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“One word we will hear about is ‘Sherpa.’ This fabric typically made from polyester, acrylic, or cotton resembles lamb wool or fleece and is named after the Sherpa people of Nepal and Tibet,” Rugolo wrote in the NPD blog post.

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Source: NPDGroup


The store also carried velvet scrunchies, cosy knit hats, and dozens of fleece sweatshirts. Everything was oversized and very soft.

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The men’s section of the store was similar. There was an entire wall of fleece-lined gloves, hats, and even fanny packs. The text on the display read “You’ve been warmed. Everything you need to stay warm, get cosy, and make every look your own.”

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Kohl’s chief merchandising officer Doug Howe said in October that “cosy knits” was one of the most searched-for terms on its website last year.

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Source: Associated Press


And when we visited a Kohl’s store in November, it was certainly reflective of that trend. There were cosy sweaters and sweatshirts everywhere.

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Abercrombie was the same, with oversize sweaters …

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… and no shortage of fur-lined coats, knit sweaters, and cosy flannels.

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It was apparent at Gap as well.

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There were “Give Cosy, Get Cosy” signs all over the store.

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Knit sweaters were everywhere, and everything was in neutral or muted colours.

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And in Gap’s sister store, Old Navy, it was hard to find anything that wasn’t plush and warm.

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Source: NPDGroup


Rugolo also mentioned in her note that pajamas are one of the first things that come to mind when it comes to being cosy. “The growing sleepwear category is front and center this time of the year as nearly half of the category’s dollars are generated during the fourth quarter,” she wrote.

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Nearly every store we visited reflected this, with cosy pajamas and fuzzy slippers being highlighted.

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And the trend of Sherpa coats, fuzzy sweatshirts, and knit sweaters doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon.

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