Cozy Is as Cozy Does During Quarantine

By Frankie Caracciolo
Illustration by Dustin Canalin

Rote lessons in populism would lead us to believe in such declarative axioms as “Blame the rich, not the workers.” It’s the suits, “the adults in the room,” who got us in another fine mess. Our current quagmire, this generational trauma without a horizon line (yet). It’s dizzying to countenance yet unavoidable to reckon with. It’s enough to turn what remains of my bleached-blond hair ghostly white, really. Still, I’ll tactfully broach the dormouse in the room: Have we gained anything?

Yes. Yes, we have. And definitively so: the apotheosis of casualwear. Even before Compulsory Quarantine, streetwear had taken a hard turn toward favoring cozy fits. And cozy couture, our designer sweatsuits and tracksuits, are at an absolute peak right now, signaling that, much like washing our hands, this is not a trend but a practice. Our new lifestyle, as it is, favors the frictionless and the sorts of experiences that endear us to a swaddled and sanitized peace of mind.

Clothes, intrinsically, are both barrier for the body and projection of the self. They construe how we relate to one another and to the city and, of course, how we conceive of ourselves. Within our own industry, it is truly the mantra my brand, myself. The body politic has an appearance and an aesthetic just as much as the body electric.

This isn’t even merely symptomatic of my workplace and network. You’ve heard it before, Americans work more than ever, #1 in Being Busy and Stressed. It’s the crucible through which productivity is forged, inspiration distilled. As a Leo, it’s rhetorical but worth asking: When are we not at our best if when we like the way we’re dressed? Coziness reigns today and makes sense of our indefinite status as WFH because it has an antecedent in how we brought cozy to the workplace: a uniform for when we needed to get the job done and armor ourselves in fits historically made for sweating it out. Team Epiphany is far and beyond a leader in promoting the sweatsuit as office attire. If that seems like a contradiction in terms, then you haven’t seen the merch.

Images Courtesy of:  ALLCAPSTUDIOS, Cherry, and END.

This posits me squarely as an erstwhile streetwear pariah with stuff to do, but, today, when it seems like so many forces beyond our control continue to shift the planet’s already crooked axis even further askew, undermining the hard work so many of us are doing; or, yesterday, when I got food delivered from the bar that taught me to drink Bloody Marys from a courier literally named Messiah; or every day, when the anxiety or cold sweats (choose your fighter, etc.) begins to hit, I take refuge in the thought that I and my loved ones have a much-beloved, however humble, ensemble of sweatsuits to turn to. They’re a gift, a godsend, and a good look.

America has a curious relationship with uniforms. We’re both drawn to them and opposed to any supposed limits to individual choice. It’s meme-like, almost. I’m in a definite minority to suggest that there’re more colors than Benetton knew of within sweatsuit choices; still, I likewise believe that there’s space and reason to get dressed in other garms, of course. Corresponding workwear outfits, Canadian tuxedos, and the occasional suit still hold plenty of appeal. Warmer months will call for shorts and so on and so forth. But, really, when I think of all of the pants, shirts with collars, zippers and buttons more generally that I’m neglecting in favor of my sweats and trackies, be rest assured that I save my best fits for my Animal Crossing avatar.︎