What Does Cozy Look Like in 2021? Take the Quiz.

Justine Carreon
·4 min read
Photo credit: Courtesy
Photo credit: Courtesy


Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

As creatures of comfort, we're resurrecting ELLE.com's Cozy Week. In order to armor ourselves for 2021, we're prepping you during the hazy days between Christmas and NYE, covering all things sweatpants, bath goods, and all the feel-good content we deserve to close out the year.

We don't blame you if you struggled with the term 'cozy' in 2020. Living through months of a global pandemic, social unrest, and political turmoil has been a never-ending act of self-preservation—one a face mask never soothed. The act of forced isolation, often rebranded as relaxation, has for many induced an anxiety attack, prompting the question, How can I be cozy while the world is burning?

Unsurprisingly, the pandemic created a rise in anxiety and depression amongst young adults, and quarantine eerily resembled that hazy week between Christmas and New Year's, where days melt into one another and your parents' general acts of kindness suffocate you. As our stay-at-home orders lengthen, we're prepping ourselves for 2021 with the armor we need to make it through the end of the year: We're resurrecting ELLE.com's Cozy Week to get our feel-good needs met.

But first, let's get figure this out: What is cozy in 2021? Do the old iconographies of hygge still hold true? Are fireplaces actually cozy, or just cozy in theory? We investigate and ask you, our fine readers, to weigh in. Remember, this isn't a matter of whether you like the following things—who doesn't enjoy a toasty fire or roasted butternut squash blitzed into a creamy soup—but whether they actually bring you the feeling of comfort and ease. Sound off on all the disputed symbols of coziness in our contentious quiz below.

String lights

Photo credit: Helin Loik-Tomson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Helin Loik-Tomson - Getty Images

I once engaged in a lengthy discourse over our love of string lights, but has the romance faded? Now mostly relegated to dorm rooms, string lights don't twinkle quite like they used to, but can a cozy space even be established if tiny bulbs aren't scotch-taped to the walls? Because if string lights can't live through this year, what will light our path to the new beginnings of 2021?

[Editor's note: String lights in a backyard are totally different and forever okay.]


If quarantine taught us anything, it's that sweatpants are the superior leisurewear bottom. Leggings, by contrast, are tight by definition. Unless you're working out, how many of you actually love a restricted calf suffocating in lycro?

Leather couches

The cabincore aesthetic of a chesterfield couch or a well-worn brown leather sofa is cozy on paper, but what happens when skin-to-leather contact occurs? Velvet couches can also take a seat in this conversation because sweating is not cozy—and therefore, debatable.

Drinking a hot beverage in bed

Photo credit: Milan_Jovic - Getty Images
Photo credit: Milan_Jovic - Getty Images

According to scientists and Instagram influencers, people sometimes drink tea atop plush duvet covers. Brazenly handling a mug filled to the brim with dark liquid really makes you appreciate side tables, but when your home has become your entire world, it only makes sense to sip a bev in bed. Should this activity should be reserved for Getty stock images and 2000s-era indie movies we can no longer stomach watching in full?

Heated blankets

The benefits of a toasty throw blanket is undisputed, but heated blankets are a fire hazard. Perhaps the anxiety of baking a yeast infection is lower for some than others. Cozy, or not?


Photo credit: Lindsay Upson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Lindsay Upson - Getty Images

Sitting at a bonfire is a schooching game of musical chairs. Loser gets smoke in your eyes.

Nap dresses

The trend of nightgowns as day dresses enchanted the nation this year, as lounging in one definitely aids in cosplay as a Jane Austen heroine. Maybe it's just me, but I don't find hiking up a dress to pee in the middle of the night to be a cozy pursuit.

Monochrome living rooms

If you don't spill red wine over your eggshell bouclé couch or your freakishly clean faux sheepskin rug, I just don't think we'd get along on a spiritual level. Monochrome living rooms are becoming an aspirational interior design aesthetic, but how cozy are they? Does living in an all-white room make you feel safe and snug, or are you trapped in a sci-fi film?


We as a society have evolved past this inherently itchy fabric thanks to cashmere and faux fur throws. Sure, wool blankets look cozy across an armchair, but who wants to bundle themselves up in a scratchy textile to watch Bridgerton when your skin is suffering from seasonal eczema?

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