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Top 10 Essential Items For Getting Cozy This Cozy Season

After five years in Northern California, I am embracing this midwest winter with great enthusiasm, eager to have an excuse besides “my personality” and “my various psychological problems” to not leave my house for three consecutive months.

Furthermore: I am so ready to get cozy, and it turns out I’m living with a real cozy enthusiast. Her name is Abby, and not a day goes by without the word “cozy” being spoken in our home.

When I mentioned in passing that I might be constructing a top ten about cozy necessities, within mere minutes my helpful and loving gal pal Abby had texted me an outline for “top 10 cozy things” (we were sitting in the same room). Working from that outline, I will present to you everything you need for a cozy lifestyle.

1. Two Sizes Too Big Fleece Zip-Ups

Merely three months ago, Abby and I were perusing the aisles of our favorite boutique, Goodwill, when she extracted two items from a rack and asked for my opinion on whether she should buy one of these items or both of them. I was surprised because both of the garments she had selected were truly godawful: large, bulky, tragically patterned fleece jackets I wouldn’t expect anybody to willfully wear before their 87th birthday or after 1987. Perhaps these patterns would’ve worked on a wool sweater, but on a fleece zip-up it seemed like a no-go. I gave her my opinion — “neither” — but, undeterred, she selected her personal favorite and brought it home.

Screenshot 2016-01-20 15.52.48

Since that fateful November afternoon, Abby has not gone a day without wearing what she refers to as “her cozy.” Every evening within an hour or two of coming home from work, she exclaims in a sing-songy voice, “time to put on my cozyyy!!!” and retreats to the bedroom, discarding her hipster apparel and emerging minutes later with a smile and a shimmy and that grand ol’ cozy. It’s a few sizes too big and therefore rests upon her body much like a poncho. The other day she was feeling grumpy, realized she’d not yet changed into her cozy, then changed into her cozy, and felt immediately better. It’s definitely the sexiest thing I’ve seen a butch woman wear since the ’90s when my Mom had a friend who only wore “Big Dog” t-shirts.

She spends so much time in her cozy (she even sleeps in it sometimes) that when I summon her image in my mind’s eye, I cannot help but also summon the green, blue, red and yellow pattern of that Alfred Dunner cozy. That’s right. Alfred Dunner. Remember the name. He makes enchanted cozies.

2. Sweatpants

It’s not a secret that I don’t need a reason to wear sweatpants all season, but sweatpants season is upon us and the reason is “it’s time to get cozy.” Abby’s notes: “sweet sweet sweatpants.”

3. Cozy Slippers


Abby’s notes for this section read, “Slips to slip your frozen toes into and remember that frostbite doesn’t often happen inside one’s house. Slips to keep you safe from frostbite.”

4. Electric Blankets


Personally, I imagined electric blankets existed solely to light human bodies on fire but it turns out that lots of people still use electric blankets without worrying that they will turn into a heap of blood and ash. I got a plaid faux “micro-mink / sherpa” electric blanket for Christmas from Abby’s mom, which was very exciting because the blanket is so soft and wonderful that I immediately wrapped myself in it like a burrito and never wanted to part from it. However, I did part from it because Abby is not afraid to plug in an electric blanket and therefore sleeps underneath it every night with the window wide open, which is cool for her, I think.

5. Memory Foam Pillows

According to my bank account, Memory Foam Mattresses will not become a part of my life any time soon. But when you can’t afford the real thing and there’s a sale at Big Lots, you can always spring for the travel-sized edition, am I right? Ladies? On this topic, Abby writes, “ohmylordyes.”

6. Another Really Soft Blanket


Abby living her best life

Ideally a down blanket (“a giant down ass blanket for your down ass self”) or a blanket that when you touch it, you feel like a queen. Like most items on this list, if you’re in the US, it’s best to seek these out at your local TJ Maxx or HomeGoods.

7. Warm Socks

This one wasn’t on Abby’s outline but are my current winter obsession. Putting on intensely thermal high-tech socks or especially soft winter socks when you get dressed in the morning is the best way to kick off the day with a little bit of cozy. You’d really have to intend to spend a few weeks in the frozen tundra or compete in the Winter Olympics to justify spending $25 on three pairs of socks… OR WOULD YOU?

8. A Netflix Subscription

“There needs to be an endgame in mind for all this coziness. Ladies, let 2016 be the year we #netflixandcozy.”

– Abby


9. “A Cozy Chair or Section Of The Couch”

“For when you absolutely if need be need to get out of the bed — but don’t forget the electric blanket!”

– Abby

10. Hoodies

As I remind you most winters, there is nothing quite as cozy as the hoodies in the Autostraddle Merch store. Even the sweatshirts that aren’t hoodies are cozy, they are softer than any other sweatshirts I have ever owned and I have owned a lot of sweatshirts. Plus the gal pal hoodies have THUMB-HOLES.

11. A Gal Pal and/or a Dog


Regarding gal pals, Abby writes, “For when the electric blanket just doesn’t cut the lady-lovin lyric She Keeps Me Warm.” Regarding dogs, she has indicated, “A dog… no need to say more. Not a cat. A dog.” 

If your landlord won’t let you have a pet and you don’t have a girlfriend or a close female friend who enjoys platonic cuddling, you can still be cozy, because the only thing on this list that truly matters is Item #1. If you have that, you’re all set.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3200 articles for us.


  1. This list makes me feel whole and understood. (I own every item on this list, two of most of these things.)

  2. I’m currently wearing slippers, plaid fleece sweatpants, a plaid fleece bathrobe, and a sweatshirt my mom has owned since before I was born.


  3. A buddy of mine always brings their slippers over to other people’s houses when hanging out. I immediately followed suit. What a fabulous idea! Bring cozy with you wherever you go!

    (This slips idea from Kade and Kade’s grandpa before them)

    • Missus’ BFF brings her sweatpants and slippers over to ours and gets fully changed so she can hang out in cozy wear. It’s a valid lifestyle choice.

    • I also started doing this last year and it has been one of the best decisions I ever made. I do not travel and/or hang out at other people’s houses without my slippers. They are integral to my life.

  4. I love this article! I miss Midwest winters and try to compensate by leaving the heat off as long as possible, so that I can wear my own cozy, an ancient sweatshirt from my dad’s teaching days that his students decorated in puff paint.

    Alternative to really soft blankets: crochet afghans, preferably two, or one layered over an inferior blanket. Cozy in warmth /and/ weight!

  5. Are you sure electric blankets won’t burn my house down? Because I feel pretty certain that they will do this. Along with the coffee maker I hardly use and yet don’t unplug. OMG I’m negligent! I don’t even have a sticker in my window about my dog for the firefighters! Can I go home now?

    • They turn off automatically if you leave them on for too long. Perfect for absent-minded icicles like us.

  6. One of my most valuable relationships in life is with my hot water bottle.

    But #11 is by far the most important. Wherever I am with my dog is cozy, even when I have to make him sit on my toes so I can start to feel them.

  7. Whenever I go to Goodwill I head straight to the men’s section and grab as many overly large sweaters as I can afford. They are a staple this time of year. Also, an electric blanket sounds devine and I would very much like one

  8. 1.Zip up fleece hoodie
    2.Hot Water Bottle with a cuddly cover
    3.Two sided couch blanket for cold and very cold days

    Are you sure those electric blankets don’t set you on fire? Cause yours looks amazing!

  9. I have neither a gal pal nor a dog, so I make do with my laptop. Throwing out heat like nobody’s business when charging, happy to snuggle all night and with instant access to Autostraddle & long distance friends, I think it’s a pretty close runner up.

  10. Also, for those on a budget (who isn’t tbh) memory foam mattress toppers can be pretty reasonably priced in comparison with pillows and mattresses, for that cozy feeling from your head to your toes.

  11. I grew up in the Midwest. Staying warm at all times is of UTMOST importance! These days, Darn Tough socks do the trick.

  12. Great list and highly relevant to my interests. Bloody freezing here in Yorkshire.
    I still fear electric blankets due to a tv special about the dangers of them back in the 80s. I just can’t.
    I would add longjohns to this list because layering a thermal Longjohn with sweatpants and knee length socks of some variety is a recipe for super leg cosy…and style.

  13. The only thing I asked for this Christmas was a fuzzy robe and let me tell you, it is life changing. I wear it every morning and nearly every night and it is the coziest. One advantage is has over a big fleece is that you can wear it without pants if you have roommates who aren’t constantly celebrating no pants o’clock. Also great right out of the shower. Cannot recommend enough, especially paired with cozy slippers, tea, and a happy lamp in the morning!

  14. The best part of living in Indiana in the winter (in contrast to Arizona) is the ability, nay the need, for an electric blanket to stay warm enough overnight.

    Because, you can warm up your bed BEFORE you get in it, which is wonderful. Wonderfully cozy!
    AND I have never fallen asleep so quickly and stayed asleep so soundly as the cold-winter-night-with-electric-blanket combo. It’s like being clobbered over the head with sweet, sweet sleep in the best possible way. I miss it so.

    p.s. NOT A CAT. A DOG. <3 Cats are for the internet, dogs are for my lap.

    • guess where my electric blanket came from, Rey. GUESS WHERE IT CAME FROM. okay i’ll tell you: it came from Indiana. (i mean, it wasn’t MADE there, but that is where it was gifted to me. SO)

      • Never have I been so cold as one winter morning in Indiana. I am pleased our electric blankets come from the same state. Now you and Abby are two cozy Michiganders!

    • Rey I cannot believe I never thought of warming up my bed with an electric blanket! This truly is life-changing advice. I’ve been wearing like 3 layers to bed including a hat some nights and instead, I could get an electric blanket!

  15. Memory foam mattress toppers! Much cheaper than an entire memory foam mattress and now my bed is so damn comfortable I have a hard time extracting myself from its embrace.

    The other day I woke up because I couldn’t move my legs and this was worrying. Luckily, my legs were only very solidly trapped between a dog and the wall.

  16. I also have several of those heating pack things that are essentially divided cloth bags filled with flax seeds (what are they really called? we call them “bed buddies”) that you heat in the microwave and then they stay warm for a long time. I use them for keeping my toes warm and also heat one and tuck it into my bed before I brush my teeth so that when I climb in the bed is already toasty warm. Highly recommend.

  17. FLEECE. Fleece is my life in winter. And big fluffy down vests. The first thing I did when I came back from work was take off my bra and put on a big fleece sweater and fleece hat and down vest. Basically, my winter warming strategy is to turn into a fluffy bundle of layers.

  18. This post is both adorable and hilarious! I live in Canada so being cozy is a high priority. Valuable tips :D

  19. Hi Reise, I think you forgot simple carbs.

    Oh wait, is that just me who pours buttered sourdough toast down my throat all winter? ;)

    • BUTTERED CINNAMON RAISIN TOAST. Now I maybe need to go to the grocery store but that would involve leaving my cozy pile of down comforter, dog fluff, flannel pants, and perfectly fitted upholstered furniture for wool socks, down coat, and all the layers. And dealing with the snow on my car. Very cold snow.

      Baking cinnamon raisin bread would also very cozy. Hmmm… do I have raisins? Or yeast? Maybe muffins. Ok, ending comment but YES to the buttered warm bread-like objects.

  20. I think I own almost everything on your list. The only good thing about winter is that it’s the time of the year to get cozy!

  21. Yes to this whole post! As someone with multiple fatigue & pain causing chronic illnesses cosiness is my métier.

    My own sleep set-up includes:
    – a memory foam mattress topper (so much cheaper, & more portable, than a memory foam mattress)
    – an electric blanket that goes under the top-sheet of the bed & an electric heat-pad (both are incredible for back pain & the latter also for cramps, if you get them, & any other aches). I would recommend either to pretty much everyone – who doesn’t get back ache sometimes?
    – memory foam pillows – super great if you carry tension in your neck & shoulders also good to sit on if normal chairs hurt!
    – so many of those lavender bean-bag things you microwave: some soft toy style ones, some long thin ones which are heaven over the shoulders/down the length of the back that I use whenever I have the spoons to go upstairs and microwave them
    – loose cotton pjs paired with a selection of two sizes bigger than me jumpers that either used to belong to my Granddad or my Dad randomly bought me from garden centres
    – bed socks & slippers
    – fluffy blankets

    Whenever I move between uni & home like half of the car is just my bedding. I’m still seriously eyeing up that plaid electric blanket tho!

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