Trend Dissection 11: The Cosiness Concept

Collage by Aylea Skye/ Original Images by Unknown Sources

Collage by Aylea Skye/ Original Images by Unknown Sources

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” 

― Edith Sitwell 

Winter has finally set in and although somewhat idealistic, nothing could be fitting than the English poet’s thoughts on the season. Aside from the seemingly arctic temperatures, the leaves left over from autumn crunch as pedestrians quickly make their way from wherever they had to be to where they want to be…Home. During this period, there is nothing better after a long day than the familiarity, comfort and warmth of home. Similarly is it more relevant that we take inspiration from our Danish counterparts in adopting (and perfecting) the art of hygge.

Origins

The concept is known for its ties to Danish culture however its meanings trace across Europe. At once the word stems from the Norwegian word for wellbeing, the Old English word ‘hycgan’ meaning ‘to think or consider’, ‘hugge’, which originated in the sixteenth century, meaning ‘to embrace’, and the Old Norse term ‘hygga’, which means ‘to comfort’. Pronounced as ‘hoo-ga’, hygge first appeared in Danish writing in the late eighteenth century. Although there is no direct English translation, it can be roughly translated as cosiness. 

Concept 

There is no singular thing that represents hygge but rather the art of hygge is defined by a comfortable life and encapsulated in a good atmosphere and company. Taking inspiration from its etymology, cosiness, warmth and comfort all sum up the concept. Hygge is doing whatever possible to enhance your comfort level and live at ease. Hygge is spending more time at home. It is a good book, blankets and lit candles. Likewise, hygge is a good meal out with friends, a coffee break before heading back to work as is it a visit to a museum, and a stroll through the park. It can be said that we’re missing something. Clearly, our European counterparts are on onto something as Denmark and Norway regularly rank as two of the happiest countries in the world. Other countries, such as The Netherlands, Sweden and Germany all have respective words for this feeling. The question is why has it taken us so long to “get cosy”? As opposed to other European countries, Brits are often guilty of a less-than-ideal work-life balance, which can not only affect your social life but your physical and mental health. Reported as one of the most popular words in 2016 in the UK, hygge is a breath of fresh air. A sigh of relief from the rushed commutes, nights out and scheduled plans. It is a call to calm down and a reminder to take things easy, if only once in a while. Unlike the wellness trend, which is somewhat founded on results, hygge revels in enjoying the moment as it is and makes time for yourself and for building the memories and moments amongst loved ones. 

How?

With this in mind, exactly how does one hygge? Embrace hygge this winter with…Candles – Transform the atmosphere by burning a candle (or two). From the higher end of the spectrum, Byredo, Diptyque and Le Labo candles all come recommended, whereas Yankee Candles, Hopscotch London and Sanctuary candles reign supreme on the lower price scale. Home comforts – Blankets, throw cushions, rugs and extra pillows are welcome to make your home feeling as cosy as possible. 
Warming bowls – There is nothing better on a cold day than a warm bowl of porridge. Not only is it healthy and filling, but the simplicity in a bowl is also hygge in essence. Try this recipe or alter it with peanut butter, cinnamon and apples. (Recipe coming soon)
Wrap up – In long scarves, thick coats and gloves that protect 90% of your body from the harsh weather. Going out was never easier. 
Non-romantic dates – Revel in the time spent with friends and family at brunch, lunch or dinner. 
The spirit of Christmas – Hygge and Christmas often go hand in hand. Now it’s December, it’s officially socially acceptable to hang up Christmas decorations. Whether a tree, to lights, decorations instantly set a cosy tone to your home. 

LifestyleHannah Agbeni