Wwhat should you wear when no one will see you? Spoiler alert: the answer isn’t “who cares.” It’s hibernation month, but we can still make it fashionable. Evening wear has until further notice been redefined as what to wear when drinking a box set on the sofa, not how to shine at parties. Long dark nights, cold, bank balances and New Year’s resolutions make staying at home the path of least resistance, and besides, everyone else is in the same boat so it’s not like you’re missing out on much.
This type of evening wear can be just as great, in its own way, as a dress and jewels. Hibernation chic is about optimizing the way you feel, not the way you look, but that doesn’t mean it has to be messy. I don’t see any logic in making this time of year even more depressing than it already is by dressing up in your oldest tracksuit bottoms and a worn-out sweater. There’s no need to abandon all dignity just because you’re at home with the curtains down. Self-time can be a treat, but only if you treat it as one.
In other words: be 10% more Gwyneth Paltrow. Think of what you wear to stay at home as a form of self-care. Relax in the comfort of your home and wear what will make your night on the couch the most comfortable. Stretch and lightness come first. Fabrics need to be soft and pliable, so you’re comfortable whether you tuck your legs under you on the sofa, place them on the coffee table, or get into a yoga position on the carpet.
Let’s break this down. Instead of burying yourself under thick sweaters, start with a thin layer that covers as much as possible. The goal is not only to prevent drafts, but to eliminate even the slightest possibility of drafts. The luxury of staying at home should be that, with enough careful layering, the specter of cold can be silenced, which has haunted this winter even more than most winters.
Leggings have been pushed out of the trend by the bottom part of the tracksuit on the scale of sports lower half intended for the public, but leggings are ideal home clothes, because they are comfortable and without bulkiness. The leggings have no pockets and may look exposed when worn in public, but are perfect at home.
On the top half, you need a long-sleeved shirt or a thermal layer that is generous in length. You want plenty of overlap with the leggings, and the goal is that at no point do you have to pull anything up or down to keep out the cold air. Not just long sleeves, but ideally extra long sleeves. You cannot feel heat if your joints are cold.
Once you have a nice base layer, it’s time to add something plush or chunky on top. Long cardigan, hooded top, half-zip. It could be a jumper dress – I’m quite partial to a loose knit dress that works with leggings and slippers for holiday wear, as well as leggings and boots for the office.
What you wear must flatter – not your silhouette, but your self-image. Wearing the prettiest, softest knit helps you see your time at home not as an absence of real fun, but as a moment to recharge your batteries, cocooned in something as soft as a cloud. That’s why reaching for pajamas and a dressing gown isn’t the answer, because the whole point of hibernation wear is to actively embrace home life, not just kill time until lights out.
The couch and a Netflix subscription are the hot Saturday nights out right now. And the dress code is what makes you feel absolutely fabulous.
Model: Eliana in Body London. Hair and makeup: Sophie Higginson uses GHd hair care and Tom Ford beauty. Sweater and leggings: The White Company. Shoes: Birkenstock