What's with My Obsession with Gay Layers?

One can never own too many denim jackets.

Photo from my Instagram

You should all be very familiar with my obsession with layers—maybe I haven't written on fashion for quite some time now, but at least 10% of my 170 and counting posts have the word or concept of layers either in the title, as a main theme, or at least as a significant point. Like, we get it, Natalie! You love layers! Even when my style has taken at least one million turns in my four years of writing about my style, layers always seem to be at the core of every decision I make. This feels fairly difficult to avoid, as layering is just the simple act of putting clothing on our bodies, yet I always get overly excited about the challenge of being able to successfully wear more than just two articles of clothing. Still! To this day! It began in my high school femme days of wearing dresses with tights with knee-high socks with a sweater AND two jackets, it transformed into an experimental side of fashion when I began college, similar to any content Man Repeller used to produce in 2016, but now, as I sadly see my love for fashion begin to dwindle, I notice my love for layers has only increased.

So, is loving layers actually a fashion thing? Can't practically anyone who somewhat enjoys getting dressed also be infatuated with the act, even if they could care less about style as an artistic process? And maybe, just maybe, is my inability to let go of this lifelong trend, if you dare call it that, a sign of me losing interest in fashion, as layering is actually not about fashion at all?

I've returned to writing on style to investigate an act that may possibly be about the complete opposite of style. And, as both my mind and writing have shifted to queer content, I began to wonder if this whole layering thing was actually just a gay thing. I continued to think, Isn't everything I do today just resembling of queer culture? Whenever I consistently tweet, "lesbian culture is [insert literally any facet of my personality or life]," I realize that I add this intro to practically anything on my mind. I exponentially get more invested in astrology and have unfortunately allowed it to dictate my life, because I'm gay! I can't help it! I talk about everything queer on Buffy like it's the air that I breathe, I reference The L Word to my straight friends assuming they've seen it three times like I have, and I follow more lesbian meme accounts on Instagram than actual friends I know IRL. So essentially, we get it, Natalie! You're gay! And maybe this possibly conscious act to make my 20th year of living obnoxiously queer can hint to the fact that my continuous obsession with layering may just be queer as well. Shall we investigate?

The first time I consciously understood layering to be a gay thing is when I was about to leave my friend's apartment in Stockholm last October to go to a lesbian bar with a few other queer women, already a queer act in itself. As we put on our outer layers, my friend proclaimed, "We're all wearing gay jackets!" Immediately after this was stated, I decided we had to have photographic evidence of this moment, which is seen in the above selfie. Why were they all queer layers? I truly could not tell you with any logical reasoning, besides that Faith from Buffy proves that leather is inherently gay, it's a known fact that queer women can't stay away from denim jackets, adding a corduroy detail to anything just seems very queer, and the bomber jacket? Not really a sound explanation for that one, except that it's just, well, gay. Then I thought: Are all layers gay, then, especially if worn by gay women? Is my decision to continuously buy denim jackets, although I already own five, only a decision that can be made by queers? Do queer women have a monopoly over layers such as these, making any instance they wear a jacket an act of queer identity?

With this thought in the back of my head for the past few months, notably when I couldn't stay away from purchasing any form of layer (that is, a light jacket that can easily be worn over and under other articles of clothing) at a thrift store instead of articles of clothing I actually needed, my speculation on queer layers was confirmed through one certain group conversation that happened just last week, discussing our coat wearing habits. It went something like this:

Friend #1: I hate having to wear such a big coat when it's almost spring!

Me: That's why I instead wear, like, five different layers with my leather jacket layered on top. 

Friend #2, a fellow queer woman: That's such a gay thing omg

I heard this statement after I was in the process of brainstorming this piece, and I immediately began to mentally write this story, knowing that my assumptions about queer layers weren't just a figment of my imagination. Why is this such a gay thing??? I wholeheartedly agreed with her, but instantly began to ponder on the inherent connection between being gay and rather wanting to wear five layers than a sensible, winter coat.

I already began to depend on light jackets rather than putting effort into my style—I treat them as my crutch when I have no idea what tf to wear, which happens to be at least six days of the week this year. Adding my new thrifted oversized work jacket over a simple tee and a pair of pants took only about three seconds to create, and doing this every day of the week but with a slightly different shade of jeans or swapping the tee for a sweater would make an equally interesting outfit, although the same layer was being worn every single day. Evidence below of my current style uniform:

And when the jacket gets tired? I'll swap it for a new one, because that's just how obsessed I am with layers. I've already said this before, but I own five denim jackets!! I have so many options! Sometimes I'd wear two jackets at once to switch things up, which I'm constantly reminded of when my roommate asks me why I'm doing such an extraneous act. I could never answer this question, besides that I just felt like it, but now, after my queer revelation, maybe I choose to wear two jackets at the same time to subtly showcase a queer style. Maybe it's the new form of flagging, and wearing two jackets, especially if it's a denim one layered under a leather one (the gayest combo of them all), is evidence that I'm into women. Or is simply any somewhat interesting layer a form of flagging? A few weeks ago, a beautiful Scottish woman that I ordered food from was gushing about how much she loved my jacket (as seen in the first photo of this post), and I couldn't help but flirt back. Maybe she wasn't making any romantic advances, but at least it felt like it—complimenting clothing is a classic form of gay flirting.

Even if all sexual identities stan layers just as much as me, it feels better, more sacred, to have the act be one for queer people, and queer women especially. I use them now as a gay safety blanket, when taking my vulnerable self out into the wild feels too difficult without the facilitation of at least three layers, to protect me from both the cold and the scary world us queers live in.

Photo from my Instagram

Also, it's just a known fact that denim jackets, especially when paired with jeans to create a Canadian tux, is the gayest 'fit, next to a literal suit.

Happy layering, queers!


King Princess Reminded Me to Love My Gayness

A dykon in her own right.

Photo from the Pussy is God music video

What is a dykon, you ask? I'll provide two definitions—the first is from Urban Dictionary, and it states that a dykon is "any celebrity or cultural icon who is popular among lesbians." Yet, UD doesn't state that this person has to be a lesbian, interestingly enough, but when said dykon does identify as a lesbian, she holds even more powers. Enter the second definition—a dykon is, in the simplest of terms, the musician King Princess. I choose to label her as a definition, as she seems to define every aspect of what a dykon truly is. A dyke? Most definitely so. Popular among lesbians? You got it, as told by the swarm of lesbians who made an appearance at her show two nights ago in the cozy venue of 9:30 Club in DC. 

I remember first discovering the artist, who goes by Mikaela Straus IRL, right when her debut EP was released earlier in 2018. I assumed I would give her only one listen and give up as she seemed to be defined as a pop artist whose fanbase consists of teens who love The 1975 and Halsey. Yet, she broke these limits as her irresistible voice in her first song, "Make My Bed," lured me in, both in her musical style and in the singer herself. Was I in love with the music, or did my absurd amount of queer desire for the musician get confused for admiration of her songs? Five more listens and an extremely long IG stalking session later, I realized it was exactly both. Discovering that she's not only very gay, but also loved by every queer woman and resembles my type almost too perfectly, sprouted an immediate obsession. I realized that I had no one like this while figuring out my sexuality, aka a gay musician who sings about queer desire like Julien Baker sings about vulnerability—like any other part of life. Her queer normalization not only was evident in her music, but also her everyday life, as shown by her Instagram: calling herself a "dyke bitch" and "daddy" several times, posting about Alison Bechdel, and wearing gay 'fits like this:

A post shared by miss king (@kingprincess69) on

So, eight months later, I had the privilege of taking this queer desire and making it realized when I saw her in the flesh, where my small crush transformed into a gay obsession. I wished to both be her and be under her, the classic lesbian narrative that seems to be at the center of all of our unattainable crushes. While I sometimes feel this way for other lady musicians (Alana Haim and Angel Olsen being at the top of my list), it was comforting to know that Mikaela was just as gay as the rest of us. And even more powerfully, I wasn't the only one in the audience who felt this way—I was surrounded by a flock of other lesbians and queer women who also held this queer desire, where the crowd unabashedly proclaimed their gayness for the woman throughout her hour-long set. She returned the love, consistently asking, "How are you gays feeling?" and even telling us we impregnated her just due to how much we praised her.

In between every song, her goofy smiles and overtly queer comments made her admiration for her fans more than obvious, where a large percentage of the fans were out and proud queer teens. Even if these 16-year-olds weren't this gay outside of the gay safe zone, as KP calls it, this space fostered this form of self-love, which is so crucial for queer youth that are not yet entirely sure where they fit into our heteronormative society. Many say King Princess is the reason why they feel comfortable in their queer skin at such a young age, and I only wish I had that when growing up. Comparing my experience as a 20-year-old, where I've fortunately been out and vocal about my queerness for years now, to those of the baby gays who populated most of the venue was an almost surreal experience—I realized that this might have been their first time being surrounded by this many other queer people, all joined collectively by their love of her music, their love of the musician herself, and, most importantly, their love of their own gay identities.

Photo from her Instagram

And the music! The! Music! She became even more of a dykon through her performance, playing her old hits that organized everyone in perfect harmony, all belting her very queer lyrics in unison. She begins one of my favorites, "1950," with "I hate it when dudes try to chase me," and a fan immediately yells "me, too!" and she continues to sing, "But I love it when you try to save me 'cause I'm just a lady," implying that "you" is indeed a woman. The crowd sings the full song with her, where we chant the gay love ballad both to her and for ourselves, confirming our queerness with the simplest of lyrics. We sing about pussy together, we dance to new, unreleased tunes together, we feel gay emotions during a new song she tells us to "grab the nearest dyke to slow dance with" for.

While at times it feels that queer messages sometimes give off the typical "love is love" undertone, where queer love is no different than what is deemed normative, or even that the personal is political, King Princess is instead very personal just to show that she really loves being gay and that you should, too. Instead of singing about the oppression of queer lives, she instead sings about how wonderful our lives can be as queer people and that queer love may just be better than its hetero counterpart. She normalizes her queerness in a way where her fans who may be questioning can do the same, making her the queen of Big Dyke Energy.

While I have been vocal in the past about loving my gayness, I, at times, forget to practice this form of self-love, especially when I feel detached from my own identity or feel the conflicting pain of being a lesbian rather than the infinite amount of shameless love. But Mikaela reminded me to love my gayness, to love my gay peers, to embrace my queer desire, and to never modify who I am just for someone's comfort. I'm exuberant that the rest of the crowd could also feel this revelation, especially for those who haven't been able to come to terms with it yet. And maybe that's why King Princess holds so many relentless fans—not just due to how good she looks in a pair of Dickies or her insane amount of musical talent, but because she preaches that being gay is not only okay, but the best way to be. Or, as she tells in a recent interview, "It's not trendy to be gay—it's just everyone has been gay, we been had been gay for so long! And now people are just getting hype to it, and that makes me super happy." Well said, Mikaela. Well said.

Listen to her music here, and watch her videos here.


20gayteen Was Very Queer Indeed, As Told by My Netflix Viewing Activity

And Hulu and movie ticket receipts.

Everything Sucks!, 2018

My very queer year was led both by my personal growth as a lesbian, but also by my viewing habits. Sadly, my time in front of the screen seems to out-gay my own queer journey, as, let's face it, I was glued to the screen for far too many hours in 2018. I've been one of those diehard TV and movie stans ever since Glee hooked me in my middle school years; I still found time for it through my high school angst and my busy schedule come university. Hell, I even took a course on it last semester when I was studying in Stockholm. I've seemed to use the medium to direct my life, especially with gay content—even if my love life is miserably failing, at least I have my immense crush on the most definitely bisexual Faith Lehane from Buffy to rely on. Queer TV and film was, and still is, my escape from the heteronormative reality that could never satisfy me on its own. It's always been there for me when I've been down, like a pint of dairy-free ice cream—always makes me immediately feel better and doesn't make me feel like shit 20 minutes later.

And folks, the beginning of my 2018 was in desperate need of that pint of dairy-free ice cream, maybe ten pints. It was off to a rough start, as many of my Januarys are. But, as television always is, it was there to lift me from those pits of despair and make everything (temporarily) better. Of course, these lows could only be cured by the gayest of shows and films, making my viewing habits very queer, almost too queer—I'm pretty sure the only straight media I watched (and loved) was A Star Is Born. After finishing my year off with three iconic gay films, I realized that my whole year was filled with moments like these, as, well, it is 20gayteen. Many use the term to reference Hayley Kiyoko and other queer musicians, which was obviously very relevant to me, yet it feels even more fitting when applied to what I watched. Shall we go through those queer televisual moments, month by month, perhaps? 

Syd and Elena in One Day at a Time — S2E5: Locked Down

I started off my 20gayteen in February with One Day at a Time, which is a PG show meant for middle schoolers but that I also thoroughly enjoyed. It not only showcases one of the main characters, Elena, as a Latina lesbian, but she also dates the nonbinary character of Syd. And it's completely normalized! Also hilarious in a super cheesy, family-friendly way. Basically, I wish I had this show when I was growing up, and it also made me officially decide to only watch media with queer characters. Which led me to...

Emaline and Kate in Everything Sucks! — S1E10: We Were Merely Freshmen

Netflix also released Everything Sucks! in the same month, which is so good that I would gladly watch the short season several more times. For the first time ever, I actually saw myself in the lesbian character of Kate Messner, whose nuanced coming out process is so beautifully portrayed. Plus it's based in the '90s! Meaning Tori Amos and lots of gay '90s looks! Or better yet, a gay version of Freaks and Geeks. It got cancelled after the first season, which I'm still greatly disappointed about, but hey, at least we got the privilege of seeing Kate swoon over every lesbian couple she saw at the Tori Amos concert she went to.

Willow and Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer — S3E16: Doppelgangland

Although I've already seen Buffy the Vampire Slayer at least five times, come March, I decided to do another Buffy rewatch because 20gayteen. Although it's nowhere near as gay as the other ones I mention, this rewatch made me realize how queer the show can be with only two out lesbian characters. Besides the fact that Faith and Buffy were most definitely involved and that Willow and Tara are the number one lesbian couple in all of television's history, it also sprouted a huge fanbase for queer girls all around the world. I even did research on it in that TV class I mentioned earlier (click here if you want to see me geek out about Buffy for ten pages)! Buffy soon became a rite of passage for queer girls, kind of like The L Word but minus the R rating and instead with vampires and gay witches. What more could you want?

Tessa Thompson and Janelle Monáe in Dirty Computer

April was defined by the resurgence of my obsession with Janelle Monáe when she released Dirty Computer, both a musical album and an emotion picture. This 48 minute film pairs Monáe's genius music with a deeply personal narrative where Monáe's character, Jane 57821, plays a human coined by the term "dirty computer" due to her deviant identity of being a black queer woman. The film delves into her previous memories that are all very queer, and it's obvious that Tessa Thompson's major role in the film hints at a possible relationship IRL. No matter what is reality and what is fiction, it's certain that Monáe's work makes me really happy to be gay.

Shane and Alice in The L Word — S4E5: Lez Girls

I hate to be every lesbian out there, but The L Word will forever be a show I can watch over and over again, which I did in July when I was starting to feel those end-of-summer blues. Apart from its problematic attitudes towards bi and trans people, although it does have its moments of trying to be inclusive, this show is the guiltiest pleasure for any gay woman. More of a queer rite of passage than Buffy, but less quality and more lesbian drama that is so irresistible. I always go back to it because it's the only show that has literally zero straight characters, but more so because determining my L Word placement is far too fun. Currently, I'm a Dana who wants to be a Helena who wants to date a Shane. What about you?

Alia Shawkat and Laia Costa in Duck Butter

In the same month, I watched Alia Shawkat's film Duck Butter on Netflix, which is SO UNBELIEVABLY GOOD. Anything that Shawkat stars in will inevitably be watched by me, so after finding out that she wrote and acted in a super gay film where she and the wildly attractive Laia Costa spend 24 whole ass hours being together and having sex on the hour, I immediately clicked play. I might be biased because I'm in love with the both of them, but it's an extremely raw film that perfectly encapsulates queer intimacy in a sort of gross but very emotionally real way. GO WATCH IT NOW.

Casey and Izzie in Atypical — S2E9: Ritual-licious

Come September, I started yet another show solely because I saw on Tumblr that one of the characters, Casey, might be queer. Commence my watch of Atypical, a delightful series that depicts a semi-disorderly family, including a son who's on the spectrum and a daughter who's navigating her possible bisexuality. I won't give away too many spoilers, but Casey, once again, reminds me of myself so much when I was coming to terms with my queerness, making me only wish to watch shows that have actually relatable queer female leads. Plus, she always wears the most wonderfully gay 'fits, and the actress who plays her is somehow even cooler than her character (and also queer!).

Isak and Even in Skam — S3E5

It's October, and I still don't know how to stop rewatching shows! This time, it was my fourth  rewatch of season three of Skam, which is probably my favorite show in the universe, right next to Buffy. I was inspired solely because this was my second month living in Sweden (yes, I know it's Norwegian). If you want to discover the magic of Scandinavian media but also watch the most honest portrayal of a gay teen coming to terms with his sexuality (among many other things), give it a watch! The other three seasons are also excellent, but not as gay, if you were curious.

Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody

All that needs to be said here is that I've been a diehard Queen fan for the past 12 years and that watching Bohemian Rhapsody in November was everything I've ever wanted and more and that Rami Malek's rendition of Mercury was frighteningly good and that I want all of his outfits and that (finally) it portrays the musician as super, undoubtedly queer. Gayest movie of 2018, possibly?

Leila and Sadie in The Bisexual

The under-the-radar show titled The Bisexual was watched in a single day in November, as it's only six short episodes long. In my honest opinion, this show is so insanely good that every queer person should be required to watch it. Created by and starring Desiree Akhaven, who also directed The Miseducation of Cameron Post and Appropriate Behavior, both very queer films, the series showcases the character Leila who grapples with her possibly shifting sexuality after being in a longterm relationship with a woman. It throws every misconception of bisexuality in the trash and displays the notion of queerness post coming-of-age as this messy, even uncomfortable navigation that seems even less figured out than our pre-coming out years. In a world where so few honest bisexual representations exist, this show was very much needed. More people need to watch this! You heard it from me first!!!

Rachel Weisz and Olivia Colman in The Favourite

We've hit a gay home run, ladies! December was the queerest month of viewing habits, as I just left Stockholm and am feeling very, very sad about it. So commence all the gay media! I discovered my huge crush on Rachel Weisz after watching The Favourite and Disobedience in the span of two nights. The Favourite may just steal Bohemian Rhapsody's prize for being the gayest movie of 2018 because, you guys, this movie is so gay that the male characters only exist as meaningless and laughable plot fillers. It's Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone trying to out-gay each other for Queen Anne's affection, and it's so ridiculous and strange that queer can describe it in more ways than one. And with Disobedience, an entirely different story emerges—Rachel Weisz's character of Ronit returns to her previous Orthodox Jewish life to only find unresolved feelings for Esti, aka Rachel McAdams, her childhood friend who she most definitely was (and still is) in love with. Lots of gay tears, basically. Also a very dangerous decision to watch both in such a short time span, as I've decided I'm madly in love with Rachel Weisz and literally can't stop thinking about her and how she's somehow 28 years older than me.

Mac in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia — S13E10: Mac Finds His Pride

This one may not seem very fitting, but this month I finally finished It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia on Hulu, which is way queerer than you might assume [major It's Always Sunny spoilers coming up, btw]. I've been on-and-off watching the show for years, and this year I finally got to the episodes where the character of Mac comes out as gay several times, as he's denied this identity probably three times as much due to his Christian faith. I watched the show solely because of how ridiculously funny it is, but this gay addition makes it all the more better. The show never took itself seriously until season 13 that was released this year, where it ended with Mac attempting to find his place in the world as a gay man. He comes out to his imprisoned father through a super emotional contemporary dance that resembles his inner storm, as displayed by his vision of dancing with God, who is also a woman, in a storm. Tears were shed for the first time in all of my It's Always Sunny viewing history. It's like the writers knew it was 20gayteen and I was watching.

Agnes and Elin in Fucking Åmål

I had to end 20gayteen with a bang, so I went for a Swedish classic to celebrate my very queer time in Stockholm with Fucking Åmål (or titled Show Me Love in English). I definitely sold one of my limbs to find a version with English subtitles, but it was entirely worth it, as this is the cutest gay flick that has ever existed. I'm not sure if it's because they're Swedish or because it was released in the '90s, but this coming-of-age film is way too wholesome for my gay heart and makes me wish I found love as a teen. It strangely depicts queerness in a non-fetishy way for something made in the '90s, and it also has the most iconic coming out/ending scene in the entirety of all movies. So now all I can do is wish you luck on finding English subtitles, or you can buy the DVD if you happen to live in the past and still own a DVD player.

In short, it's become apparent that I watch way too much TV, honestly an embarrassing amount, and I should probably temporarily deactivate my Netflix account and do something with my life. Or, I can wait for 2019 and hope there's even more queer media. Happy watching, girls and gays!

Did you watch anything notably queer this year that I didn't? Comment them below; I love new recommendations!


Hygge: A Meaningless Word to Some, a Fashion Statement to Others

Definitely easier to pull off than to pronounce correctly.

Just to clarify: hygge is a Danish concept, not a Swedish one. We have fika and even the term mysig (which is basically impossible to translate in English, but mostly means "cozy" that can only be visually described by being next to a blazing fire inside a Swedish cottage in the winter), but hygge is strictly a Danish thing. It feels that it can only be reserved for Denmark because it also, like mysig, has no direct English translation. Google Translate refers to it as "fun," which feels very, very wrong, especially as I visited Denmark earlier this month and "fun" is not the way to describe my experience.

Cozy? Exciting, but in a lowkey way? Happy-inducing, but again, in a lowkey way? A combination of all three? Hygge. That's better. Even if I can't put into words what my five-day long hygge adventure was like, I know that hygge is the proper term. Think warm coffee shops with friendly staff that you can spend hours in; cozy bars that specialize in the best Danish beer; even just spending hours of your vacation lying in bed because it's too cold outside, but without feeling severe amounts of fomo. That's hygge for ya, at least my perception of it. If you're Danish and think I'm completely wrong on this interpretation, please call me out on it. But otherwise, I'd like to bring hygge to my attitude every winter. It makes freezing temps and seasonal depression so much more fun!

The past two winters I've experienced have been more than miserable. Having to wear five different layers and dealing with little to no sunlight always put me in some sort of funk that only spring and summer would get me out of. Now, of course being in Sweden, this funk is heightened—it's way colder and the sun sets two hours earlier than back in the states (I'm writing this at 3:30pm and it is pitch black outside, btw). The past week has given me a glimpse of what seasonal depression is truly like, and folks, it's nothing I would wish on even my worst enemies. Getting myself to leave my (warm!) apartment just to see the sun for five or less hours feels futile, and attempting to enjoy my last month in this city is really, really hard. But for some odd reason, getting dressed in this sad, sad weather is one of the few things that I find exciting. Fall in Stockholm got me weirdly excited, which was already unexpected enough, but now winter? Honestly, I'm just confused. I've been a summer gal through and through; colorful vintage dresses and various mules have been my style saviors the past few years. But now that I'm forced to face the dark void that is Sweden, I guess I better embrace the Danish concept and bring hygge to everything I do, style included.

Sweater and jeans are vintage. Turtleneck by J. Crew (I will stand by the tissue turtleneck until my dying day, btw). Shoes are unknown, but I like these a lot.

Of course, my journey with hygge began in Denmark, of all places. The wind that literally blew me over multiple times forced me to wear a turtleneck under my thickest of sweaters and not touch anything but my tried and true vintage Levi's. I followed this outfit recipe for the next four days, half in Aarhus and half in Copenhagen, and I now call this trip my test run for how to dress for Swedish winters. I used to be against the idea of style uniforms, I embraced them for a bit when winter ruined me just one year ago, and now I realize that Scandinavia is a place that not only encourages, but requires a sartorial uniform. It's too cold to experiment! My months spent worrying about my fashion sense going down the drain from living here vanished as I realized that mixing and matching turtlenecks and sweaters is actually really fun. If I'm feeling more adventurous, I can swap a sweater for a button-up and leave it unbuttoned most of the way to show off my trusty turtleneck. I can switch my classic Levi's for a pair of purple corduroys I thrifted earlier this year to fight the stereotype that Swedes only wear black in the winter (which, by the fact, is very true). Hygge paved the way to a winter that can actually be fun in terms of style; outfit repeating is not frowned upon here. It's celebrated! Maybe I have worn this pair of jeans everyday for the past two weeks. But it's sad and cold and dark, we have better things to worry about than if we're wearing a pair of pants five times too many. 

This style epiphany has also translated to other parts of my Swedish experience; I've been more okay with spending time by myself, specifically in the confines of my warm apartment, than having to be busy 24/7. Getting out into the city just to enjoy an hour-long fika might be a minor accomplishment, but it's still an accomplishment! Hygge may directly translate to fun, but it could mean the opposite—taking time to decompress is the best thing for our mental clarity, especially when this lack of sunlight is driving me to week-long depressive episodes. So if all you can put together is a turtleneck under a sweater with the pair of jeans you wear way too often, congratulate yourself—winter is hard.

And then I couldn't help but wonder... can hygge even be translated to the warm summer months?