Over the past few months, I’ve started looking toward Scandinavia for wisdom in my quest for some much-needed inner peace. On the one hand, I’ve started to embrace friluftsliv, the Nordic lifestyle of embracing the great outdoors, by kicking off most days with a brisk walk to the top of Hoboken and back, breathing in the fresh winter air and centering myself.
But it’s been cold—really, really cold—in New Jersey lately, which is why when I return from those morning strolls, I’ve come to find solace in hygge, the Danish quality of “coziness and comfortable conviviality.” I’ll pour some hot coffee into my favorite mug, duck under a wool blanket, and lean into the snuggliest version of myself as I log on to work from home.
My wardrobe has increasingly come to reflect these two lifestyles, trading in button-downs and fitted jeans for cotton crewneck pull-overs and roomie joggers. But I had yet to discover the truest ideal intersection of friluftsliv and hygge until I got to test out this new wool hoodie from Allbirds.
Most people know Allbirds for their comfortable, eco-friendly shoes—I own the OG Wool Runners and the more workout-friendly Tree Dashers—but the brand recently started expanding into apparel after launching underwear. In October, they released a jumper, a puffer jacket, boxer briefs, and a T-shirt made from crab shells. Their latest garment is a clear nod to those prior launches, but this time the coziness factor is turned all the way up to 11.
When I put on the hoodie for the first time, it felt like a hug. I was struck by not only the softness of the merino wool, but also of the garment’s ample weight. It screams hygge (or it gently coos the dulcet tones of hygge), giving me a baseline of comfort on more stressful days and an added level of chill when I’m content to go full couch-potato mode. Plus, it’s classier than any hoodie I’ve ever owned, which makes me feel a little more confident on Zoom calls with the boss (if you’re reading this, I need a new dongle for my monitor).
It’s also an asset to my friluftsliv wardrobe, layering it under my jacket for polar vortex dog walks or the occasional outdoor, socially-distanced cocktail with a friend. As the weather starts to turn from frigid toward acceptably chilly, I could see it serving a good middle-ground between a more intense parka and a thinner hoodie. Given that it’s wool, it might not be my first choice for venturing out on a rainy day or in a snowstorm, but I will say that there’s a breathability to the moisture-wicking fabric that means you won’t be dripping sweat if the sun decides to peek its head out of the clouds.
The Allbirds Wool Hoodie is like a mix between a knitted sweater from your grandma, a slightly dressy quarter-zip, and the no-brainer sweatshirt you toss on when the radiator’s not working hard enough. That versatility is one of the reasons that I haven’t really taken it off this week other than to work out and shower, and why I’ll continue to wear it in the fall once life starts coming back to normal once again.
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