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Lately, whenever there's talk of "fashionable sweatpants" in the office—whether it's geeking out over En Noir's leather versions, Nanamica x Champion's herringboner-inducing coordinates or Club Monaco's actually affordable versions—one term keeps popping up: "cozy boy." As someone who keeps his ear to the ground when it comes to the small niche intersection of where menswear and rap slang connect, I felt obligated to find out where this term came from. And my research turned me to the A$AP Mob. On the track "Gotham City" off their Lords Never Worry mixtape, A$AP Ferg spits, "Real ni**as all black / Cozy boy so relax."
Prior to that, in a January 2012 interview on Lord of The Pyramids, A$AP Yams not only explains the origins of his nickname (it's derived from the Rick Ross and Triple C's song "YAMS"), but also claims to be working on a clothing line, saying, "I'm coming out with my own line of bucket hats and casual wear sweat suits and all that ya heard." Granted, he was probably speaking in jest, or referring to Trap Lord, A$AP Ferg's line of apparel. In short, it's become one of those Internet hip-hop culture memes perpetuated by sites like IMNOTATOY and A$AP Yams, who appears to be the true progenitor of the term.
According to my one Domincan friend Jose Mejia, who is from the Bronx, knows where to get the best tostones and is all about this sort of thing, “It comes from A$AP Yams I'm pretty sure, and it's just like, wearing extra comfortable clothing. It's dumb, it literally means nothing, but it's definitely spread around. The usual Tumblr suspects tout it all the time. I think that's a stretch as far as I know, it was really just some silly shit Yams started tweeting about that people took to as per usual."
The overall verdict: comfort and style aren't so far apart anymore.
Upon closer inspection of the way that Tumblr culture uses the phrase, which many of our own writers pay attention to, it seems the term "cozy boy" has been appropriated for any sort of clothing that looks mad comfortable. This doesn’t only include sweatpants, but also fur scarves, robes and luxe pajamas. In that sense, it’s pretty much everything the #menswear man is not: relaxed, untucked and decidedly not dressed to impress.
Instead of a double-breasted sportcoat and "dub monks," his go-to are Rick Owens kilted sweatpants and Raptor Jordan 7s. What we've called the "street goth" look over at Complex, a look characterized by rappers like A$AP Rocky mixing high-fashion basics like Alexander Wang suede baseball jerseys with streetwear brands like Blvk Scvle and SSUR, seems to have been reinterpreted by the Internet style cognoscenti as a small movement against dressing up all the time in favor of pricey loungewear and A LOT of bucket hats.
No, it's not exactly something that started on the Internet. Besides being something of a Harlem youth inside joke, it's more like the general direction menswear is heading. Hypebeast's debut issue featured "Nonchalant," an editorial by Akio Hasegawa featuring steezy men creatively loafing in an array of luxury loungewear from brands like Filemelange, James Perse and SASQUATCHfabrix. Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal recently published an article touting the rise of comfort in womenswear, menswear, cars and interior design. The overall verdict: comfort and style aren't so far apart anymore.
That doesn't mean there still isn't a difference between the two. While the bro-designers at San Francisco's BetaBrand have invented a visibly tacky pair of dress pant/sweatpant hybrids called the "Dress Pant Sweatpants," the dudes at Publish have been making their Jogger Pants for a while now. Other brands are catching on, judging from Club Monaco's Simon Trousers, which combine a basic olive trouser with elasticized cuffs. Sure, New Balance, Champion and Reigning Champ haven't really gone anywhere, but you can't deny they're more ubiquitous now than five years ago. Especially when Champion is concerned, who've recently unveiled collaborations with Urban Outfitters and Supreme—stuff that no doubt still can't hold a candle to the sort of reverse weave wonders pouring out from Champion's Japanese licensee.
To help you get a headstart on the cozy boy lifestyle, I’ve gone ahead and rounded up 10 of the coziest essentials you’ll need to be “about that life.” Stay comfy.
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