It’s cold! Now that it’s officially freezing, we've packed away the last remnants of our hot girl summer and decided to embrace a new mood: gremlin girl winter. It's about living your best life and giving zero f*cks for the sake of comfort. Red wine in bed, back-to-back movies and Uggs in public are all signs you're doing it right.
On TikTok, the new home of viral phrases and extremely niche trends, the concept has been bubbling away for a while; largely overseas and called things like ‘sad girl autumn’ or #feralgirlsummer (the sardonic reaction to the hot girl summer that wasn’t; thanks Covid).
Here in Aotearoa, we have our own unique take on winter comfort - or discomfort - and it usually involves freezing in an uninsulated rental. Comments abound referencing 'cold Auckland girl winter'. One of my favourite TikTok creators Brittany Cosgrove (@brattycosgrove) shared a post last month that really summed up the vibe shift of the moment:
“For the Southern Hemisphere babes, hot girl summer is over it’s now gremlin girl winter, where you add 15 pillows to your bed, cry every day, eat like shit and wear the same clothes for days at a time.”
The caption reads, "I hate it here." Perfect gremlin girl behaviour.
This is really just another version of ‘goblin mode’, described earlier this year by the Guardian as “slobbing out and giving up”. It’s being messy and unapologetically chaotic. It’s that gross at home behaviour that we all do, even the most chic and pulled together.
“It’s about a complete lack of aesthetic,” explained Dave McNamee, whose tweet about an unhinged cat eating being the epitome of ‘goblin mode’ went viral (I can’t explain why, but posting on Twitter - as opposed to lurking on Twitter - is very gremlin girl).
It also relates a little to another TikTok trend that the media is trying to make happen: the ‘messy hot aunt’ (a reaction to the minimalist perfection of the ‘coastal grandmother’) who drinks, encourages you to do naughty things and, according to Cat Ward who coined the term, “always looks pulled together but is secretly in last night’s eyeliner”. It’s a rejection of perfection and expectation, and it sounds like a lot of fun actually.
So here you are: you’re cold, and battling condensation. You’re a sad girl, goblin, gremlin, hot and messy aunt, or possibly all of the above. Here are a few things that might help you have the best cosy winter ever...
This bright yellow device follows me around social media, with people raving about its genius - and being the consumer that I am, I want it. It’s a hand-held vacuum that’s designed for cleaning, but most people use it to tidy up condensation in winter. You’ll be grossed out by how much water it removes, and soon become addicted.
Also add to the ‘practical gremlin girl who lives in a classic New Zealand home’ list: a powerful dehumidifier, some DampRid moisture absorbers to hang in your wardrobe, and a plan to one day install a heat pump.
A plush dressing gown
The chic linen robe has had its moment and Oodie ads are targeted to me every time I go on TikTok, but all I want this winter is one of those soft, fuzzy, thick, plush old-fashioned options. You know that scene in Spice World where they’re lying around in bright coloured dressing gowns talking absolute shite? Or the printed chenille dressing gowns that Fran Drescher would prance about the house in as The Nanny? That’s the level of chic cosiness that we all need and deserve. There are plenty of pastel or neutral options out there (like this from Peter Alexander), but bold colour is harder to come by. Try this for bold pink, this for electric blue, or this for some playful prints.
A hot water bottle
A comforting classic. What else is there to say except, be careful! Those long hot water bottles are ugly but practical in that they can wrap around your neck or waist (great for cramps). A true gremlin would just wrap their hottie up in a towel or something, but we do love the idea of a fancy cover - Shrimps’ flower embroidered hottie cover is the ultimate (but sold out and also, $145!), while Bianca Lorenne’s sheepskin cover is cosy and local.
A pile of books you’ll put off reading
Let’s be real: you have big plans to read all the latest releases, but you’ll likely spend the weekend watching Love Island and/or scrolling mindlessly through TikTok. No judgement! But if you are after a very good read, try Anna by Amy Odell and The Palace Papers by Tina Brown for lots of great gossipy detail. Gremlin girls love gossip!