Retail Therapy


Cozy Up

Ways to Ward off the Chills

    The nights are long, and the air is crisp. What better time to luxuriate in cozy robes, slippers and soft down comforters. Stock up now, and you’ll ride out the chilly winter and spring nights with ease.


    This well-turned-out Berkeley store is the place to go for natural wool mattresses and cozy, cruelty-free wool-filled comforters. The Puregrow™ wool used in Earthsake’s bedding is organic and free-range; not bleached or dyed; and is naturally mite- and flame-resistant. No need for nasty chemical fire retardants that have shown up in negative news stories lately. The wool is wrapped in the softest organic cotton. They’re a tad pricey at $375 for a full/queen set, but great for peace of mind and warmth. And don’t let that nice, warm feeling melt away when you step out of bed—Earthsake also carries organic cotton terrycloth robes and 100 percent cotton flannel pajamas in a sophisticated off-white. Way cooler than those old plaid ones you’ve been bumming around in since college. 1772 Fourth St., Berkeley, (510) 559-8440, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Thu., 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Sun.,

Warm Things

    This business was founded in a garage in Berkeley more than 35 years ago, and the factory outlet store has been at this Rockridge location for 20 years. The tiny shop is a bit of a hodgepodge inside, but you can find some great deals and really luxurious bedding, including snug down comforters, throws, baby quilts, pillows and more made in the company’s San Rafael factory. Warm Things’ white goose-down robe looks to be one of the most comfy items ever invented. But don’t forget your tootsies—the shop carries cute sheepskin slippers that range from $29.95 to $58.95. For your bed, queen-size “superpremium” heavy-weight Hungarian goose-down comforters are $369, and a recent trip turned up 600 thread count king-size sheets for the super low price of $69.95.
    6011 College Ave., (510) 428-9329, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Sat., noon–5 p.m. Sun.,

Cotton Basics

    A key part of staying warm during Oakland’s damp and drizzly winter months: layering. And no place offers the type of basic, 100 percent cotton T-shirts and tanks for layering like Cotton Basics. The shop is clean and bright, nothing pretentious or too fashion-forward about it. Although the clothes are simple, there’s a huge range of colors to choose from, so come here to pick up men’s and women’s undershirts in blue, green, pink and whatever other hue tickles your fancy, along with turtlenecks, waffle-weave Ts, and more.
    5540 College Ave., (510) 653-0383, 11 a.m.–6:30 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.–6:30 p.m. Sat., noon–6 p.m. Sun.


    You don’t need to have a ski vacation in your near future to luxuriate in some cozy outerwear. And if you’re really looking for warmth and comfort, outdoor superstore REI is your spot. From snowboarding parkas to knit hats and gloves, REI will have you covered head-to-toe to face winter’s cruelest months. And the sporty shop doesn’t just offer gear destined to be worn by hardcore winter-sports enthusiasts. It also carries fashionable city-worthy garments, such as North Face’s three-quarters-length Metropolis down parka for women ($279). The store has a full line of cozy gear for kids, too. And REI (which originally stood for Recreational Equipment Inc.) is actually the country’s largest consumer cooperative. If you join the coop, expect up to 10 percent back on all purchases as well as the knowledge that you’re part of a group that regularly gives back to the community and the Earth. Membership is just $15.
    1338 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, (510) 527-4140, 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Sat., 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Sun.,

Yoga College of India Oakland

    Finally, there’s nothing more toasty than Bikram yoga. A style of yoga founded by Bikram Choudhury that takes place in a heated room, devotees find that it not only strengthens and tones muscles, but also revitalizes the body completely. After a Bikram class, you’ll be warm through the core. Yoga College of India is run by a former student of Bikram himself. Drop-in classes are $15; there are various deals for multiple-class packages. Come prepared with a towel and a large bottle of water.
    478 Santa Clara Ave., (510) 625-9642, see Web site for class schedule,
—By Elise Proulx
—Photography by Amy Perl

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