What is the Cottagecore Aesthetic?
Cottagecore is a fashion and lifestyle aesthetic that celebrates and idealises pastoral and rural life. It slowly developed through the 2010s and blew out to epic proportions at the start of the pandemic in 2020. Covid-19 caused the world to stay at home, bringing to focus back to home baking, crafts and a slower pace of living.
Remember how we all got into baking banana bread and sourdough? Well, Cottagecore takes that self sufficient ideal to whimsical new heights and fully embraces the fashion and past-times of a bygone era. It's Holly Hobbie and Anne of Green Gables come to life... then posted on Instagram.
We could deep dive into the many elements of Cottagecore, dissecting this phenomenon for volumes, but instead we've chosen to touch on a few interesting topics to further understand the appeal of Cottagecore.
Cottagecore, at its essence, is steeped in escapism. It is a true escape from the demands and dangers of the modern world - even though it primarily, and ironically, exists online. Those who embrace the trend don't always live in the countryside, but choose to bring elements of the style into their city existence to create the feeling of nostalgic charm in their homes.
Lovers of Cottagecore will find ways to spend time in nature, whether that means going for meandering walks in a field, having a picnic in a picturesque garden, or taking holidays at farm stays or quaint bed and breakfasts in the country. Donning a billowing frock for a walk through fields of wild flowers is the stuff of Cottagecore dreams.
Slow Fashion and Lifestyle
Those who truly embrace Cottagecore often make their own clothes, accessories and homewears. The aesthetic champions the ideals of slow fashion and upcycling. As an antidote to hustle culture and fast fashion, Cottagecore focuses on self sufficiency, whimsical creativity and the need for less.
Arts and crafts is a major theme, with many of the aesthetic elements crossing over into other fashion trends like Bohemian style. Think macrame, leatherwork, needlepoint and knitting. In the home space, candle making, gardening and of course baking have become a way of slowing down and embracing the desire for a more nostalgic and meaningful way of life.
Covid-19 and Cottagecore
The desire for escapism was further fueled by the effects of Covid-19 and our need to quarantine. Cottagecore became a way to make time in isolation romantic instead of fearful. Focusing on crafts and baking deferred attention away from loneliness and negativity and onto a more productive and creative time in blissful solitude.
Obsession with indoor plants has become a way for city dwelling Cottagecore enthusiasts to bring nature into their homes. For those who love the idea of tending to a garden, grow succulents and establish mossy terrariums to nurture and admire. Others have embraced the dried flower trend, incorporating delicate blooms into their home decor and fashion.
Taylor Swift and Folklore
Like any trend, Cottagecore has made its way into pop culture. With the release of Taylor Swift's Folklore and Evermore albums in 2020, the aesthetic was thrust into the mainstream as the singer produced ethereal sounds with imagery to match. Her video for the song "Cardigan" is an absolute dreamscape embracing many elements of the Cottagecore trend.
Her hair and makeup are a romantic and whimsical shift from her previous looks for albums such as "Reputation" and even "Lover". Dressed in flowy lace and hand knits, often barefoot and floating though the misty woods, it's clear that Taylor is paying homage to her Cottagecore fans and lovers of the pared back nostalgic aesthetic. It is full blown romance and wistful beauty, a true escape from modern living.
Whether it's the influence of Cottagecore or Boho style, the handmade aesthetic of both trends is making its way into celebration style. Wedding styling has particularly embraced the elements of Cottagecore at every stage.
Craft parties are becoming increasingly popular for Hen's celebrations with groups coming together to create macrame wall hangings or dried flower arrangements. Brides are embracing the undone romantic style of Cottagecore with soft wavy hair styled with small flowers, loosely tied bows or unstructured floral crowns. Dresses are becoming less structured with brides choosing looser fits that drape over the body in beautiful laces and even cotton and linen blends.
Celebration decorations have become more "natural" focused with dried or wild flowers taking precedence over more formal displays. Venues have moved from indoor spaces to open air locations often on farms or rural properties.