CottageCore is a movement popular on social media, which focuses on the simple, rural lifestyle of the past in which there is no internet technology. It idealizes the idea of local food, living close to nature, artisan-made food and clothing, wild animals, woodland, gardens and flowers.
It’s one of the latest social media movements and began in early 2017 as a trend on Tumblr and Instagram. And it was so popular that influencers took up the theme expanding its audience through Tik-Tok videos, gaining CottageCore international status by 2019.
What is the CottageCore fashion trend?
CottageCore is a nostalgic feeling for the past, focused on a romantic view of rural life in small villages when many people worked on farms and had a strong connection with Nature and the seasons.
And this includes old-fashioned, hand-made crafts, like knitting and crocheting, feminine flower prints and peasant dresses and artisan fashion, wallpaper, home décor and crockery.
The CottageCore background
The CottageCore concept focuses on a simple life lived in harmony with Nature. So it believes strongly in a sustainable lifestyle, which fits in well with the need for eco-friendly practices today.
If you enjoy reading or watching movies, then Thomas Hardy’s story, Tess of the D’Urbervilles shows the CottageCore lifestyle perfectly, if you skim over the hardships and injustices of rural life!
And that’s because CottageCore is a uniquely positive view of the past, created to be a comfort and counterbalance to modern life.
There’s quite a deep concept behind the CottageCore lifestyle, that extends to the sort of beliefs that rural communities held in the past. And so CottageCore also takes inspiration from the mythological creatures like fairies, elves, gnomes, witches and goblins.
GoblinCore is a related trend popular with the LGBTQ+ community and including non-binary, demi-gender, and trans-gender people.
And right now, the CottageCore aesthetic is a theme in design, fashion and even politics for its nostalgic looking back to a simpler time, free from the stress of life in the internet age.
Some of the major emblems for CottageCore include natural imagery like:
- Outdoor landscapes including forests, wildflowers and farm-fields
- Images of farmhouses, farmland, cottage-gardens and animals
- Old books, fairy prints, hand-written letters and poetry
- Homely cross-stitch embroidered mottos, tea-sets and vintage pottery
And other core images and decorative items include:
- Home-made bread
- Home-made jam in pots
- Houseplants and hand-made crafts
- Fresh and dried flowers in simple vases
- Traditional rural clothing
- Natural colors, neutrals and soft, warm tones
CottageCore fashion clothes
In addition, the CottageCore theme also involves Mori fashion a.k.a. forest girls and Light Academia, a vintage school-girl look.
So anything from eyelet/broderie anglaise blouses, soft cardigans with lace collars, romantic hair ribbons, images from Frog & Toad, stills taken from Miyazaki films and lacy, cake doilies fits in perfectly with CottageCore.
However, this fashion trend isn’t as easy to identify as more extreme styles like cyberpunk, Goth or grunge, as many of the fashion items are already familiar to us. Like floral-print fabrics made into dresses, skirts and blouses.
With social media allowing everyone to show their ideas online, there are lots of new aesthetics springing up every day, reflecting a common desire to live in different, retro- or fantasy worlds.
And there are several sub-divisions in the CottageCore aesthetic, too, including:-
1. Honeycore fashion style – which is centered on rurally produced food, and eating natural foods like bread, honey and waffles. It shares the CottageCore trend to accentuate agricultural views and farmhouse values.
Honeycore has a simple color palette based especially on pale-yellow and brown shades. So in fashion, Honeycore can be seen in images of bees, honey and fields full of summer wild-flowers drawing attention to organic food-production and bee-conservation.
2. Grandparentcore & Grandmacore fashion style – are aesthetic trends that are quite similar to CottageCore, because they include a nostalgic yearning for the not too distant past and a simpler life.
As well as fashion and interior decor, this aesthetic emphasizes handicrafts and hobbies such as pottery, repairing things and woodwork.
3. Bloomcore fashion style – which focusses more on village greens, bushes and trees, and flower gardens. And this trend revolves around the idyllic life we imagine in tiny, quaint villages, where gardening is a common hobby and life is slow and quiet.
4. Vaporcottage fashion style – isn’t as organic or cute as CottageCore. It’s a recently invented aesthetic with a strong, modern twist.
It started as an ironic send-up of CottageCore and mixed in surrealism, dystopian and nightmare images as a sarcastic comment on the wholesome escapism of CottageCore.
The idea was to show that all aesthetic trends can be subverted by blending them, but the two trends didn’t really make a comfortable duo.
Vaporcottage imagery includes lots of technical tricks, bright artificial colors and obviously modern influences, so it’s not likely to appeal to CottageCore fans.
5. Southwest CottageCore – is similar to CottageCore, but instead of the cool, green forests and farmland of a temperate climate, it’s located in high-temperature locations on the edge of desert land.
So instead of images of stone-built cottages, the houses are surrounded by cacti and yucca plants. And so the Southwest CottageCore trend is one for warm weather, using warm colors and touches of a quirky beach-vibe.
Images that often feature in Southwest CottageCore include beach-shacks, marron-grass, geckos, snakes and rabbits.
What’s the opposite of CottageCore fashion?
Dark CottageCore focuses on the less agreeable aspects of living in a country cottage to create a negative aesthetic. So this would include damp forest floor items like rotting toadstools and animal bones, weird fantasy forest creatures, ghosts and tree-spirits.
CottageCore has a tongue-in-cheek opposite called Cottage gore, which shares the same country-life and farmhouse imagery – but with a Goth or Dark twist added!
Cottage gore is the darkest version of CottageCore, as it encompasses lots of blood and gore and goes even further than other dark aesthetics like Vulture-Culture and Crowcore.
How to be a CottageCore girl?
It doesn’t matter where in the world you live; you can still live the CottageCore girl lifestyle! So if you’re living in Australia, the US or the cold extremes of Canada, you can still pretend to be living in a pretty cottage in a peaceful English village!
It’s as much a state of mind as a fashion tribe and there’s a huge CottageCore online community you can connect with. First of all, dress up in typical CottageCore clothing as much as possible and consider keeping in touch with distant friends with handwritten letters.
Organize your friends into the CottageCore lifestyle by inviting them to join you for afternoon tea, with CottageCore tea-cups and home-made scones.
And expand your understanding of CottageCore by looking at beautiful images of English countryside, wild-flower meadows and picturesque windmills.
One of the main ideas behind living the CottageCore life is to be less stressed by modern life and learn to re-connect with Nature and healthy relaxation.
Try to reduce your dependence on your smartphone, take an interest in growing plants in your garden or on your balcony and decorate your home in the cute, traditional CottageCore style.
The CottageCore ethos
Behind the CottageCore ethos is a desire for mental and physical well-being, and it’s the perfect way to take a break from an anxiety-filled, urban life in which you feel like you are just a cog in a huge, industrial wheel.
In the world of CottageCore, you can control your immediate environment and way of thinking. There are no smartphones constantly pinging to get your attention and you can improve your mood simply by using your imagination and CottageCore items to live in a simpler time.
CottageCore supporters feel their movement is a way of moving away from a stressful, capitalist-consumer society, which relies on people buying more and more unnecessary items to progress.
And it also focuses on how unhealthy we have become partly from spending lots of time indoors using our p.c.’s for entertainment, instead of enjoying being outside in a natural and relaxing setting.
Behind the CottageCore trend
It’s a psychological escape from bosses who push you to the limit, boring jobs, intrusive technology, not getting promoted and having to spend precious evenings replying to work e-mails. And CottageCore fits in with the resurgence of interest in handicrafts, like knitting, crocheting and making your own clothes.
These activities can give you an enormous sense of satisfaction at having created something with your own hands. And the idea of ‘slow cooking’ or cooking healthy meals from scratch, without taking in all of the unhealthy chemicals added to processed food.
Making your home a place where you can live a simpler, more creative life – even if that just means cooking fresh, unprocessed meals – will underpin your switch to CottageCore and give you a calmer, healthier take on life in general.
Of course, you won’t be able to experience rolling fields and country hikes in real life, so you will use your p.c. and smartphone to enjoy gorgeous country-style images and videos.
This is known as digital CottageCore and fills in the gaps for those of us who live in a totally opposite environment to that beloved by CottageCore fans.
In the 1970’s, there was a huge trend for getting back to the land and being self-sufficient, but it wasn’t possible for society to go backwards. However, that same yearning for a rural life is still a part of the human experience.
Years ago, it was the rich who wanted to live in the center of cities in the new, high-rise buildings that sprang up. But now wealthy people are the ones who choose to live in stone cottages and picturesque villages like the Cotswold’s in Britain.
These days the less well-off live in the urban jungle. So CottageCore is a great way to pretend you live a simple life in the country, as a healthy hobby that can counteract the stresses of your daily life!
Why Is CottageCore growing so fast?
And at the start of 2021, the New York Times wrote about CottageCore as a growing aesthetic movement. And that in itself was fantastic publicity for this trend.
Apart from the typical human yearning for a less complicated, more relaxing life, the enforced lockdown brought us face-to-face with having lots more leisure time, which we could only spend at home:-
1. Lockdown & CottageCore
Being confined to our homes had a profound effect on our worldview and issues connected with rescuing our planet from future damage. Spending time at home made us take a new look at how much we push ourselves to work long hours, to earn money for things we really don’t need.
And without so much traffic on the roads, the air became cleaner and our thoughts naturally returned to the past.
Many people realized they didn’t need to be a fast-fashion consumer, as comfort took over from display. And having lots of free-time to fill, people re-discovered the fun and satisfaction of baking, gardening and simple clothing.
Practical, grandmother-inspired handicrafts returned to offer home-made clothes that provide a sense of personal satisfaction. And home-maker skills in general surged in popularity.
It was during this time that CottageCore, Dark and Light Academia and similar online trends began to catch the imagination of people dreaming about a simpler, rural life.
And a good example of this is the current fashion for oversized, knitted vests which were always home-knitted for school-children in the past.
And for many, spending the day doing physical activities in the garden or kitchen became a therapeutic way to pass the time and mentally escape the worries that beset us all.
2. Black Lives Matter
And the politically-aware part of CottageCore is firmly connected with social media accounts fighting for Black Lives Matter and other important social justice movements.
3. Eco-friendly Fashion & Sustainability
CottageCore is totally aligned with sustainable fashion. Therefore, wearing second-hand clothing, being thrifty, growing your own vegetables, making jam and only cooking fresh unprocessed foods is at the center of this movement.
CottageCore supporters believe in ethical clothing manufacture, sustainable fashion, making your own clothes and up-cycling vintage clothing.
4. CottageCore Fashion Style
CottageCore also embraces the idea of being kind to yourself and others. So self-care items like organic skincare, vegan leather jackets, super-comfortable mattresses, weighted blankets, ASMR and cooking videos are part of CottageCore.
And Taylor Swift tapped into this trend by releasing her Folklore songs, plus official merch that included a rustic-look cardigan. This made the #cottagecore hashtag soar in popularity from that day on social media.
In addition, the fastest-growing trend in interior décor is bringing the outdoors inside. This has accentuated the fact that when you are staying indoors more than usual, you start to miss Nature and need to feel closer to it.
5. LGBTQ+ and CottageCore
And lesbians have commented that the CottageCore movement gives them a soothing, cozy cottage refuge. This hinges on the way that CottageCore is up-to-date in important ways, such as sharing a vision of domestic happiness that doesn’t allocate traditional housework roles to each gender.
Moreover, the digital CottageCore community works to remove traditional stereotypes and hetero-normative gender roles.
And this aspect of CottageCore has attracted a lot of lesbian and bi-sexual women into the fold. So modern CottageCore projects a rural location in which all humans can live with no hint of disrespect.
And finally . . .
CottageCore is an aesthetic based on all of the positive and optimistic aspects of a romanticized rural life. It’s been given a modern twist to be a place in which everyone is genuinely equal and welcome. And it fulfils the hopes and dreams of people to inhabit a happy, healthy and peaceful fantasy world to counterbalance the reality of life.
So it’s not surprising that CottageCore has quickly permeated social media, fashion outfits, home design, race relations and politics. And experts expect that the cute fashion style of CottageCore will be a major global trend through next year and into the future!
What’s your opinion on CottageCore aesthetic? We love to hear your ideas and comments and the HerStyleCode community discussions are important guidance for our future articles!
1. Have you come across CottageCore online yet? Where?
2. What part of CottageCore appeals to you most?
3. What don’t you like about CottageCore?
4. Will you adopt any CottageCore influences/fashion clothes?
5. Do you currently have a favorite fashion aesthetic? What is it?
Please share your opinions with fellow readers and connect with the HerStyleCode community!