What is Cottagecore? You’ve seen on your TikTok For You page, you’ve seen the hashtag popping on Instagram. Suddenly, mushroom figurines, flower print, straw hats, and enviable stone tiny houses in a field of wildflowers is the new ‘thing’ that everyone’s obsessed with.
The Cottagecore Aesthetic
Simply put, the cottagecore aesthetic is an aesthetic inspired by a romantic interpretation of rural life. People who enjoy cottagecore are interested in the idea of a more simple life and time, as well as being in harmony with nature
i-D and The New York Times have recently both covered the phenomenon of cottagecore that’s sweeping social media and the internet at large. It’s easy to see the appeal, a sun-kissed fantasy escape to simpler times of lush forests, linen dressed with lace trim, and twee countryside cottages. The images populating Pinterest and Tumblr are a mixture of pastoral Little Women-style Americana and quaint 1950’s UK countrysides. Like other similar aesthetics like grandmacore, faeriecore, farmcore, and goblincore, cottagecore is nostalgia for a time that most people have never experienced.
Queerness and Cottagecore
The Cottagecore aesthetic has no gender or sexuality defined to it, but women and especially queer women are the leading icons and influencers. The New York Times and i-D have both interviewed queer women in the movement, questioning why it’s become so popular in their spaces. The interviewees talk about the safety of the cottagecore community and that the inherent gentleness to the style makes it easier for them to express themselves without worry about backlash. Also mentioned was that being openly queer in a rural community is, unfortunately, still only a fantasy in the majority of the world.
How To Get The Cottagecore Aesthetic
Whether you’re brand new to the cottagecore aesthetic or your house and wardrobe is already decked out with fantasy grandma-style decor, there’s always a new way to embrace the simple farm lovin’ lifestyle, and we aim to show you how.
One of the best things about the cottagecore aesthetic is that you can do it cheaply. For people who vibe with the Dark Academia aesthetic, they’ll probably have to spend some money on all those leather-bound books and tweed suits. Creating a cottagecore room can be done with a minimal budget and a few tweaks to some standard decor.
The color palette of a cottagecore bedroom consists of mostly muted colors. Think pale/muted greens, yellows, warm whites, and vintage style floral/check prints. Common themes include farm animals, plants, rustic homes, and flowers. If something is comfy, cozy, and looks like it could be plucked from your grandmother’s house, then you’re on the right track.
Plants are one thing you see in almost every cottagecore bedroom mood board. With the cottagecore aesthetic having such a strong association with nature and natural beauty, it’s no surprise. Plants are a tricky one. If you haven’t got a green thumb or the time to wait for lots of vines and hanging plants to bloom to the perfect foliage, then you’re stuck with buying them. Plants can be expensive; especially now they’re trending. But, a great workaround that requires a lot less effort is artificial vine leaves. These give you the ability to create your own perfect leafy vision in whatever space you want to decorate.
If that’s too high maintenance or you’d prefer to make a big impact with a statement piece than a forest tapestry is a great way to create that fantastical woodland vibe immediately. Another statement cottagecore aesthetic piece is fairy lights. These give even the darkest room a cozy, delicate glow, perfect for reading books with a hot cup of freshly brewed tea. Go for some classic flower string lights for a simple but refined look that pair with your new plants.
A great thing about the cottagecore aesthetic is that you can add little touches to your bedroom for a great impact. So, if you aren’t able to hang lights or plants on your wall, then there are still so many ways to have authentic cottagecore decor. Create a gorgeous, magical land with some hedgehog and mushroom figurines that can be added to a terrarium or simply put on a bedside table.
If you’re feeling more of a witchy cottagecore bedroom, then adding these rustic wooden candle holders are the perfect blend of nature and spooky. Pair them alongside some crystals and some incense in a calming area of your house. Or luxuriate in a bath with your favorite folky forest music and envision yourself in the countryside with a chicken coop.
Last but not least, one of the cutest trends to come out of the cottagecore aesthetic is that adults can like stickers again! Cottagecore stickers are an easy and fast way to transform your bedroom into a Studio Ghibli wonderland. Decorate with some freshly baked bread, mushrooms, forest critters, or even coffee. Make your bedroom special and unique to your aesthetic.
“Go back to nature, live in the forest, before they take it away” – John Williamson
When did cottagecore fashion start? There’s no easy answer to that. Flowing white dressers, thick fisherman jumpers, and neutral spring tones have existed forever. But, who tapped into that nostalgia for a perfect countryside life filled with fields of wildflowers and effortlessly chic period outfits? Blogger Lolita Croquette covered the resurgence of a softer version of 90’s grunge with a twist of Beatrix Potter back in 2018. It was only recently that Vogue noticed that vintage Laura Ashley was coming back.
So, how do you get your very own cottagecore fashion? Like the aesthetic itself, cottagecore outfits should be wholesome, unique, and kind to the earth. This is why vintage stores, thrift stores, and Depop have become the best place to find those one-of-a-kind pieces. Remember the cottagecore aesthetic color palette - warm whites, neutral browns, mustards, deep greens, lavender, faded floral and check prints. When in doubt, Google a picture of a field of wildflowers and pick a color!
We picked some of the best basics for cottagecore fashion, which can be picked up from lots of well-priced stores. For our plus-size girls who also find it difficult to find their size in vintage or thrift stores, then buying from more typical stores is also an option.
Cottagecore Aesthetic Outfit Essentials
Dungarees & Fisherman Pullover
One of the most classic cottagecore outfits is the powerful combination of dungarees and a comfy pullover. Nothing says ‘I have a garden where I dutifully tend to my herbs and vegetables like they were my own children’ then this chic styling. Add some of your favorite pins and buttons to give it your own twist or pluck a fresh flower or leaf to tuck into your front pocket for an adorable look.
A Summer Dress
Now, a summer dress is a summer dress is a summer dress. What does that mean? A summer dress can be lots of different styles, shapes, and colors. What a summer dress is to you might not be a summer dress for me. But, one thing is for sure, a summer dress is a must-have for any cottagecore wardrobe. The ‘cottagecore dress’ is one of the most searched for terms on Google this spring; it’s a mixture of simple white cotton dresses to extreme period cosplay wear. We recommend a few lightweight linen or cotton dresses that breathe easily in your favorite colors and prints. Make it unique with jewelry, hair styling, and accessories.
An Empire Waist Skirt
According to Wikipedia, “Empire is a style in clothing in which the dress has a fitted bodice ending just below the bust, giving a high-waisted appearance, and a gathered skirt which is long and loosely fitting but skims the body rather than being supported by voluminous petticoats.” Popular in the late 18th century, the empire waist is the perfect silhouette for cottagecore fashion. It’s a great blend of modesty, sex appeal, and comfort with many styles giving that tinge of countryside nostalgia.
Cottagecore Books, TV and Movies
To get into the cottagecore aesthetic surround yourself with some of the best atmospheric books, TV, and movies that showcase the simple countryside living.
- Alice in Wonderland - Lewish Carroll
- The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
- The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
- The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd
- The Darkest Part of the Forest - Holly Black
- Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet - Charlie Holmberg
- Wild Beauty - Anna-Marie McLemore
- Garden Spells - Sarah Addison Allen
- Anne of Green Gables - L.M. Montgomery
Cottagecore TV Shows
- The Great British Bake Off (also known as The Great British Baking Show)
- Anne with an E
- Over the Garden Wall
- Little House on the Prairie
- Downton Abbey
- Pride and Prejudice (1995)
- FairyTale: A True Story
- The Secret Garden
- Spirited Away
- The Secret World of Arrietty
- Little Women
- Mansfield Park
- Moonrise Kingdom
- Wind in the Willows
Defining cottagecore music is a little more tricky than the rest of the cottagecore aesthetic. There’s no specific sound that’s associated with it, but folky style music with calm guitars or whimsical rhythms are typically considered cottagecore. Think Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, Death Cab for Cutie, Hozier, and Sonic Youth. Some people also enjoy a more dreamy 70’s vibe, so think Fleetwood Mac or The Velvet Underground.
Soldier, Poet, Kind the Oh Hellos
Strawberry Blonde Mitski
Touch the Sky from “Brave”
Wildflowers the Wailin’ Jennies
Woodland the Paper Kites
Ultralife Oh Wonder
This Cottagecore playlist on Spotify by fresaemoji is a great starting point!