Updated: Jul 30, 2021
I absolutely love cottagecore, the social media aesthetic exploded in popularity in spring of 2020 as the world went into lockdown and lives became more digital than ever before. The aesthetic harkens back to a simplistic countryside life with an emphasis on sustainable homestead living. The idealized “life in the forest trope” has been around for centuries. It was a common plot device in fairy tales and was a particular favorite indulgence of Marie Antoinette. She even had a working farm house built on the grounds of Versailles complete with gardens and farm animals and she would dress up in the world's most expensive peasant clothes and pretend to have a “simpler life.” She even had this painting commissioned where she’s styled in a muslin dress and straw hat, quite possibly the first cottage core picture ever?
Cottagecore embraces a lifestyle of simplicity far removed from the fast paced high tech lifestyle and capitalist society. A glamorized take on rural life, this aesthetic features soft, romantic visuals and embraces quaint and charming activities and decor. Seeking peace and solitude in the beauty of nature and living off the land in the sanctuary of your comfy cozy little house in the woods, not bothering with the troubles of civilization is an appealing thought for many of us dealing with the bitter reality we face each day and it’s no surprise that this particular aesthetic became so popular during the frightening early days of the pandemic.
Influence from LGBTQ+ and POC creators
Like other aesthetics stemming from western culture and history the cottagecore online community has faced valid criticism for the lack of diversity seen in its creators. However, there are a lot of POC creators who’ve made their mark on this aesthetic and have made this space more inclusive and accessible. We also must give proper credit to the origin of this digital subculture and its popularity within the LGBTQ+ community. Before its rise to popularity in spring of 2020 cottagecore was a niche subculture that was very popular amongst queer women and it continues to be a large part of the aesthetic community. There are so many awesome creators across various social platforms.
Influence on fashion
When cottagecore began to rise in popularity, it didn’t take long for the fashion industry to notice. There are entire shops dedicated to the aesthetic and brands like Hill House and their now iconic nap dresses have become staples that seem to be extending past trendy into closet staple territory. Cottagecore outfits feature light pastels, light flowing fabric,and loose silhouettes. Many also take a more sturdy and durable route and choose pieces that are fit for outdoor activities like sturdy boots and overalls that often feature more earth tones. Simplicity, function and comfort take precedence which is why I think this trend will endure as opposed to other more stylized trends that don’t adapt as easily to daily life for most people. Keywords and features to search for include
Cottagecore is fundamentally easy to translate to your home decor, the entire aesthetic is literally inspired by living in a cottage. This aesthetic has a lived in feeling, it doesn’t seem out of place to have boots by the door and curios on your countertops. The imagery evoked by this aesthetic is charming and cozy, a place where you wouldn’t feel out of place throwing a mad tea party or cleaning with the help of some animal friends. Inspiration stems from the architecture of European country homes, particularly from England. However, the cottagecore community draws from a variety of rural communities across the globe. Be sure to look for
Cottagecore has roots throughout our history and is a common theme in many stories. It is an often used trope in fairy tales going as far back as the Brothers Grimm and is a commonly used setting in English and American classic literature. The romantic, escapist notion of a quiet life in the woods has captivated viewers throughout the history of film and theatre. There is no single genre of music that fits this aesthetics definition, often times cottagecore playlists will feature lush, romantic classical music, or traditional folk music, for a more magical fairytale vibe. While more contemporary folk music the “crunchy granola” sound if you will is favored by people who prefer a more adventurous fresh soundtrack. There are also a TON of white/ambient noise youtube videos for the aesthetic that I love to have playing in the background while I There’s plenty of amazing playlists on youtube and spotify.
Pride and Prejudice
Lord of the Rings (don’t @ me on this one hobbits are peak cottagecore)
The Secret Garden
Howl’s Moving Castle
Alice in Wonderland
Winnie the Pooh
Cottagecore is all about sustainable homestead activities. A huge part of the appeal of this aesthetic especially over the course of the pandemic when we were all cooped up at home. Things like baking and crafting provided a break in the monotony as well as a creative outlet. It’s incredibly gratifying to make something, and that feeling of creative accomplishment is part of why cottagecore has gained such popularity during a time of stagnancy in most of our lives. Some activities that fit the mold include:
Reading a book
Go on a picnic