Unless you’re truly living off the grid on a tiny farm, you’ve probably heard of cottagecore, the fashion trend that has taken the fashion world and social media by storm within the last year. From Taylor Swift’s folklore to our collective obsession over nap dresses.
The cottagecore aesthetic has been around since the late 2010s but gained major popularity in 2020 during the start of the pandemic. With everyone in quarantine, it isn’t difficult to see the appeal of fantasizing about running away from the world and getting lost in an enchanted forest like a Studio Ghibli character, especially for those in the city. Many of our quarantine comfort activities, including bread baking, Animal Crossing, and Taylor Swift’s folklore album all have strong cottagecore themes.
Cottagecore also became trendy at a time when sustainability was becoming a growing priority with fashion consumers. Coupled with supply chain issues, many are taking it upon themselves to make their own clothes or go thrifting—key themes of the aesthetic.
Cottagecore fashion is defined by loose-fitting, flowy dresses and skirts with long sleeves or puffed sleeves. Knitted cardigans, Peter Pan collars, loose linen pants, and overalls are also staples of the aesthetic. While the color palette is traditional neutrals (whites, browns, and greens), it also plays a lot with patterns, especially florals, paisley, stripes, and gingham. Cottagecore has also made its way into other popular aesthetics including witchcore, princesscore, and vintage-inspired fashion.
If you’re interested in cottagecore but don’t know where to start, here are fourteen different looks to help you get started.
The staples of cottagecore fashion include cableknit sweaters, cotton dresses with puff sleeves and sweetheart necklines, and accessories that embrace natural resources. Tie them all together in one outfit to have an automatic cottagecore outfit.
If you like cottagecore vibes, but don’t want to look like you came straight out of a Jane Austen novel while getting your morning coffee, try adding elements of cottagecore to your regular look: A flowery blouse, a pair of distressed, loose-fitting jeans, and a pair of Oxfords gives you just enough romantic vibes, without all the stares.
At the Office
Unfortunately, we can't finally live out our true calling of living off the grid, picking berries, and making art since we still have to go to work. But we can still bring whimsy to work with an embroidered cardigan, corduroy pants, and some lovely heels to tie it all together.
However, if you do want to live your best cottagecore fantasies, go all out with a gorgeous embroidered dress, some heels, and a lovely little hair bow as you pretend like you’re a lost Bridgerton sibling for your Instagram photoshoot.
In the Garden
Embrace the messier side of cottagecore by creating an outfit embraced by going out into nature. Whether you’re gardening, hiking, or just taking a walk, put on your favorite overalls and a hair wrap and get lost in the magic.
While cottagecore has a romantic quality, take it up a notch when planning your date night look. A bodice dress with cut-out sides adds a bit of sexy to the traditionally straight-laced look. Add a little heel and some pearl jewelry and you have a lovely look to win your date’s heart.
As the leaves start falling and the temperature starts dropping, it’s time to put away our short sleeved dresses and pull out something a little warmer. Try a long sleeve maxi dress, booties, and a wide brim hat to go apple picking or whatever else your autumnal heart desires.
Traditionally, when we think about cottagecore, we usually think about spring and summer where everything is fresh, green, and alive. However, you can still enjoy the aesthetic in the winter with chunky turtleneck sweaters, long knit skirts, and fun printed boots that will keep you cozy all winter long.
Wishing for Spring
If spring just can’t come soon enough, bring a little bit of the season to your outfit with a flower embroidered shirt, some comfortable pants, and some cute boots. Even in the coldest weather, you can still dream of spring.
Cottagecore is heavily inspired by the vintage looks of the '30s and '50s (or the 19th century for some fans), especially since the look encourages thrifting for sustainability. Blend the two looks together with a collared blouse, a fun pinafore dress, and some Mary Janes for a sweet look.
Princess of the Forest
Princesscore is another popular fashion trend to come out of cottagecore, which is a more glamorous version of the aesthetic. If you are a little too high-key for traditional cottagecore, elevate the look with an elegant dress, glamorous earrings, and a stylish handbag to bring in the love.
Witchcore is another subsection of cottagecore for those who want to live in a little cottage in the forest to perform their spells and make potions. If the sweet white cotton dresses aren’t for you, make it back with a lace black dress and some combat boots. Don’t forget to add your witch hat.
Just because you’re isolated in the forest doesn’t mean you won’t have opportunities to party. Whether you’re having tea with friends, attending a wedding, or just wanting to celebrate life, a corset top, a midi skirt, and a flower crown is all you need to get the party started.
If you love the cottage look but don’t want to deal with all the corsets and buttons, keep it simple with a neutral wrap sweater, a long skirt, and some boots to keep it simple and stylish.