Oh, the simple life.
It’s fair to say that many wish they could take a break from 2021 for a bit and trade sweats for a flowy sundress and rid of worries for a stroll in a meadow. If you’ve been on TikTok lately, you may know where this is going.
Coined “cottagecore,” the lifestyle and fashion trend embodies a slower, simpler time a la “Little Women” or “Little House on the Prairie,” but more elegant and romanticized. Invoking nostalgia for some (checkout #grandparentcore for that) and elements of fantasy for others (see: #fairycore) the cottagecore persona can be a little different for everyone.
“Cottagecore is an aesthetic movement inspired by a romantic vision of rural life,” explained Rebecca Stice, 33, who runs the TikTok account @aclotheshorse. “This often translates to pastel dresses with full skirts and nature-inspired prints, or cottage-inspired homes with lots of plants, baskets and vintage elements.”
From Northern Ireland, Stice spends her days as a freelance photographer and copywriter, making handmade hair accessories and creating viral videos of herself in stunning cottagecore dresses, usually in slow motion for the added old-world effect. This slowness itself is another element of cottagecore culture, from lifestyle choices to transitioning away from fast fashion.
“I started moving towards a slower lifestyle around five years ago and my style started to adapt with the lifestyle changes,” Stice told The Post. “It just didn’t feel right to be wearing high heels and more flashy clothes while walking around the woods of my home and learning a bit about foraging.”
Nowadays, she’s ditched the “totally impractical” heels and instead wears “wellies,” slang for rubber boots often used in the UK.
“I also started to think more about how my clothes were being made and how damaging the fast-fashion industry is to the environment,” she explained. “The more my style moved in this direction, the more people started calling it cottagecore and so I started to embrace the term.”
Anna, 30, who goes by her TikTok username @annatheadventuress, is also a cottagecore content creator and photographer, a profession that seems very helpful in creating whimsical videos. For her, the style served as a reprise from the doom and gloom of the past year and a calming force to share with others.
“I discovered the cottagecore aesthetic around the same time the pandemic hit last year in 2020, and I found it really spoke to my style and interests,” she explained to The Post. “I started off by creating videos of my walks in nature and found it was incredibly therapeutic.”
While she admitted she started making videos strictly for herself, she found that people were enjoying her content and calling the clips “calming.”
“I love that I can give people even a few seconds of peace in their day,” she added.
And it seems a lot of people need that moment of peace, as she now has 12,000 followers on TikTok and nearly 5,000 followers on Instagram, where she posts sneak peeks of her cottagecore wardrobe for her followers to take notes.
The lifestyle change might be a big step, but for those wanting to slow it down, or just start dressing in the cottagecore style, there are some easy steps to have you twirling in no time.
“I try to find what I call ‘pockets of beauty’ in my local area. If you look hard enough there is beauty all around you,” said Anna. “I also like to bring the aesthetic into my wardrobe with twirl-worthy linen dresses, romantic puffy sleeves, flowing cloaks, straw hats, lace-up boots and cozy knitwear.”
Stice, who has 700,000 TikTok followers and 300,000 on Instagram, also promises the aesthetic is more accessible than one would think from her follower count.
“It’s an aesthetic movement,” she explained, “so you can find ways to bring in the visual elements of the style into your home or clothes no matter where you live. I personally feel it also calls for an appreciation of nature and celebration of moments over things, but that is also accessible to everyone.”
Instead, she suggested treating it like a state of mind, rather than a photoshoot.
“The green spaces near you might look different than the ones near me and there might be less green space, but we can all take time to be quiet in nature or bring plants into our homes,” she said. “It’s more about ‘Slow down, spend time in nature, romanticize the little moments of your life.’”
Cottagecore clothing you can buy now:
If you do want to embody the clothing while embracing the culture, we did forage around the internet and found some great dresses, tops and skirts to help achieve the cottagecore look.
From bigger name brands like Free People and Reformation to smaller vintage brands, take a look and then go for a nature walk while you wait for your new cottagecore wardrobe essentials to ship.
Lulu’s has a whole section devoted to the cottagecore aesthetic, so feel free to browse to your heart’s content.
On the page, find flowy dresses perfect for twirling, corset-inspired tops for layering, tons of puffy sleeves and long floral skirts to match. The price point isn’t bad either, with many items ranging from about $30 to $65.
An inclusive shop with floral dresses galore, Ivy City Co. has the cottagecore style in spades.
For your own closet, browse bestselling dresses in both straight sizes and plus sizes up to 3XL. For the little one who wants to start their cottagecore TikTok early, find matching outfits, too, on the Mini and Me page of the site.
Reformation has been known to be the queen of boho style and also embodies the slow fashion aspect of cottagecore.
Not only does the brand carry long dresses with poof sleeves and ruched bodices, they also stand for ethical and eco-friendly production. Many of the dresses are made with linen, a cottagecore staple fabric, and they aim to be climate positive by 2025.
Want cottagecore items for an incredible price? Shein has got your back.
The online retailer sells every item you’ll need, from puff sleeved blouses to twirl-worthy dresses and skirts, all for under $50. Searching the words “boho,” “ditsy” and “cottage” seem to do the trick to narrow down the results, or just browse by item until something catches your eye.
Saylor is known for beautiful details, women’s empowerment and sustainable practices, all of which the cottagecore movement embodies as well.
The brand carries long and short flowing dresses and skirts, as well as puffed-sleeve tops and long skirts to pair with. They also aim to be as sustainable as possible, valuing the nature from which their fabrics come. Many of their dresses start at around $80, and tops start at around the same.
Christy Dawn’s motto is “honoring Mother Earth,” and there really isn’t anything more cottagecore than that.
The brand sells pieces that truly take you back in time to a simpler life with beautiful items. Check out their dresses that come in both plus and straight sizing and usually featuring floral patterns and neutral colors to match any style. You can also shop by collection, like the organic cotton edit or the house dresses collection to make your cottagecore shopping that much easier.
Stay faithful and true to who you are, no matter your style.
However, if cottagecore is what you’re after, look no further than Faithfull the Brand. The online retailer sells stunning yet simple pieces perfect for adding to your wardrobe. Start with their dresses, starting at around $100, and then move on to the tops for puff-sleeves and peplums galore.
Free People is another mainstream brand with lots to offer when it comes to cottagecore chic.
They tend to mix some boho items in with styles that complement each other and make it that much easier to incorporate cottagecore into your everyday wardrobe. For dresses, start with the maxi section to find flowing items with floral, paisley and other fun and dainty prints. Make sure to pick up some accessories too, like hair bows and bandanas for a complete look.
Unique Vintage is truly a unique shop, as it doubles as a time machine.
The ability to shop by decade does transport you back in time to simpler eras with all the best fashion. To find cottagecore looks, check out the 1930’s and 40’s to find long floral dresses and floral frills. You can also scroll through the blouses for great layering pieces, but be sure to find the right era, unless you want some pinup styles, too.