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If frolicking through fields of wildflowers, baking ornately scored loaves of sourdough, or moving to a quaint countryside cottage sounds idyllic, you’re not alone.
Quarantine forced us indoors and encouraged higher screen times than ever before, so the idea of leading a life of simplicity has captured the hearts of people in cities across the globe.
Fortunately, there’s a blooming movement that makes it easy to find purpose outside of the life’s stressors: cottagecore.
Cottagecore gives us the chance to embrace a “slow” lifestyle that hearkens back to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House on the Prairie” or Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women.” From gardening and sewing to wearing flowy dresses, cottagecore is rooted in fashion and activities that would make our grandmothers and our late 19th-century foremothers proud.
If you’re new to the cottagecore aesthetic but ready to dip your toes into this whimsical world of wonder, this guide is here to help you get started.
Learn more about this dreamy trend, including its history, what inspires it, and how the movement continues to grow even on the heels of the pandemic. And we’ll show you easy ways to incorporate cottagecore trends into your closet.
What Is Cottagecore?
Sometimes referred to as farmcore, countrycore, or teacore, cottagecore is an aesthetic movement that romanticizes a western agricultural lifestyle. This trend takes fashion and design inspiration from old-time farmhouses and life on the prairie, but it’s far more than just a way of dressing or incorporating into your home decor—it’s also used to escape the pressures and demands of urban life.
The origin of “cottagecore” can be traced back to the social networking website, Tumblr, in 2018, where images of bucolic living were shared on the platform for years prior to the movement receiving an official title.
Since then, #cottagecore has exploded on Tumblr and social media outlets like TikTok, which is in large part due to the isolation so many experienced during COVID-19 lockdowns.
Today, the trend shows no signs of slowing down. Even artists like Taylor Swift have made their mark on the movement, as her surprise album “folklore” was released in the summer of 2020 and was inspired by the cottagecore lifestyle.
Cottagecore Fashion Characteristics
While this fashion trend can take on a wide variety of different looks, typical outfits include:
Long, flowy dresses, skirts, and other layered garments that take inspiration from the American Midwest in the late 1800s and early 1900s
Vintage or thrifted garments that feature puffy sleeves, lace, or big pockets
Neutral or faded garments that feature colors like brown, beige, ivory, ochre, light yellow, dusty pink, olive green, baby blue, and more
Allover-print garments that feature designs like flowers, paisley, stripes, gingham, and more
Embroidered garments that feature plants, insects, animals, and more
Handmade accessories like knitwear and simple jewelry
Shortalls and overalls
8 Cottagecore Fashion Trends to Incorporate into Your Wardrobe
If you’re ready to add some cottagecore pieces into your wardrobe but don’t want to comb through thrift stores or expensive vintage boutiques, these eight cottagecore fashion trends below are a great place to start.
Developed during the Renaissance, the puff sleeve has made an impact on almost every major fashion trend throughout history—and the cottagecore movement is no exception. Adding a puff sleeve to a midi or maxi dress transforms them into trendy staples. But there are plenty of dress alternatives—such as this boho print puff-sleeved smock top or this ditsy pattern frill neck blouse—that makes it easy to incorporate this cottagecore look into your weekly clothing routine.
Peasant blouses feature a wide neck with short and billowy sleeves or long, full sleeves. These blouses also commonly have elastic or smocking at the waist, cuffs, and neckline. Oftentimes, you can find peasant blouses that feature romantic floral prints—such as this printed peasant blouse—that hit all the right cottagecore notes. Other great peasant blouses to add to your wardrobe include this airy eyelet crocheted woven peasant top, or this patchwork peasant woven blouse.
A puff-sleeved midi or maxi dress is the foundation of cottagecore fashion. Try this solid boho peasant midi dress that can be worn for both casual events or date nights. If you’re feeling flowery, this mixed-print maxi peasant dress with a smocked waist is perfect for spring and summer.
Traditionally worn by farmhands and shepherds living in rural areas, smock dresses represent this trendy movement perfectly. Classic smock dresses typically feature pleated fabric, open or wide necklines, and flat, round collars. If you’re looking for a more modern take on the smock dress, this smocked puff sleeve dress is a stunner, perfect for spring and summer.
Eyelet fabric detailing is another mainstay in the cottagecore fashion trend. This fabric is a type of lace that features precisely sized holes that are situated to create a floral or geometric pattern. Whether you’re picnicking in a prairie or spending a day frolicking in the sun, this ruffled eyelet linen top is your go-to choice. For a more formal fit, this eyelet knit pintuck popover features all the dainty details you need to dress up or dress down.
Empire waist skirts are skirts that feature a fitted bodice that drapes outwards underneath the bustline. These skirts typically feature oversized, billowy fabric that starts just above the natural waistline, which produces a slimming effect. Empire skirts are perfect for any cottagecore look, especially those with floral prints or frilled hems. Check out this floral frill empire waist skirt that’s cut from a luxurious silky material, or this nude frill empire waist knee skirt that can be worn from the office straight to the countryside.
Cozy knit sweaters can’t be forgotten when putting together a cottagecore ensemble. Think late summer nights on the porch enjoying a peaceful breeze. From cardigans and lightweight pullovers to chunky sweaters, you likely already have some knits that are perfect for this trend. If you’re wanting something a bit different, though, this novelty back pullover sweater features a tunic length with beautiful crochet work on the back.
No outfit is complete without an array of trendy accessories—especially patterned or floral ones. From this floral print scarf pony to this pair of dreamy flower earrings, there are plenty of dainty ways to elevate your cottagecore look every day of the week.
Live Out Your Idyllic Countryside Dreams with Help from Dressbarn
Incorporating cottagecore fashion into your wardrobe just got a whole lot easier with Dressbarn. As your go-to online shop for all things women’s fashion, you can find the latest trends like puff-sleeve dresses, peasant blouses, smock dresses, and more. After you put your unique spin on this trend, be sure to post a pic of your looks on Instagram and tag us @dressbarn.