By Amanda Cleveland • June 11, 2023
In current online vernacular, your aesthetic is your personal style amped way up. You might have a certain clothing style you lean toward—like the more well-known preppy, goth, or punk styles—but an aesthetic is a through line you carry through your entire life, with everything from home décor to the food you eat to the media you consume able to be a part. For some, an aesthetic is a specific look and feel they really respond to. For others, their aesthetic can be a manifestation of their dream life and the way they see the world. Users of sites like Tumblr and TikTok will post boards of aesthetic inspiration, including images of locations, outfits, makeup, food, anything that rings true to their aesthetic either through imagery or color palette.
The -core suffix of Cottagecore is popular among aesthetic communities and generally signifies a popular and agreed upon look and feel, the use originating with the hardcore movement. Anything can be a core if you commit to it enough, with Cottagecore being only one of many. Other popular cores are Normcore (focused on a lack of individuality interestingly enough), Angelcore (a look all about celestial magic and translucent colors), and Goblincore (focused on the less appreciated sides of nature, like mud and warty toads).
Cottagecore, one of the most popular named aesthetics, is centered around the romanticized idea of simple agricultural life and harmony with nature. Cottagecore is the feeling you get when you see Belle spinning through a field of dandelions in Beauty and the Beast, her apron strings flying in the wind. It's the peaceful serenity of life at Green Gables or Little House, chopping firewood each day to cook your family's supper. It's the tenderness with which The Waltons say goodnight in their dimming, lantern-lit home.
Built heavily on the Romanticism artistic movement, Cottagecore aesthetic celebrates the beauty of the world and a pastoral life that can be hard to come by in the age of social media. Fans of Cottagecore style revel in the natural, appreciating looks and fabrics inspired by the flora around them such as tree patterns, floral prints, or woodgrain, and in simple pleasures of rural life like the luscious juice of a berry freshly plucked off the bush, or the delightful scents of a home-cooked meal. Favorite hobbies of the Cottagecore movement are DIY activities like sewing, crochet, baking bread, and our favorite, reading. It's not exclusively an analog life, with the video game Animal Crossing being a favorite because of its relaxed play style and focus on self-sustained living. Even colors can be Cottagecore, with soft, earthy colors like moss green, pastel pinks and yellows, and the browns of the earth being common in Cottagecore media and looks. Cottagecore fashion heavily features gingham, linen, ruffles, puff sleeves, and lace.
Far from dull, the Cottagecore look is a base around which any kind of story can be built. You can get the Cottagecore feeling from all genres of books and movies, with the focus being on location, setting, and tone rather than any one type of character or person. Magic can be Cottagecore, like the Lord of the Rings series and the idyllic English countryside home of Hobbiton, and of course any number of magical fairies. Music can be Cottagecore, with fans flocking to Stevie Nicks for her ethereal, flowy looks and songs to match. Even interior design can embody Cottagecore, in any place or home that evokes the feeling of living in a fairy tale with prominent features being wooden beams, stone walls, or other rustic notes.
Now that you know the general vibe, here are some picks to help you slip away into the romantic and dreamy Cottagecore life.
Little House on the Prairie (1974-1982)
My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
Big Fish (2003)
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
Call the Midwife (2012)
Over the Garden Wall (2014)
Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017)
Little Women (2019)
Music that can be called Cottagecore tends to be comforting, calming, and gentle, with themes of love, freedom, and of course, nature. Taylor Swift could be the patron saint of Cottagecore, with her albums Folklore and evermore being the most relevant to the aesthetic because of the ethereal woods imagery. Fleetwood Mac is another favorite artist for lovers of Cottagecore. Sufjan Stevens, The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, and Hozier are other artists that have found acclaim with fans of the Cottagecore aesthetic.
Disney Facets Collection Tinker Bell: When you catch the sun shining through the clear acrylic wings, making them sparkle and shine like crystal, you could swear that magic was real.
Alice In Wonderland Figurine: Lounging in a chair literally made of leaves while bread-and-butterflys flitter about is the ultimate Cottagecore goal.
Bouquet In Bloom Wine Glass: With its delicate green leaves and small, detailed white flowerbuds and shimmering paint, this glass makes your next evening drink an ethereal experience.
Disney Traditions Mini Pooh Figurine: Pooh proudly and adorably stuffing himself with honey conjures the appeal of the simple creature comforts of a Cottagecore life.
Facets Bluebird Necklace: Even if you can't deck out in Cottagecore day-to-day, this happy bluebird necklace with a silver chain reading "Happiness" will bring a touch of it to any outfit.