Cottagecore is an aesthetic/lifestyle marked by feminine, often whimsical attire, domestic activities such as baking, cooking, picnics, tea parties, gardening, and sewing. Overall, the aesthetic has a deep emphasis in nature and the home. In short, it is making homemaking cool again.
It is no surprise that cottagecore emerged as a cohesive aesthetic during such a turbulent time. We had to make peace with staying home more than we normally would. We sought to create a refuge for ourselves from the uncertainty of the outside world. Cottagecore is a form of asserting our dominance and control over our lives. It is also a form of escapism from the eeriness of a new society where masks and social distancing have become the norm.
Cottagecore as an aesthetic exemplifies beauty outside the norms established by current media. Instead of the glam, scantily clad women parading around major metropolitan settings, we see women in frilly yet modest outfits frolicking in idyllic fields. Instead of fancy $30 brunches, the aesthetic calls for simple yet beautiful homemade fare, preferably decked in freshly picked wild flowers.
Perhaps an understated consequence of the rise in popularity of cottagecore is its role in exposing young women to the joy of homemaking and being feminine. In an era of modern feminist ubiquity, we are seeing the push/pull between traditionalism and modernity. Since modern feminism has had its run and is now approaching absurdity, it was only about time before traditionalism takes it down a notch. The hyper-feminine cottagecore aesthetic plays heavily on our desires to be soft, to nurture, to create a home. All these things make us feel good because they fulfill our core needs of creating beauty and warmth. These needs contrast with the ideal lifestyle promoted by modern feminism marked by corporate ladder climbing, fulfilling male roles in hetero relationships, shunning the domestic sphere, intentional de-beautification, and other ideals that lead women to unhappiness. Such is why women gravitated towards a lifestyle that extolls softness, femininity, and tradition.
There has never been a better time to be alive than now. We are at our most peaceful, most prosperous periods and yet many of us are unhappy. We measure our contentment relative to others. Since our global interconnectedness has made the affluent/successful lives of others so easily accessible, we are no longer ignorant of the excesses of others. No matter how objectively good our lives are, we can always find someone who has it better. In turn, we are stuck in a perpetual loop of discontent. Many of us have woken up to this reality in ourselves.
Cottagecore provides an alternative to the rat race of life. Experiences instead of material belongings have become the new luxury. Time is the new scarce resource, not money. The aesthetic encourages activities that take time to accomplish such as baking or gardening. Cottagecore also provides opportunities to work with our hands, use tangible materials, and finally, take a break from the damn screens.
For the most part, escapism comes with a negative connotation and is most usually associated with harmful behavior. The beauty of cottagecore is that it may possibly be a healthy form of escapism that feeds our souls and fills our core needs and desires, all while teaching us useful skills and giving us a better appreciation for the simpler things in life.
I personally have embraced the cottagecore lifestyle. It’s been a joy to have a well-kept home filled with beauty, good food, and well-fed friends and family. If you haven’t experienced gliding around your home barefoot and in a flow midi/maxi dress, I suggest you try it. Cottagecore encourages us to romanticize the every day by taking the time to create and appreciate the beauty around us.
May we lead beautiful lives.