Why #Cottagecore is Such an Obsession Right Now

First there was hygge (no one still knows how to pronounce it) then there was lagom (as “in perfect balance”, or “just right”) and my personal favorite kalsarikänni AKA “drinking at home, alone, in your underwear.” All of these describe a feeling that then becomes a lifestyle aesthetic that we obsess over on social media. 

When March of 2020 hit and the majority of the world was living in a constant state of kalsarikanni (we may have said it was all hygge and fine on Instagram, but we were way out of lagom) of course the fashion world took a major hit. Some even questioned if influencers could survive when we were all relegated to wearing sweatpants for the foreseeable future (well, maybe, leggings if we were feeling ambitious.) 

But then something happened in the late spring/early summer. People started going outside (and by outside I mean like in their yard) and dressing in a style that can only be described as if Gretl (as in the sugar addict sister of Hansel) got a makeover at Free People and then add more ribbons to that. 

You know it’s like when you are eating lavender jam and biscuits and want to wear an outfit that embodies that feeling. Well low and behold influencers and designers figured out how to do it and now we have #cottagecore. 

The trend was pretty easy to pull off and kept in line with quarantine fashion rules as the clothes are perfect from going to your bed to your couch and then back to your bed. They also are perfect for whenever you need to just stare out the window dramatically.

Though the term has been around since 2018 the look is having a major moment as Pinterest saw an increase in searches by Gen Z pinners for “cottagecore fashion” in June up 80 times compared to last year. Heck Hill House Home founder Nell Diamond became the official poster child of summer with her signature (and now trademarked) nap dress. It’s the perfect dress for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon non-catnap (because who said being lethargic can’t be tres chic?) It’s also a great dress for when you just need to lie in a meadow because the world is just too much to handle. 

If you’re still not quite understanding this look think Sleeping Beauty (the animated one) when she goes to live with her three fairy godmothers in the woods mixed with a bit of the eerieness of Picnic at Hanging Rock. It’s all about small flowers you would find in a meadow, befriending squirrels, flowy white dresses, twigs in your hair, and being ready to have a picnic at any moment. It’s a bit of The Secret Garden with a hint of The Virgin Suicides and then you get to eat biscuits. 

Perhaps #cottagecore was also such a big hit because the clothes allow for escapism in a world where you can’t really escape anymore. It brings back that childlike sense of wonder of finding fantasy adventure in your own backyard.

Meredith Lepore

Meredith is the former editor in chief of the women's career site, The Grindstone. Her work has appeared in Marie Claire @ Work, The Jane Dough, DailyWorth, SheKnows.com, Business Insider and Learnvest. She earned her Masters in Magazine, Newspaper and Online journalism from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Meredith resides in New York full time and enjoys reading, jogging, SoulCycle and playing with her small dog, Otis.