Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Subconscious Subculture

On checking my social media feeds the other day, I happened upon a post referencing "Cottagecore." Intrigued, I did a preliminary Google search and within the hour had fallen down an Alice in Wonderland style rabbit hole and into the internet fashion aesthetic that is Cottagecore. 

Cottagecore is a romantic, idealised version of rural life. It's romantic, nostalgic, promotes traditional skills and crafts and a simpler, more sustainable lifestyle in harmony with nature. It essentially rejects modernity. 

It's not entirely clear how and when this subculture materialised. One school of thought is that we have Generation Z to thank. It's evolutions are thought to be some point in the 2010s.  It was christened "Cottagecore" on Tumblr in 2018. One thing is for certain, the Covid constraints upon our collective lifestyles have fanned the flames and Cottagecore is now a movement ablaze.

What's interesting, is that I have inadvertently been a part of this movement for years. In fact, if an uncharitable member of Generation Z scrolled through my Instagram feed, they might accuse me of being a walking cliche. Doubtless you are too.  An 18 year old may liken it to the video game Animal Crossing, but for anyone like me (or even older), who hadn't encountered it, think more along the lines of The Good Life, but with Margo and Jerry doing the self sufficiency.  Think Darling Buds of May.  Here's a quick checklist.

 Do you love to bake? Ever made a sour dough base?  Like loose leaf tea? 

Can you crochet, do patchwork or had a go at making Bees Wax candles? 

Do you love to garden? 

Maybe you have a penchant for vintage clothing/crockery?  If vintage isn't your thing, do you covet prairie dresses?  Heard of Batsheva?  Like nature?  HAVE YOU IN THE LAST 12 MONTHS STARTED GROWING VEGETABLES?

I told you so! You're a fully fledge Cottagecore ambassador.  See for yourself. Check out For You Aesthetics for example, on Instagram. The images are beautiful, brimming over with the inexplicably warm and fuzzy feelings of nostalgia.

For the record, I have been buying vintage since my teens, have always felt connected to nature and appreciate the rural aesthetic. For example, I often daydream about moving to an island on the Outer Hebrides, away from the rat race (even in lockdown), until reality bites.  OK, I did learn to crochet in the last couple of years, but I had learned as a child so technically I was revisiting a long forgotten skill.  I also like and indulge in many other genres of photography.  I favour dark photography on the whole.  

(Maybe I'm more Dark/Gothic Cottagecore).  That said and with subliminal advertising in mind, whilst I haven't consciously adopted this internet aesthetic, there is no doubting the influence of the internet.  Maybe I've grown to love all of things Cottagecore just a little bit more in recent months.   

I've been looking through photos from my archives and have found a number of images I think illustrate the look.

Let's start with cottage gardens.

Croft Castle

Kinver Rock Houses

Rambling Roses

Experimental Arch

Stone Cottage Garden

Wild Flowers/Crops.

Rural Idyll/Farm animals.


Babbling brooks/woodland.


There are now many emerging related aesthetics to dip into; bloomcore, earthcore, fairycore...the list goes on.  One thing they all share is escapism - a desire to live in a world other than this one.  It's pretty timely that as I write, it is the first anniversary of the first UK lockdown and a National Day of Reflection.  After the year we've had, I think we can all be forgiven for hopping on this bandwagon.

Stay safe everyone.  Reflect and remember.  


  1. Hello Claire, wow, Cottagecore, that's a new one on me! I have to admit yes, I am a little Cottagecore. Yes to all things vintage and cottage gardens. I did have to look up Batsheva though. I have always wanted a Prairie Dress and am determined to make one at some point. You may enjoy 'Jeri Landers of Hopalong Hollow' on YouTube. I find it so relaxing. Lulu xXx

  2. I love prairie dresses too. Sadly I'm nowhere near talented enough to make one! I'll look up the YouTube clip. Many thanks. xxx


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