First, we had the Tumblr girls, then the Instagram baddies, after that, the e-girl. Now, it’s all about Cottagecore. It might not be the first time you’ve heard about the Cottagecore aesthetic, but what is it exactly?

What is the Cottagecore aesthetic?

Most of us have wanted to drop everything and move to a tiny home in the woods at some point in life. We wanted to disconnect from the world and live off-grid. The Cottagecore girls bring that to life with their idyllic countryside aesthetic of flowy, ethereal dresses, homemade bread making, baskets full of wildflowers and fresh fruit, and handwashing their clothes by the river.

Also known as farmcore or countrycore, some argue that Cottagecore is a form of retaliation against the over-labored working class and the capitalist society, and it makes sense. It’s a movement to go back to simpler times, a romanticized agricultural lifestyle. It’s nostalgic and looks at the eurocentric colonial times with rose-tinted glasses. It’s a vibe.

Portrait of a woman in a straw hat by swanlake, 123RF.

The modern, simple-living Cottagecore aesthetic is said to have come from Tumblr in 2017, but it blew up after it trended on Tik Tok. With the release of Taylor Swift’s album folklore and the hype of Cottagecore themed islands on Animal Crossing that exploded in 2020, everyone is talking about the popular aesthetic.

Suppose you’ve wanted to try out this aesthetic or change your style to a delicate, Cottagecore-like style. Here is all you need to know about the ideal countryside aesthetic that has taken the internet by storm.

Fashion and beauty

1. Ethereal, Barely-There Makeup

Portrait of redhead model with clean skin by melnyk58, 123RF.

Simple, soft, and glowy barely-there makeup is the way to go. We’re talking lip balm and tints, the tiniest amount of cream or liquid blush for a quick sun-kissed face, messy and full natural brows, and freckles. The more skin texture, the better! Use your fingertips instead of a sponge or brush to apply for a more natural, effortless effect.

2. Vintage and Feminine Fashion

Fashion is a massive key characteristic of achieving the Cottagecore aesthetic. The style is heavily inspired by the hyper-feminine style from the late 1800s and the Victorian era. This style includes pastel color palettes, earthy tones, and flowy silhouettes. 

Lace, ruffles and milkmaid necklines

Woman in dress in the field by evdoha, 123RF.

The combination of lace, ruffles and a milkmaid neckline makes an incredibly romantic fit. We’ve seen the trend of milkmaid tops a few years back; now it’s time the midi-length milkmaid dresses get to shine.

Dresses with a milkmaid neckline also come in many designs—Gingham, floral, or champagne-white with ruffles and a lace hem.

Woman outdoors in garden by vichzh, 123RF.

They also work well with some floral sandals, Mary Janes, or boots for an edge. Complete the look by accessorizing with dreamy wildflowers in your hair, a pair of dainty earrings, a ring, and maybe a satin headscarf.

Vintage

Girl in a long dress posing with a horse by tanitako, 123RF.

Holistically, Cottagecore is an aesthetic that celebrates self-efficiency, living slow, and living simply. In essence, it is sustainable living and connecting with nature. So opt for thrifted pieces rather than brand new items as many of the lifestyle’s staples can be found at thrift stores. Look for long, flowy gowns in white to turn your life into a renaissance painting. 

It’s also a lifestyle that highlights traditional skills like sewing and baking. So if your skills allow, make your clothes! It will be unique with your spin on it compared to brand new clothes in stores.

Pastels, floral and gingham

Back in the 18th century, florals on apparel were small and dainty. Be it a dress with small floral patterns all over the dress or a blouse with floral embroidery – it’s hard to go wrong. 

Woman in boots standing in farm by irrmago, 123RF.

The color palette you want to curate is a naturalistic color palette made with earthy tones. If that’s not your style, and you prefer some pops of color, incorporate shades of pastels. Whatever it is, make sure that it’s something not too bold. 

Gingham is one of the most accessible patterns to wear for a Cottagecore vibe, and they come in many different forms. One of the classic ways to wear gingham in Cottagecore style is with a pinafore Gingham dress and a lacey puffed sleeve underneath. A matching colored headband and a pair of cream socks with lace details would perfectly finish the ensemble. 

3. Documenting your Cottagecore style

Now that you’ve nailed the aesthetic, the next step is to take a bunch of photos and share them with the internet. Here are some photoshoot ideas and editing styles that highlight the Cottagecore vibe.

Picnics

Picnics are an essential photoshoot setting when it comes to the Cottagecore lifestyle. What’s more laid back and relaxed than laying on the grass, munching on freshly picked berries?

Picnic on the lawn with peonies by kotkoa, 123RF.

Some props you can include in your picnic photoshoot are woven baskets filled with fresh fruit or wildflowers, pleasing pastries, homemade cakes, and tea. Herbal tea would be a nice touch and homage to the Cottagecore concept that values using natural ingredients from the earth to nourish the body.

It also doesn’t hurt to add a nice picnic mat that fits the Cottagecore theme. Think gingham, white lace, or floral prints – just like the clothing patterns mentioned above. 

Flower gardens

Woman in the poppy field by korobkova, 123RF.

The feeling of running through a flower field during the golden hour or morning sun is unmatched. If you’re lucky enough to have access to a field of flowers or a flower garden, utilize it! Pressed flowers are also a huge staple of the Cottagecore aesthetic, so don’t forget to pick some of the flowers to preserve them. Leave some flowers in your hair and your basket as a prop.

Are there no flower fields near you? Use a forest backdrop. Lounging in a white flowy dress by the river is also pure Cottagecore vibes.

Photoshoot tip: Seen some creators’ photos that have a soft glow to them? You can recreate the look by smudging a small amount of Vaseline onto a cheap UV filter to diffuse the light.

Editing and Post-production

Aesthetic picnic by vicushka, 123RF.

You can turn your photo into a whimsical Cottagecore photo using Pixlr or other editing tools. The Cottagecore edits are often low in contrast, texture, and clarity but higher in saturation to create a whimsical look. Play around with the warm and cool tones to achieve the specific Cottagecore vibe you’re looking for. The only rule of thumb is to keep it as dreamy yet natural as possible!

On the other hand, Cottagecore appropriate fonts should look regal or feel cutesy. A great example of this is Baskerville or Cheri Liney. Similar to nailing the fashion aspect of the Cottagecore aesthetic, the font color should align with naturalistic, earthy tones or pastels. 

“All good things are wild and free.”

With this guide, you’re well on your way to being that Cottagecore girl and living that lifestyle you’ve always admired.

Check out our Cottagecore-themed audio and footage compilation


Are you interested in other themed photography? Check out our guide on how to achieve the Wes Anderson aesthetic here. Explore these creative photoshoot ideas without leaving your home!