Take it straight from the internet’s Britannica–Wikipedia says that cottagecore “celebrates an idealized rural life,” that it “values traditional skills and crafts” and satisfies “a desire for ‘an aspirational form of nostalgia’ as well as an escape from many forms of stress and trauma.” And that sounds great; cheaper than therapy at least. But what exactly does cottagecore entail?
Picture this: a little wooden house with whitewashed walls, far out in the uncharted backwaters. Kitchen walls hung with drying herbs, mismatched stoneware on the table, sun tea steeping on the sill. Imagine a porch swing, an overgrown garden, a foraging basket. Picture, in short, a pastoral day at home in the countryside, and you’ve got the shape of it.
More or less anything can be cottagecore–a book, a piece of home decor, an afternoon activity. The unifying principle is a kind of dreamy bohemian cheer, a plucky do-it-yourself simplicity. Baking bread at home is cottagecore, and eating it outside on a picnic blanket is as well. The muted, gentle colors of the earth are cottagecore–dusty pinks, golden yellows, sage greens. Cottagecore can be found anywhere, so long as it inspires a sense of bucolic peace.
At its, well, core, cottagecore is the romanticization of a life that none of its proponents have likely ever known–rural, slow, and kind. It is an antithesis to the swift brutality of the real world, the overwhelm of modern living, the inescapable sleekness and minimalism that follows from it all. In short, cottagecore is an art movement as much as it is an escape.