Cottagecore Aesthetic: Subculture On A Student Budget

Want to achieve the cottagecore aesthetic? Let’s deep-dive into it and how to achieve it on a student budget.

The cottagecore aesthetic is a style that never really goes out of style. With European country vibes and days of baking and sewing, it’s a lifestyle and fashion look that’s not hard to romanticise. If you love neutral colours or even brights with a nature vibe, then you may want to stick around and explore how this now increasingly diverse style can be achieved in both conventional and darker aesthetics. 

We also dive into the issues cottagecore has faced and how movements such as Cottagecore Black Folk are increasing inclusivity in what was originally a trend lacking in diversity, and unknowingly romanticising farm life, rural poverty and lack of resources.

Read on to find out more about what cottage core is, which brands in the UK sell cottagecore clothing, how to get them on a student budget (with links to our discounts!), cottagecore history and cottagecore TikTok accounts we think you should follow.

Want to know about other fashion aesthetics for uni? Check out our dark and light academia fashion post and how you can achieve it on a student budget too.

What is cottagecore?

cottagecore aesthetic

Cottagecore is a fashion subculture popularised by Generation Z and late millennials. It also goes by the names “vintage cottagecore”, “farmcore” or “countrycore”.

The cottagecore aesthetic takes influence from and romanticises cottages, the countryside, cosiness, rustic homeware and rural areas. 

Overall, cottagecore is the antithesis of an otherwise bustling and fast-paced lifestyle, revelling in the finer things like frolicking, fruit picking, gardening and cooking. With these in mind, it makes it a pretty self-sufficient aesthetic that promotes sustainability in the process.

What is dark cottagecore?

dark cottagecore

As the name implies, dark cottagecore is a darker version of what the typical cottagecore aesthetic is. They still value all of the same things but have edgy or gothic elements to it in the use of colour, trims, accessories and other possessions. 

The cottagecore colour pallet is dominated by earthy colours and pastels whereas its darker version likes faded browns, blacks, greys, deep greens, and dirty yellows. 

What are the inspirations behind cottagecore trends?

The cottagecore aesthetic is very nature-centric and promotes simplicity. With the former in mind, you may even find cottagecore influenced by folklore, myths, fairy tales and the like. Some of the key aesthetic components are all about bringing natural elements indoors as decorative elements. Think dried flowers, fresh flowers, and houseplants with neutral and warm palettes. 

When it comes to fashion, it’s all about taking these components into consideration. Cottagecore fashion is typically loose-fitting, flowy dresses and skirts with long sleeves or puffed sleeves, using the aforementioned nature as prints or props.

Cottagecore and fashion

girl in cottagecore outfit

Cottagecore has been around for years, back in the Tumblr days even. However, since the pandemic, the rise in Cottagecore became pretty prominent and hasn’t seemed to shift. Think about it, we were stuck at home, trying new hobbies, baking our own bread, upcycling furniture and generally being more in touch with our home. Not to mention shows like Bridgerton releasing at the backend of 2020 and making us long for summer months in cottagecore and regal-style dresses

The ideal cottagecore aesthetic is the classic dress with ruffles and puff sleeves. The fashion movement has since evolved through shoes and even cottagecore prom dresses. It’s a fashion style that brings a sense of comfort as it’s very nature-driven, which many of the fashion prints are inspired by too. 

Cottagecore clothes

Overall, the cottagecore colour palette is light, pastel and airy. Here are the typical items and prints people wear to be that cottagecore girl:

  • Dresses
  • Blouses
  • Skirts
  • Puff-sleeve-anything
  • Broderie
  • Ribbons
  • Mary Janes
  • Gingham
  • Lace
  • Muslin
  • Linen.

Cottagecore fashion for men 

Despite cottagecore predominantly being female-oriented, men (and non-binary folk) can absolutely rock the cottagecore aesthetic too. But how does one do so when cottagecore is all about floaty fabrics? Here are a few masculine items you can wear if you want to build cottagecore outfits as a male or NB.

  • Light blue denim
  • Brown trousers
  • Waistcoats and vests
  • Button-down shirts
  • Leather accessories
  • Braces.

Cottagecore and inclusivity

We mentioned how cottagecore brought up some issues. Such issues included the lack of regard for upsetting historical events, poverty and farm life. It also gained criticism for being predominantly a “white girl” aesthetic, and with this cottagecore fandom website explaining that cottagecore is “North American and Australian settings, an inadvertent celebration of the aesthetics of colonialism”, it’s not hard to see why many eyebrows have risen over the past few years.

The emergence of black cottagecore

When typing in “cottagecore” into Google, you’re often greeted with predominantly white women in pretty dresses walking across vast and beautiful fields. This has led many people to see it as a white-led trend, especially with the issues raised previously on the lack of inclusivity, and turned eye on what it could inadvertently be romanticising.

That’s where black cottagecore comes in.

What is black cottage core? Noemie Sérieux, a 22-year-old NYC-based pastry chef, was sick of not seeing black women in the cottagecore aesthetic whenever she would search it up on Pinterest. To combat this, she created her own Instagram account called the Cottagecore Black Folk back in 2019, which at the time of writing has amassed over 17.5k followers. The idea was to make it a more inclusive space for Black Folk, trans and non-binary members.

This, in turn, has inspired many to follow the black cottagecore movement and give cottagecore a more inclusive community to be a part of, as well as aesthetic.

Cottagecore in TV, film and books

Cottagecore TV shows

1. Downton Abbey

Starring Hugh Bonneville and Jessica Brow, Downton Abbey is a fictional Yorkshire country estate and takes place between the years of 1912 and 1926. It follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servents. Set in the Edwardian era, you’re bound to see some serious cottagecore inspo in this iconic series.

2. Bridgerton

Another period drama for those aspiring for the cottagecore aesthetic, Bridgerton follows main character Daphne Bridgerton, who is the eldest of the Bridgerton family and their debut on Regency London’s marraige market. In the search for true love, there are lies, mysteries, romances and scandals.

3. The Great British Bakeoff

The Great British Bakeoff is an iconic series that takes place every year, where passionate amateur baking fans compete to be crowned the UK’s Best Amateur Baker. It takes place in a quaint location, and nothing screams cottagecore quite like baking in the countryside.

Cottagecore films

1. My Neighbour Totoro

This 1988 anime by Studio Ghibli isn’t one to gloss over for a cottagecore aesthetic. My Neighbour Totoro is about a school girl called, Satsuke and her younger sister, Mei, who live in an old country house with their father and wait for their mother to recover from a terrible illness. In the house, they discover playful spirits and a cute yet massive creature called Totoro. The country vibes are everything in this film, and it’s an easy watch too.

2. Pride & Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice follows the turbulent relationship between Elizabeth Bennet, the daughter of a country gentleman, and Fitzwilliam Darcy, a rich aristocratic landowner. They must overcome the titular sins of ‘pride and prejudice’ in order to fall in love and successfully marry. Its setting is in rural England at the turn of the 19th century, giving it some serious cottagecore vibes and something to take inspiration from.

3. Matilda

This classic film you probably watched as a child has some serious cottagecore vibes you might have missed. It follows a young girl called Matilda, who’s poorly mistreaded by her family and instead escapes in books and loves school. She discovers she has mysterious powers, and longs to live with her teacher Miss Honey, in what is clearly a cottagecore-inspired home.

Cottagecore books

1. The Hobbit

The Hobbit follows hoe-loving Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit from The Shire, on a quest to share treasure guarded by Smaug. It’s full of picturesque scenes of the country side, he shire, cheese, fruit, rolling fields, flowers, gardening, cosy homes…Bilbo’s home in Bag End…it’s cottagecore at its finest.

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2. The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate: Discoveries from a Secret World

If you’re after something non-fiction and scientific, In The Hidden Life of Trees, written by Peter Wohlleben, shares his deep love of woods and forests and explains the amazing processes of life, death, and regeneration he has observed in the woodland and the amazing scientific processes behind the wonders of which we are blissfully unaware. As we know, cottagecore is very-nature driven, and it’d be super inspiring to learn mor about the wonders of the woods and forest.

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3. Scottish Borders Folk Tales

This lively and entertaining collection of folk tales from the Scottish Borders is rich in stories both tall and true, ancient and more recent, dark and funny, fantastical and powerful. Written with authentic Scotts dialest, you can delve into magical stories involving Lochmaben Harper, Tam Linn, Thomas the Rhymer, Muckle Mou’d Meg and Michael Scot the wizard. Beauitfully illsutrared, these enchanting tales are enough to inspire each element of a cottaegcore lifestyle.

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Cottagecore TikTok accounts to follow

You could get absolutely lost in cottagecore TikTok to be honest. Below is just a fraction of our favourite #cottagecoretiktok accounts we think will inspire your cottagecore outfits.

@thatvintagecouple

@blesshutchersonn

@blesshutchersonn

Queen of Lights 🔆🔆🔆🔆

♬ Lights – Em1r

@cescalove

@enchanted_noir

Where to buy cottagecore clothes in the UK

Want to put a cottagecore outfit together yourself? We’ve got some picks you’ll love, from your typical cottagecore dress, soft cottagecore clothing and the cutest cottagecore shoes too.

1. Broderie puff sleeve dress. Boohoo — £14

A classic soft cottage core style has to be a simple broderie dress with a puff sleeve. We love this staple piece from boohoo, as it can be worn alone day to night.

Get a boohoo student discount.

2. Alexa midi dress. Nobody’s Child — £39

They’ve got almost all the colourways to fit any cottagecore colour palette and taste!

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3. Urban Revivo midi dress with puff sleeves. ASOS — £39.99

We love this Urban Revivo dress with dark orange and white gingham patten. It would look great paired with a white or yellow bag to really bring out the summery vibes.

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4. Lace Trim Floral Jacquard Bralette. NastyGal — £16

If you’re not after a dress, this simple lace trim floral bralet from Nasty Gal is easy to wear alone or layered up with a light jacket and skirt. It’s perfect for a more muted cottagecore outfit, but still rocks fabulous trim which is a cottagecore staple.

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5. Tira Mary Janes ‘White Washout Edition’. KOI Footwear — £37

Mary Janes are almost synonymous with with cottagecore outfits. These cottagecore shoes in white work well with almost all cottagecour outfit ideas you put together and can be worn alone or with white frilly socks to complete the look.

Get a Koi student discount.

6. Brown Oversized Boxy Check Flannel Shacket. I SAW IT FIRST — £55

This trendy I SAW IT FIRST shacket can really work for cottagecore too. It’s oversized, comfortable, and can be paired with a white or beige vest for a more modern touch to your cottagecore male outfit.

Get an I SAW IT FIRST student discount.

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