Unless you don't have any social media accounts, there's a high chance that you've seen one fashion aesthetic that's been dominating TikTok and Instagram for the past two years: cottagecore. The rise in popularity of this fashion aesthetic can be attributed to various parts of the cultural zeitgeist—whether it was the flight of many from the city to the country due to COVID-19, the sudden call to begin cooking sourdough bread from scratch, or how shows like Bridgerton blew up. But possibly the biggest indication of how this aesthetic has been embraced by the fashion set is the proliferation of cottagecore outfits. The vibes of this look can be visually represented by an idyllic idea of a chic person in the country wearing a puff-sleeve dress while taking a morning walk in their rose garden. But cottagecore is so much more than a "vibe"—it's a way to embrace a simpler lifestyle and personal style.
Cottagecore has become a form of comfort for many worldwide, not just because it's impossibly chic. Its simple approach to dressing was (and still is) a radical way of finding joy in uncertain times. It was a welcome moment of rest to reconnect with nature, make time for homemaking activities, and be more intentional about our consumption, from cooking to clothing. New trends have taken hold in the past few years, and the world has begun to reopen again, but the power of cottagecore remains. In that vein, we've done a deep dive to define what cottagecore is and have rounded up 15 cute cottagecore outfits and shopped out the key pieces needed to get this aesthetic. The only thing you'll need after reading this story is a quaint little cabin of your own.
What Is Cottagecore?
For anyone unfamiliar with the term, cottagecore is the culmination of clothing, interiors, and lifestyle activities inspired by living in—you guessed it—a cottage. It's a departure from the fast-paced lifestyles and trend cycles of the past and favors a more intentional approach to dressing and everyday life. The cottagecore aesthetic gives off an air of whimsical romanticism with a pinch of practicality needed for living on a farm or a plot of land in the middle of nowhere.
You can see this most prominently through the embrace of handmade pieces (quilted coats, knitted balaclavas, embroidered denim, and quirky necklaces) alongside Victorian-esque pieces (corsets, Peter Pan blouses, and puff-sleeve dresses) in fabrics and prints that invoke another time period (lace, eyelet, toile, and floral prints). At the end of the day, this aesthetic is all about investing in pieces that are timeless and have beautiful details. And if that doesn't make you excited to adopt this aesthetic for yourself, then the cottagecore outfit ideas ahead are sure to make you want to book it to a prairie near you.
Cottagecore Outfit Ideas and Key Pieces
Cottagecore is all about embracing a simple rural lifestyle, so it's best to prioritize simplicity when it comes to the 'fits too. Nothing is easier than throwing on a chunky knit set or crochet dress to go for a walk outside. Shoes are optional, but knits are required.
Cottagecore outfits balance minimalism with Victorian-inspired details. Think pieces with corset bodices, puff sleeves, toile, and floral prints. You want to look like you walked out of a Jane Austen novel and into the present, and the best possible way to do that is in a floral dress.
Even if you're not residing in a cottage, you can channel the aesthetic for your next picnic date by opting for a few signature pieces. The perfect way to embrace this look is by pairing a top with feminine details (e.g., ruffles, bows, lace) styled with a miniskirt and dainty jewelry.
Just because the cliché cottagecore ensembles champion frilly pieces doesn't mean that's the only way you can pull off this aesthetic. Again, it's all about a return to minimal, intentional pieces with intricate details. So pairing your favorite oversize sunglasses with a classic cardigan, slides, and a great pair of linen pants is the perfect way to give the same vibe without all the frills.
If you consider yourself a maximalist rather than a minimalist, then this outfit idea will be right up your alley. Cottagecore embraces handmade things, so what better way to pay homage to craftsmanship than with a quilted statement piece? Whether you opt for just a coat or a full matching set, a quilted piece is a must-have.
It doesn't get more quintessentially cottagecore than opting for a white dress. But the key to this look lies in the details. You don't want any old white dress. Look for one with unique details like a fitted bodice, lace, eyelet, embroidery, an oversize collar, and puff sleeves. Finish off the outfit with fun accessories like a statement bucket hat or handmade jewelry to take this piece from basic to one of a kind.
It doesn't get more "prairie meets Victorian" than the corset-top trend. Honestly, this is possibly the easiest way to craft a cottagecore outfit, as all you need is this top, a pair of jeans, and some layered jewelry.
What's more country ready than a pair of cowboy boots? If you want to adopt this aesthetic without straying too far into the prairie, though, simply pair your boots with a little black puff-sleeve dress. The dress will polish the boots, and the boots will add an edge to the feminine silhouette, making it a getup meant for a weekend at a cabin in the countryside.
Details are the name of the game when it comes to crafting the perfect cottagecore outfit. Pairing a white blouse with denim shorts and a scarf may seem simple, but it's the handmade details (like lace appliqué, an oversize collar, and embroidery) that make this look shine.
Who said you had to own a cabin out in the woods to make the most of this style? Now that spring is just around the corner, you can start exploring nature more in small ways, like a picnic or a weekend getaway. Just be sure to bring a woven bag with you, as it's the easiest way to embody what cottagecore is all about and can be styled with everything from a crochet-knit dress to a denim jumpsuit.
As fantasy fuelled as the aesthetic can feel at times, in reality, if you're packing to go stay off the grid for a while, you need a few pieces that blend functionality with fashion. Enter: vintage-inspired sneakers. Throw them on to go for a walk with a cute floral dress, or with jeans and a cute corset top, they will channel that simplistic energy you're aiming for.
Whether you're walking through the fields or planning a picnic in a garden in the city, the simplest way to get the cottagecore vibe is by keeping it simple. Pair some light-wash jeans with sandals and a floral-print top, and you'll be giving off effortless cute country-girl vibes.
If you don't live in the countryside but are packing for a trip to it, then you'll want to opt for cozy pieces that can keep you looking chic without the effort. Something as simple as a matching linen set and an oversize straw hat will work wonders.
Just because you're residing in the country doesn't mean you can't pull out the jewels. In fact, to make any minimal white dress or Peter Pan blouse pop, it's an absolute must. Opt for quirky, DIY-inspired pieces to fully commit to the handmade aesthetic.
You've made it to the end, and while you've probably now realized there are so many ways to interpret the cottagecore fashion aesthetic, the easiest way to do it is by getting back to what this movement is all about: simplicity. Throw on a pretty minidress (either with puff sleeves or other Victorian-inspired details), and you've got the perfect outfit to wear to a nearby garden or your local bodega.