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Cottagecore’s Charm Lies in Escapism to a Simpler Life

Picture this. A quaint cottage nestled along a hillside, wildflowers spread endlessly across rolling fields, floral patterns on billowy, Victorian dresses and songs from Taylor Swift’s folklore album playing in the distance. This wistful scene of rural life epitomizes cottagecore culture, the latest internet trend to grace our Instagram and TikTok feeds in 2020.

A cousin to other nostalgia-based movements as farmcore and grandmacore, cottagecore originally began as a visual subculture on social media. It was publicized as a way to escape the modern world, reconnect with nature and bask in the simple joys of a now bygone era. Following the COVID-19 outbreak, cottagecore has since boomed in popularity among quarantiners seeking to break free from this “new normal”—even if it’s only for a short while.

In this age of social distancing, cottagecore is satisfying all kinds of escapist fantasies, offering a safe haven from the stressors of our chaotic lives. This idyllic, back-to-basics lifestyle is therefore being embraced—especially by younger generations—as a form of self-care or therapy. Paradoxically, its mantras embracing a return to the humble pursuits of domestic life can also help boost productivity. Engaging in the most unassuming cottagecore activities, like baking, sewing and drying flowers, can incite feelings of accomplishment and build self-esteem.

The comfort of cottagecore has even translated to 2020 fashion trends, with many designers and contemporary brands showcasing stylized versions of the aesthetic in their latest collections. Athropologie’s Arcadian Ambiance fall collection, for example, combines free-flowing silhouettes with pastoral prints to bring back romance and a sense of nostalgia. Just by dressing the part—such as donning prairie dresses, puff-sleeved button-down tops, straw hats or flower crowns—cottagecore can instantly whisk you away to a more peaceful time, where the only real worries lie in tending to an herb garden or making sure your apple pie doesn’t burn in the oven.

Alongside its stress-reducing qualities and applications in fashion, cottagecore’s other great appeal is its accessibility; there are no prerequisites of living on a farm or having any special skills to partake in the fun. The “maximalist” cottagecore aesthetic is all about surrounding yourself with layers of colors, patterns and all-things cozy, and participating in modest activities that will make you feel right at home. Cottagecore also favors muted tones, rustic forms, botanical motifs, repurposed materials and vintage accents, like antique finds from your local flea market. Coincidentally, many of these attributes are attractive floral trends in 2020 that will carry well in the upcoming year.

Beyond enchanting Millennial and Gen Z influencers, cottagecore has stirred quite the buzz in the floral industry. From seasoned professionals to novice creatives, floral designers are working more and more with cottagecore design elements and arrangements. In fact (and generally speaking), the art of floristry integrates perfectly with cottagecore culture: flowers ease anxieties and speak a universal language of love, joy and of course—comfort.

Recreating cottagecore-esque themes in your next floral project is a cinch. Select varieties in soft and neutral hues, like whites, sandy creams, greens and pastels. Also focus on more natural, deconstructed arrangements that use old-fashioned ceramic vases or antique glass containers. Or, for those that prefer something more low-maintenance, try drying and pressing your own flowers. Roses, hydrangea, eucalyptus, statice and other “wildflower-like” blooms are ideal for doing just that.

Whether you’re a cottagecore veteran or newbie, the simple pleasures of this aesthetic are easy to incorporate in floral arrangements and decorating ventures. It all begins with your flower selection (no actual cottage or farmhouse needed).