Christened with the suffix in 2018, on Tumblr, “Cottagecore” is a bucolic standout aesthetic of the internet in 2020. As the pandemic started to advance, so did the number of searches for the aesthetic. The ironically digital aesthetic is a romanticism of the idyllic meadowlands and longing for a soothing escape to nature from the harsh reality of the locked urban households filled with anxiety and an unpredictable future. It came as no surprise when Taylor Swift dropped her quarantine album “Folklore” loaded with pastoral imagery and was greeted with arguably the best reviews of her career with skyrocketing searches for the aesthetics following her album release.
What is cottagecore?
Cottagecore is an aesthetic resulting from an idealized rendition of western rural life. It is gathered on concepts around a more homely life and harmony with nature. Certain themes associated with cottagecore are the adoration of the environment, food, and caring for people. It values traditional skills and crafts such as baking, pottery, tending to the farm animals. The rise in the aesthetic community is a reaction to the advent of hustle culture, according to The New York Times.
Pursuit of the cottagecore aesthetic
The cottagecore aesthetic encompasses flower pressings, farm life, exploring forests, tending to domesticated animals along with hand-written letters, vintage crockery, embroidery, baking comfort food with uncomplicated recipes such as bread, muffins, and pies, embellishing using mushrooms on furniture and glass dishes, picnics in flower farms, soaking in the sunlight overlooking the meadows, reading poetry under a tree.
Cottagecore fashion draws on a minimalist wardrobe and ordinarily comprises longer, loose-fitting, flowy sundresses and skirts and oversized clothing. Puffy sleeves and button blouses are popular with a color scheme that includes brown, baby pink, olive, ivory, beige, light yellow, and baby blue in patterns such as stripes, floral, and gingham. Embroidered plants, animals, and insects on overalls paired with DIY jewelry and straw hats, and loosely braided hair are staple outfits.
Ambassadors of the aesthetic
Kindness, affection and care are the virtues that Miss Honey from Matilda gracefully endorses in the cottagecore aesthetic along with the pursuits of teaching embroidery to Matlida, arranging picnics, baking, passion for learning, and helping others to reach their potential.
1888, The Lady of Shalott, John William Waterhouse
The Lady of Shalott is a painting from 1888 by the English artist John William Waterhouse, who also painted two more versions of the above painting in 1894 and 1915. The art here depicts a scene from Tennyson’s poem under the same name, in which the poet describes a young woman and her unrequited love. The painting, aside from metaphorical aspects, draws attention to detail and bright colors associated with the Pre-Raphaelites that accentuate Waterhouse’s realism.
1915-1926, Water Lilies, Claude Monet
Color is my daylong obsession, joy, and torment.Claude Monet
The Water Lilies series is a collection of 250 paintings that Claude painted until his death, inspired by his Giverny garden. The dreaminess of this impressionist painting makes it look like an abstract landscape, evoking a sense of calmness and serenity through his attention to light and reflections.
1894 ,Ophelia, John William Waterhouse
Depicting a character from Hamlet, Ophelia is an 1894 oil on canvas painting. Waterhouse’s 1894 version depicts a stark contrast between the surrounding and the heroine who is sat on log seconds before her death. The literary scene is a Pre-Raphaelites style of work with intricate details of Ophelia’s dress and her vicinity with Waterhouse’s forte of realistic portraitures.
Matilda is a family staple directed by Danny Devito comprising hilariously exaggerated antagonists and a delightful protagonist with magical gifts. The movie is a dark family comedy packed with feel-good moments, a free-spirited narrative, and charming pastoral lands.
Joe Wright’s romance drama has substantial filmmaking that offers gorgeous scenes, intense acting, and a misunderstanding that changes the course of all three leads while the unique background score plays. This period piece is juxtaposed with changing perspectives and timelines and portrays realism that leaves little to no space between reality and imagination.
Anne with an E
Anne with an E is a riveting story of an orphaned girl who by pure accident gets taken in by a pair of siblings that ensues the hilarious series as she grows from a young girl with a traumatic past to a woman full of life and adventure. The show is paired with stunning landscapes, sincere actors, and cinematic depth as it goes on to give the audience some lessons, laughter, and tears.
With a dark spin to the lush fairytale of Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent is a true Disney rendition with steady storytelling, beautiful scores with truly grand visuals. Angelina and Elle form a heartwarming burgeoning relationship filled with wits, warmth, innocence, and a secret past.
The Secret World of Arrietty
The Secret World of Arrietty is a whimsical work that lives up to the Studio Ghibli reputation. Arrietty has bewitching backgrounds that play second lead to the budding friendship of the protagonists as they explore the fantasy world filled with different human facets and an uncomplicated tale of adventure.
The Secret Garden
“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is a vivid read that transports one to the mystical garden and makes them partake passively. The 1911 classic teaches us lessons very subtly as Mary embarks on her journey exploring the hidden garden vis a vis her transformation from a spoiled brat to a caring being.
Far from the madding crowd
“It is rare that the pleasures of the imagination will compensate for the pain of sleeplessness”
Released in 1874, Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy is filled with common Victorian tradition and culture with fascinating quaint English towns. The novel is a cobweb of relations and emotions centered around Bathsheba and her three suitors. Hardy’s detailed description of greenery and countryside- the Wessex- and excellence of language are what make the book a classic.
The Strangers in the Woods
“The world is a confusing place, meaningful and meaningless at once.”
The Stranger in the Woods is a well-researched and compassionate account of the life of Christopher Knight who abandoned his social life to go live in the woods, documented by Michael Finkel. The investigatory and biography hybrid is a gripping novel that captures elements of forests in correlation to human survival and leaves us with thought-provoking messages about human existence.