With the surprise announcement of Taylor's Swift's folklore in July 2020, and then a second surprise follow-up sister album, evermore, released in December 2020, Taylor's cozy, folksy, woodsy vibes has us asking what her new aesthetic, often termed as "cottagecore," means. You may have also seen the aesthetic appear in popular magazines and articles, like The Escapist Land of 'Cottagecore,' From Marie Antoinette to Taylor Swift, opens a new window or across social media platforms like Instagram and Tumblr.
Cottagecore, sometimes called countrycore or farmcore, is an aesthetic movement characterized by simple, and often rural, living, harmony with nature, as well as practicing self sufficiency and in some cases, practicing minimalism. Cottagecore is romantic and nostalgic, and it's a move away from the fast lane and screen time toward a quieter, more mindful existence.
Think handcrafts like knitting or embroidery, baking crusty bread, raising speckled chickens or planting fragrant herb gardens, small and cute animals, writing letters and watercolor flowers, gently peeling paint, vintage furniture pieces that glow from beeswax, soft blankets, and using lace, florals and pastels or neutral, warm tones in your home decor and clothing.
And with so much time on our hands, thanks to COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders, plus mounting stress and anxiety, the movement found increased traction in 2020. But cottagecore has its own dark side, romanticizing the past, specifically the agricultural era, at a time when manual labor was done by people considered to be "less than" others. Those living in rural areas were deemed as smallminded and insignificant by those who lived well in the city. And now, when the world faces the ever-growing threat of climate change and fears about the future, cottagecore feels as if it's a retreat, a way to hide away from a world that has become less personal and more divided.
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