Photo courtesy of @blancamiro

Cottagecore: How To Actually Wear The New-Season Trend

Cottagecore fashion has taken over the runways — and our Instagram feeds. From floaty maxi dresses and heritage knit sweaters to tiered skirts and quirky accessories, here are the key designer pieces to add to your closet for 2021!

Fashion trends come and go, and while the COVID-19 pandemic certainly disrupted the usual seasonal trend cycle, it also acted as a catalyst for some. Yes, this includes the rise of cottagecore. You’ve no doubt seen traces of this quaint trend across social media or real life in the past few months. Spotted fruity print clothing, retro gingham or stripe patterns, delicate florals, nap dresses or Taylor Swift’s Folklore cardigan (which is both a song and an actual slouchy knit cardigan) anywhere this year? That’s all cottagecore. 

Here, we break down everything you need to know about the trend and its rise to prominence. We also share our expert guide on how to incorporate the cottagecore aesthetic into your wardrobe, whether you’re into full-on Little House on The Prairie looks or prefer something a little more low-key. 

What is Cottagecore

What exactly is cottagecore, you may ask? While it’s by no means an entirely new aesthetic, it’s a contemporary update on the traditional countryside-inspired dressing that’s always formed a part of fashion. “Spearheaded by the Scandi set and supercharged by the current pandemic, cottagecore is here to evolve the prairie girl aesthetic of previous seasons,” Polly Walters, senior editor at WGSN, explains.

Many people turned to baking, crafting, and gardening as ways to pass the time — or connect with a more wholesome way of living — once COVID-19 caused a near global lockdown, and their sense of style followed suit. Floaty dresses, puff sleeves, and simple, comfortable fabrics proliferated across the social media feeds of fashion’s most stylish during the summer months, complemented by images of homemade bread and cakes, woodlands strolls, wildflowers, and freshly foraged fruits and vegetables. “Prettified and practical, it’s a trend that takes its cues from a summer spent enjoying local outdoor escapes, garden picnics, and DIY crafting; think sweet ginghams, upcycled patchworking, crochet, and playful embroideries,” Walters shares.

Although the cottagecore lifestyle revolves around a return to more traditional, digitally detoxed hobbies, ironically, it’s across social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram (where the #cottagecore tag has been used more than 814,000 times and counting) that its popularity has skyrocketed. It seems that whether it’s online or in real life, community is truly what’s at cottagecore’s, well, core. It also harks back to the drive toward sustainable fashion: By nature, cottagecore is driven by hand-me-downs, thrifting, and a make-do-and-mend mentality, or at least embodies an aesthetic that suggests as much.

How Did Cottagecore Become a High-Fashion Trend?

As with any good trend, whether propelled by the streets or social media feeds, cottagecore’s influence has been spotted all over the spring/summer 2021 runways, both real and virtual. “A key player across the S/S 21 shows, cottagecore was scattered throughout CPHFW,” Walters tells us. “But we’ve also seen this trend go global, spotting it at Anna Sui, Batsheva, and Ulla Johnson in New York, and elements [of it] at Molly Goddard and Erdem in London.” So will nostalgia-ridden fabrics, floaty dresses, comfortable footwear, and quaint accessories be anchoring our new-season looks? “Absolutely one to watch, dig out those tea dresses and Wellies for SS21!” Walters advises.  

Fruit Prints

Quirky fruit prints find their way into spring/summer trends every so often, but it feels like they’ve never been quite as prevalent as they are now. Spotted on everything from casual T-shirts and knitted sweaters to designer sneakers and embroidered dresses, fruity emblems add zest to any garment. Lirika Matoshi’s whimsical pink strawberry print dress very nearly broke Instagram this past summer, thanks to its popularity with the platform’s fashion influencers. Following customer demand, Matoshi released a version of the dress in black, then produced embroidered face masks to match both styles.

Strawberries also appear to be the fruit of choice for Alessandro Michele, who chose to update Gucci’s chunky Rhyton sneakers with kitschy strawberry graphics. Fittingly, the sneakers’ uppers are crafted from smooth cream leather — either a complementary decision or a complete coincidence. If you can’t pick your favorite fruit from the crop, why not opt for a piece that incorporates many? We love Pringle of Scotland’s sweater with lemon and cherry patterns — it’s a versatile pullover that works in fall and spring. Alternatively, liven up a muted tonal outfit with Gucci’s floral-fruity silk scarf, which can be worn around the neck or head, or even fashioned into a face mask.


Gingham is an obvious go-to for patterns with a country-living vibe, and it needn’t look old-fashioned. There are plenty of contemporary ways to bring the check print into your wardrobe. Ganni’s high-rise silk-satin pants in brown-and-white gingham are the perfect year-round item. Tucking a crisp white tee into them in the warmer months adds a touch of retro appeal to a casual but cool outfit. When the weather turns colder, throw on an oversized knit and a pair of heeled boots for an equally stylish ensemble. 

We couldn’t mention gingham without acknowledging the ubiquitous gingham dress. Baum und Pferdgarten’s gingham-check wrap dress in tobacco brown is flattering on a variety of body types thanks to its wrap silhouette, V-neck, and puff sleeves. Ganni’s blue-and-black gingham dress pays homage to the “new necklines” trend with its oversized ruffled collar. If you just can’t wait until summer to wear it, layer it over a simple black turtleneck this fall/winter.

Vintage Stripes

Muted two-tone stripes may give off bedtime vibes, but sleepwear as daywear has become a reality as many of us spend much more time at home. Of course, pajama dressing doesn’t need to mean wearing actual PJs, as proven by Danish brand Helmstedt. Its candy-striped green-and-pink cropped trousers are simply charming, especially with their ruffled hem. Wear these breezy cotton pants with their matching button-up shirt for a coordinated look, or style each separately for a subtler spin on stripes.

Gucci’s sky blue set is another no-brainer when it comes to cute yet undeniably cool style. Made in cotton poplin, the striped short-sleeved shirt printed with the GG monogram has a Cuban collar, white piping, and a three-button fastening up the front. We can’t wait to wear ours with the matching shorts, which are elasticated for peak comfort.

Heritage Knits

Knits will forever be the core of a fall/winter wardrobe, but you’ll often find us assigning a few of our favorite lighter knits to springtime months as well. For those who like some novelty with their knitwear, Gucci’s cotton-wool blend intarsia knit sweater is a fine way to get your five-a-day, thanks to its repeat pineapple and strawberry pattern. For something slightly less offbeat, there’s Bode’s red-and-white hand-crocheted jumper, inspired by midcentury American tablecloths and crafted from antique cotton, with a button-up fastening. We’d layer ours over a fitted tank, tucked loosely into high-rise denim jeans for a trans-seasonal ensemble.

For tonal dressing, there’s no shortage of muted knitwear. We particularly love options with subtle trend-led details, like Jacquemus’ cropped, oversized V-neck jumper with its chunky knit construction. Alternatively, there’s Cecilie Bahnsen’s brown cable-knit wool-blend sweater, whose roll-neck and ribbed edges deliver extra warmth.

Cottagecore Cardigans

Many believe that the cardigan is a garment best suited to Grandma’s closet, but the cottagecore trend proves the humble cardi is anything but stale. For a cozy layer to throw on over a jeans-and-T-shirt combo, Baum und Pferdgarten’s loose-fit Claretta cardigan is a must-have, and we’ll be stocking up on its beige and olive iterations. The soft wool-blend V-neck with tortoiseshell buttons will see us right through until spring. 

For more of a statement piece, Gucci’s motif knit cardigan is not to be missed. Its slouchy, relaxed fit makes it the ideal overlayer whether you’re lounging indoors or venturing out. With its beige wool-mix construction complemented by shimmery buttons, metallic gold edges, and the GG motif woven throughout, this cardigan can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion. You could go even bolder with a cardigan in a vibrant colorway, like Simone Rocha’s knit cardi in firetruck red. This slinky option comes in a fine wool blend and features ultrafeminine ruffles and faux pearl embellishments at the neckline.

Cottagecore Sweater-Vests

The sweater-vest has long been a polarizing garment, consigned to the sartorial levels of geography teacher style. That’s changing in 2020, however, as the vest gets a high-fashion makeover by some of Europe’s biggest names. For a classic look, there’s Ganni’s cable-knit button-up vest in red. Meanwhile, Simone Rocha’s cream cable-knit pullover with faux pearl embellishments along one side of the neckline is more fanciful. 

For a modern twist on the retro vest, we love Ganni’s brown basketweave sleeveless sweater with a cheeky intarsia-knit smiley face on the bottom. Wear it over a crisp white shirt and light blue slim-leg denim for a casual yet work-appropriate outfit. Want to try out the trend but remain opposed to the very idea of a sweater-vest? Gucci’s blue-and-cream crochet-knit halterneck is a free-and-easy way to try out the look.

Cottagecore Dresses

Dresses take up a lot of space in the cottagecore closet, especially those with puff sleeves, offbeat necklines, floaty silhouettes, ruffles, and floral prints. One dress that somehow manages to tick all the boxes is Gucci’s Liberty floral-print maxi dress. In lightweight green crêpe with a dainty allover floral print, this dress features a high neck, long sleeves, a tiered skirt, and lace trim throughout. The full coverage it offers means you can easily conceal thermal layers beneath it in colder climes.

If you’re looking for something more subtle, Danish designer Cecilie Bahnsen is the go-to for beautifully constructed feminine dresses to suit any style and body shape. For this season, we especially love Bahnsen’s billowy Marina dress in white cotton-poplin, which has a full skirt, short puffy sleeves, and dainty tie across the back. For something a little more structured, there’s Bahnsen’s brown Primrose shirtdress in midi length. Its shirtlike top half with a sharp collar and concealed button front is contrasted by a voluminous skirt, while its hawthorn floral embroidery is another nod to the cottagecore aesthetic.

Cottagecore Skirts

Skirts are a fuss-free way for skeptics to test the waters of the countryside trend. If you’re new to the world of floaty fabrics and flower-adorned prints, start with a simple patterned skirt, like Cecilie Bahnsen’s Rosie skirt with hawthorn floral embroidery, or Brock Collection’s Ramage floral-print silk skirt. Pair either of these with a white T-shirt tucked in and chunky sneakers for a rural-tinged look that won’t look out of place on the city streets.

But if you’re a full-fledged cottagecore fanatic, give Rentrayage’s patchwork-style prairie skirt a whirl. The creamy yellow base skirt is accented by an attached pink panel with a contrasting floral pattern and delicate lace trim. It’s made from 100% recycled cotton, so you can rest assured that while your outfit takes direct inspiration from the environment, it doesn’t have a negative impact on it.

Cottagecore Footwear

The footwear category is where the cottagecore trend truly comes to life. It’s full of comfortable and quaint options, from versatile Birkenstocks to clog-inspired silhouettes and heeled mules. Cottagecore-approved footwear values comfort above all else, but for slipper-esque shoes you wouldn’t mind being caught wearing outside, check out Jacquemus’ round-toe leather slingback shoes or JW Anderson’s gray slip-on flats with an oversized gold-tone buckle. 

If you simply can’t give up your heels, Sophia Webster’s collaboration with Patrick Cox channels outdoorsy vibes via sky blue mules with 3D leather daisies at the front. If that’s a little too outré for your personal taste, toned-down options such as Wandler’s beige laser-cut mules and Marni’s closed-toe leather mules, paired with dresses or denim, look equally stylish.

Cottagecore Accessories

Accessories are an easy entry point for those who are apprehensive toward the cottagecore look. They’re also a key category for all-out fans of the burgeoning trend. Bags are perhaps the simplest way to add a country spin to any outfit. For everyday use, there’s Jacquemus’ Le Sac Fillet net bag, perfect for light trips to the grocery store — or, in true cottagecore style, fruit-picking adventures. For fancier occasions, there’s Ganni’s hand-beaded floral drawstring pouch and Shrimps’ influencer-approved Thelma bag crafted from faux pearls with cutout floral detailing. 

No cottagecore ensemble is complete without a complementary hair accessory, and we’re big fans of the pearly variety. Simone Rocha’s pearl-embellished headband is an elegant topper, while Gucci’s GG logo hair clip in gold is more low-key. Or go fully rustic with Shrimps’ quaint update of the retro bun cover, complete with delicate floral embroidery and green beaded accents.

Cottagecore Tops

Whether paired with a maxi skirts for optimum provincial style or teamed with denim for a city-appropriate outfit, the right top can add a dash of country style to your wardrobe. Key details in this category include puff sleeves, peplums, floral patterns, ruching, and milkmaid-inspired necklines. Cecilie Bahnsen’s cotton poplin blouses, which resemble the designer’s cult-loved dresses, are beautiful options that will likely outlive the cottagecore trend itself. 

For something bolder, there’s Stine Goya’s Kingsley top in green, made from striped satin jacquard, and Shrimps’ fully printed blouse in 100% silk with a button-up front, a wide collar, and statement mutton-leg sleeves.

Cottagecore Shirts

Lightweight shirts are always a good choice in the spring and summer, whether buttoned up and worn alone or as a casual outer layer when the temperature drops ever so slightly. Bode is one of the most exciting labels to come out of New York in recent years, and its gender-neutral short-sleeve shirts never disappoint. Our top picks this season are the 100% cotton semi-sheer shirt with a vibrant floral jacquard effect on both front and back, and the white silk-blend bowling shirt with crochet inserts and blue embroidery, inspired by an authentic 1940s Eastern European tablecloth.

Shirts with more formal construction can also join the cottagecore wardrobe. Samsøe Samsøe’s Maia reimagines the classic white shirt with quaint details like a ruffled trim, a keyhole cut, and balloon sleeves. Jacquemus’ white shirt gets a little more risqué with its cutout and tie detailing upon the chest.

About the Author
Nav Gill is a Senior Editor at Editorialist covering fashion, features and news. A Fashion Communication graduate, she was previously an Editor at HYPEBAE and has a strong interest in luxury fashion, emerging brands, streetwear and footwear. When she’s not on the road covering European fashion weeks, you’ll find her scouring the Internet for the latest sneaker drops.
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