If you’re like me, you’re a somewhat private person who likes to recharge by being alone. However, I don’t think anyone would consider the 2020 lockdowns to be ideal anymore. And if you’re crammed in a small apartment, or God forbid have an obnoxious roommate, it’s definitely not been your cup of tea. Watching famous people being “bored” in their mansions and remote or pastoral estates made many lust after that boring cottage lifestyle, where they may not be much to do by way of entertainment but at least there’s space and fresh air.
But “cottagecore” actually got going even before the pandemic. The concept had traction on social media since around 2018. Now, many digital media outlets are claiming that Taylor Swift reignited it with her latest album and videos. If you have no idea of what cottagecore is and how the singer got involved in it, let’s clear that up…
“Cottagecore” is one of many nostalgia-driven movements that idealize the past and the so-called simple life in the country. Ironically, all this peaceful dwelling is carefully documented. No, not with quills in the annals but on social media, which is quite ironic and maybe even slightly hypocritical.
According to the New York Times, cottagecore is associated with grandmacore, farmcore, and goblincore! The suffix “-core” is a derivative from “hard-core” punk music but since the 80s it split to signify any type of genre or category. Yearning to live in a simple, quiet, or simply better world unites all these “cores” and might be some form of escapism.
Maybe some of our ancestors would look at our lives now with envy. “You want to live in a cottage?! Do you have any idea how many sheeps I sheared just to get out of the village and move to the hustle and bustle of the city?” they’d say.
Simple is great but so is variety! The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, or century.
You probably have a basic idea of cottagecore now. Justin Bieber unintentionally captured it in his song “Intentions”… “Stay in the kitchen cooking up, got your own bread.” Just don’t forget to vlog it!
To better understand cottagecore, imagine a cabin somewhere in the woods, or a cozy estate in the country, linen peacefully drying outside, freshly baked scones magically appearing on the table while you are on a lovely hike. Idyllic gardening. That’s what you see on Instagram. In real life, idyllic gardening is more like having your arms immersed in dirt and fertilizer…
People have always been romanticizing the past. Many of my girlfriends told me that they frequently fantasized about being Jane Austin’s or Emily Brontë’s character. Why? It’s because the past always seems so dignified, so charming, so pleasantly slooooow…
Not to mention the elegant fashion: the beautiful, feminine, flowy dresses… enchanting and somewhat eerie-looking capes. Nobody thinks or talks about the mud clinging to your shoes or hemline, the repressive corsets, the unjust systems. Also: you couldn’t just expect a dry cleaner to save your garment, or a phone to explain that DIY thing you’re trying to pull off.
This year has been difficult, to say the least, but Taylor Swift makes the best out of the worst. Her best songs were written about her most painful breakups. Thus, she managed to turn even 2020 into a creative and fruitful year, a year of cottagecore.
On July 24th, her “Folklore” album was released. On December 11th, its “sister record” came to life — “Evermore” is Taylor’s 9th studio album. Many fans believe that those albums will be part of a trilogy, meaning there might be one more coming.
The music video for “Willow” picks up exactly where the “Cardigan” music video ended, in an intimate cottage with Swift wrapped in a cozy cardigan. Taylor followss a thread of gold into her magical piano (very fairycore, I know). And then, we are transported, together with the singer, to different fantastical locations. As the scenery changes, so do Taylor’s cottagecore outfits.
In the opening scene, she’s wearing a simple, creamy, nighty-like dress with a cream cable knit cardigan on top. And guess what? If your dream is now to recreate the look, Taylor’s got you covered here, too. You can buy the cardigan and other merch from Swift’s store. Even though Taylor says she “ain’t tryna mess with your self-expression,” she’s down to help if you want to express yourself the way she does!
But to be honest, I would love to get that dainty green dress that looks like a willow itself. I would pass on the velvet cape though. Why? I kept thinking that it looks like something a Death Eater from Harry Potter would wear.
But again, what many people consider to be unfortunate, Taylor regards as advantageous. In her recent Instagram post she said: “Ever since I was 13, I’ve been excited about turning 31 because it’s my lucky number backwards, which is why I wanted to surprise you with this [album] now.”
I’m definitely onboard with snuggly cardigans and flowy, floral dresses, instead of crop tops that basically look like a bra and faux leather pants that make you sweat.
But as with everything, don’t go too hardcore, even with a cottagecore!