Cottagecore + Coronavirus
Given how difficult life has been since the Coronacrisis started, many people have turned to cottagecore to cope, both in fashion and in home decor. The #cottagecore hashtag is even big on the social media platform TikTok.
This strong showing by the trend is why breakout indie fashion star and Vice Presidential stepdaughter Ella Emhoff was wearing a cottagecore dress at Biden’s Inauguration by NYC indie-hip dress shop Batsheva.
These flowing and floral dresses are the current take on cottagecore. The trend’s far reaching appeal is seen it’s the “nap dress” advertised all over the Internet
“Target has decided if we’re gonna suffer a pandemic, we might as well look like we just lost the farm after locusts ate our crops.”
Reminiscent of French Queen Marie Antionette’s turn at playing a shepherdess in a gauzy, white totally-impractical-for-farm-work “Shepherdess Dress” at her pretend village the Hameau de la Reine before the French Revolution and the Laura Ashley craze of the 80s during the height of cold war tensions, this turn to coziness has historical precedent. In a harsh and scary world, people seem to turn to the coziest things possible for comfort.
Similar to the Danish practice of hygge—of coziness at home—the appeal of cottagecore is the ideal of drinking a cup of tea in a perfect forest cottage in a floral dress. It’s the appeal of stepping into a candlelit cottage in a Thomas Kinkade painting–never mind that flowing dresses and open flames don’t go well together.
It’s not a surprise that many of us are trying to escape the present through fashion. Times are tough, y’all.
Therapists are big on the idea of “self soothing.” Alas, Covid has taken away many of the strategies that some of us used to use for this, like going out to dinner with friends, going grocery shopping without fear of death or travel ing to exotic locales like the insides of your friend’s house. These activities have been replaced by things that don’t involve other people. That’s partly why gardening, sourdough bread making & quilting all saw an upturn during the early part of the pandemic.
Will this turn to cottagecore outlast the coronavirus? Is cottagecore just a fantasy for privileged white women? After all, it’s an aesthetic that is decidedly feminine and decidedly out of some fictional version of the past where the streets were clean, we all had running water and either a high tolerance for ironing or underpaid household staff.
Or maybe the popularity of cottagecore fashion is an escape from the undue stresses that the pandemic has placed on women? They may need it, given their increased burdens of domestic responsibility since the pandemic started.
Or, as the viralness of Damon’s Target -spoofing posts posits, maybe this cultural turn to cottagecore is an early-warning indicator that society is moving backwards into a more old fashioned and repressive role for women? Given the very restrictive abortion law put into effect by the Texas Legislature last week, and not struck down by the Supreme Court, that’s also a distinct possibility.
I’m going to go curl up under a giant handknitted chunky blanket and try not to think about what this turn in fashion means for the future of the world. At least I’ll be doing it in late pandemic’s answer to the muumuu, instead of the stained sweatpants of the early pandemic.