Credit Image: Pinterest
Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn PLEIN AIR a commission.
What says the opposite of workaholic, go-go-go, perfectionist energy? Cottagecore. Defined as the aesthetic encapsulation of innocence, a laid back lifestyle, and commitment to the whimsical optimism that everything can be soft and slow. To me, cottagecore sounds like the summers of my childhood: barefeet in muddy grass, collecting caterpillars and watching them grow to butterflies, setting up a lemonade stand but not charging anyone a dime. This style movement that The New York Times deemed a pushback on hustle culture is what I’ll be tapping into this summer (not necessarily in practice, but certainly in attire.) You don’t have to live on a farm with no WiFi and sew all your own clothes to tap into this rejuvenating energy. Here’s how:
The Spring Skiing Edit:
- Pointelle Cardigan: Martina Cardigan - $198.
- Pointelle Top and Skirt Set: Goldie Knit Two Piece - $178.
- Pointelle Socks: Breathable Pointelle Lettuce Edge Crew Sock - $3.00.
- Rudy Jude Jeans: Adult Utility Jeans - now $240.
- Felt Slippers: Zermatt Shearling - $99.95.
- Slippers: Boston Soft Footbed - $158.
- Flowy Jumper: Hot Shot Onesie - $70.
- Sundress: Taking Sides Maxi - $118.
- Quilt Jacket: Shawl Collar - 1920s Wedding Ring - $394.25.
- Quilt Jacket: Gelio Floral Drop Shoulder Quilted Jacket - $740.
- The Mud Fairy: Mug - ~$250.
- Linen Sheets: Warm Clay Linen Flat Sheet - $119.
- Chocolate: Lavender Rose - $62.
Martina Cardigan — $198
Pointelle – a.k.a the delicate lace-like (usually cotton blend) fabric is absolutely on point with the cottagecore aesthetic. This pointelle cardigan by Doen is the perfect versatile pointelle piece for your closet since it can function as a top or a light layer over a sundress (super cottage core). It’s on the pricey side, but made of GOTS-certified organic cotton and the crochet Peter Pan collar makes it just about the most cottagecore piece of clothing on the entire Internet. If you feel ready to make a statement, this set designed by Reformation is stunning. The pieces would look as beautiful separately as they do together and the tiny bow at the top of the top and the lace detailing on the edges screams whimsical preciousness. Choose white or black to be versatile or the light green celadon color to score more cottagecore points, like something straight from a fairy tale page. If a full set feels like too much to you, dip your toes into the pointelle pond with these pretty socks that come in tons of colors. Wear them with a pair of white sneakers and loose fitting jeans while you plant some flowers in the pot on your apartment balcony.
Rudy Jude Jeans
Adult Utility Jeans — now $240
If you don’t know the brand Rudy Jude or don’t already follow their Maine-based founder and creative icon, Julie O’Rourke, you should scroll through her page immediately. Julie and her family built their own house by hand, create salves and balms using flowers from their garden, and sew their own clothes that often end up as staple styles on the Rudy Jude website.
One of the community’s favorite most-adored Rudy Jude pieces is their unisex utility jeans which come in sizes 0–8 and currently three colors. These carpenter style, organic cotton jeans are “lovingly sewn and dyed in Los Angeles” with all plant-based dyes and designed to stay in your closet for a lifetime, softening and fading with time. Throw these on with some boots and a flowy top and achieve what appears to be (and could actually be) a functional farm-girl aesthetic.
Zermatt Shearling — $99.95
I’m pretty sure the most cottage core thing you can do is to go barefoot, but if you’re going to wear shoes, they should be fairy-like slippers. The Zermatt Shearling slippers by Birkenstock are similar to the Boston Soft Footbed style that are all the rage these days but softer. These would look amazing paired with your pointelle socks and a flowy dress or skirt. These are the type of shoes I envision slipping off to curl up onto a couch with my feet tucked underneath me so I can read a book while a cat nuzzles in the space beside me.
My mom would probably call these “house shoes” but I swear when my friend wore these to a dinner party the other evening with an equally laid back Free People Hot Shot Onesie, I literally gasped because she looked so good. Cottagecore is all about striking the balance of free spirited but super stylish and these slippers fit the bill.
Shawl Collar Coat - ~$400
Sundresses are the most obvious, and perhaps the easiest way to achieve a laid back and beautiful vibe, but I’m not one to generally take the path of least resistance if there’s a winding, wildflower lined, mountain trail instead. If I’ve successfully convinced you that letting your hair down and stepping into your countryside side would be beneficial for your wellbeing, a quilted jacket is an amazing way to seal the deal.
The Potter’s Daughter has cornered the quilt jacket market in making the most gorgeous coats that are literally a cottage in wearable form. Join their mailing list to know when they drop new pieces.
Brands like Isabel Marant have taken on the trend to mass produce a more structured version of what The Potter’s Daughter makes by hand. Whatever way you want to slice it, adding a quilt jacket to your closet will bring you the “grandmother’s bedding but cute” energy you’re looking for.
So what if you want to incorporate cottagecore into your life but don’t feel like shifting your style? I have three suggestions for you. First, instead of drinking your coffee out of a Yeti to-go mug on your way to work, wake up ten minutes earlier and drink it out of a beautiful mug while you soak in the silence of the morning. I’m absolutely in love with everything that The Mud Fairy designs, and you simply must join her email list because her pieces fly away fast.
If you’re not a morning drink person, consider getting a linen bed set. Not only will your bed look like a cloud, it will feel like one too. If you’re going to go linen, choose a bright color to bring some fun energy to your room. You can always put your neutral or normal bedding back on if after the summer you feel ready for something a little less fun (but why would you??).
Finally, if you don’t want to purchase any gorgeous items that make you feel like opening the windows, at least try this chocolate. Sounds random but I swear this lavender-infused chocolate tastes how cottagecore feels. I buy it weekly, and it makes me feel like I’ve eaten a $14 dessert after my cheesy noodle dinner. Give it a whirl and get back to me. I think it’ll inspire you to trade some efficient and practical parts of life for something a little dreamier.