I am now into anything Cottage Core...
......style & creation vibe.
It might just be the time of the year where I just want to feel cozy and warm. We are still having dreary days, but our days are getting longer which is always welcomed, giving me a little extra time after work to work in the garden to prepare for Spring.
Or it might just be me rebelling against all those years of constrictive skinny jeans or trying to
squish my toes into abnormally pointed high-heels (which I truly love, but admittedly silliness). Perhaps wanting to feel more freedom in clothing to work comfortably
The other thought is that Covid and staying at home has trained me to love loose fitting clothing with big comfy socks, and a oversized chunky knit sweater. (ok, I'll admit that I have stayed in PJs all day more than once this Covid year. And if it's not PJS, it's leggings with the aforementioned socks and sweater leaving my husband scratching his head wondering which are PJs and which clothing is lounge wear.)
Or could it be that I have a mountain of fabric that I need to contend with? The mountain of fabric I have is a blog unto itself. The plans for growing my local costume rental business pre-Çovid are the reason for the surplus of my fabrics. My business www.CostumeTakeOut.com was growing quite quickly. I needed double the costumes I had to keep up with demand. All fabrics had been collected--yes, collected on my thrifting forays. But renting came to an aburpt halt.
I will venture to say, my interest in Cottage Core has developed as a result of all 3 factors. Add a little exposure to Pinterest and some other Upcyclers' styles, and voila--a perfect storm.
What Exactly is Cottage Core Style?
Just so we are all on the same page, MY definition might vary a bit to your classic Wikipedia definition. I haven't even looked to compare. I want to stay authentic and maintain my own sense of artistry in relation to this mode. But regardless, I've seen enough of it to formulate a description for you.
To me, Cottage Core is an ode to a Vintage country, rural cottage life. A life that has slowed down be sheer nature of being removed from the faster pace of a city. A way of living that allows beauty of age and patina showcase itself.
With a nod to historical or vintage years, the look is one of delicate femininity through layers and textures of fabrics and embellishments (embroidery or crochet) in the skirts, aprons, blouses, wrap sweaters, linen jackets.
All floating together with a semblance of simplicity.
Shabby Chic the First Iteration
Cottage Core is not only a clothing style, but it is a lifestyle trend--think chalk paint, enamel chips to reveal rusted iron, antiques of course, quilts etc. etc. etc.
I really hesitate liken Cottage Core to Shabby Chic because the term Shabby Chic became over-commercialized. What started out as truly charming decor from roadside antique shops, flea markets, or a local estate sale, turned into massed produced faux items sold en masse to almost every retail outlet imaginable.
Again, don't take me as an expert, I am not. But I did observe this evolution. I wouldn't be surprised if Cottage Core becomes the next Shabby Chic movement available at Walmart or even the local grocery store on the end caps next to the candy.
Although I love Cottage Core, I definitely don't live it at home. My husband likes to insert modernity whenever possible. So I am relegated to one shelf in my office, and one part of my garden to put my Cottage Core on display.
A little "La La Land" for sure...or Snow White singing to the animals. I get it. No one really lives like this with the exception of Marie Antoinette in her "Country Peasant" Phase.
Cottage Core is a dream for me--not a goal. Just some fluffy place to go with my imagination and my penchant for Vintage, but not literal Vintage, It's that grey area where I can Era-Bend, since I don't really belong to any particular era. I float between the 1900's to the 1950's to Queen's Gambit.
Some people like scrapbooking, working out at the gym, gardening, knitting, or traveling. I like to lose myself in a place of nostalgia.
A Rose is a Rose... Therefore it is Not a Rose...
When it comes to clothing, yes, this is ALL new to me.
I've learned that Cottage Core can be also fall in step with other similar styles Lagenlook, Granny Chic, Mori Girl Kawaii, or Lolita.
Some stretch (those on Ebay) to call it Boho or Prairie--they gotta make a sale I guess.
Brands exist to make beautiful clothing dedicated to Cottage Core (albeit trans-meandering) whimsical style.
The Swedish Designer Ewa i Walla is an amazing company designing gorgeous clothing that is Cottage-Core with a nod to Victorian influences. And Madeline Lee is an exquisite Ambassador for this style. I can get lost in her photos, videos and imagery.
And Magnolia Pearl, a USA company, born from the creative imaginings of Robin Brown. The 16 year old label sells lovely high end, quality made items from globally sourced fabrics but also a ton of vintage lace, fabric and embellishments.
I am sure there are others large commercial brands, however, my original brush with Cottage Core came from other Upcyclers, not these larger brands.
How I Got Started Sewing Cottage Core?
A good friend of mine challenged me to transform a dress she thrifted just to see if I could do something with it. She wanted to see if she could stump me. And she did, for about 4 months I had no clue what to make with the BEFORE Indian Festive-Wear Dress sized for a pre-teen girl.
Hit with inspiration by hundreds of mental Pinterest imprints, I thought of Granny Chic! LOL! That's what I originally thought this trend was called. As I discovered, yes, there is style out there called Granny Chic, but I did not want 'My Rose to be Called Just Any Rose'. Something a little more darling please!
Sending the above image around in my Upcycling Groups, I learned more that Cottage Core is created with natural fabrics and natural colors. Um, kinda missed the mark on the outfit above with the synthetic print, and the tulle underneath. But points for nubby knit cardigan, leather belt and boots? And photography gave me extra leeway with my presentation ; ) Smoke & Mirrors. But a good first effort, I think.
Click on the image to the right to take you to more of this photo shoot
Curtain Panels Starring At Me
Then as I was cleaning out my garage, I stumbled across a couple vintage curtain panels that I kept shifting right and left because I had no real use for them.
The print could be lovely for an American Colonial costume, but for an adult woman because of the scale of the print, not a girl in elementary school. And I only rent my historical costumes out to children.
When I opened the panels I also noticed considerable yellowing. Oy!
After moving the panels for a couple of months from corner to corner in my workspace, I felt like it was time to just dump them in the garbage--it would be painful to do for an Upcycler. But clutter removal is crucial when you thrift textiles and not all fabrics will be winners.
When I was mopping the kitchen floor one day, it came to me that the yellowing might lend well to a Cottage Core style skirt or dress.
Isn't Patina what makes something look amazingly charming? In the true sense of Shabby Chic--the original idea?
With 2 large panels and no other use for these curtains, I decided to challenge myself to a series of 3 Upcycles.
The first Upcycle is complete. I was inspired by the Edwardian Era and ended up styling the skirt both historically and current with Nikes! Click on the image to the right to take you to more photos. You probably won't find me anytime soon walking around town in the Edwardian style, but I can always garden in this outfit. Now I just need a Pinafore. And with the more current styling, I just need to own a boutique or live in NYC so I can strut my stuff--aka 'LA LA Land'.
Earth Calling Eva
Since I don't live in 'LA LA Land', and the birds do not always sing to me, let me disrupt this imagery, to introduce practical Cottage Core.
I know, I know...I risk a lot by disrupting the image you may have about me, And this is the #1 reason I won't do YouTube videos! LOL! Eva needs to touch-down on Earth and get Practical. But still cute!
One could say, that MY OOTD outfit below is not one of my more sexier ensembles, but sexy has never been me with the exception of this Edwardian photo. to the left....Hot Mama! I was feeling it that day. But no, It's not me. Just fun to pretend.
I don't walk around with my cleavage out, it's not me. And not throwing shade on those who do. It just comes down to preference, right?
Today I was working in the studio and needed to be comfortable. I also wanted to mirror the vibe of what I was wearing into the 2nd look I was creating for the challenge.
INTRODUCING BODEN DRESS OOTD
I don't believe all Cottage Core needs to be layers of ruffles or made from Voile cottons. Again, I did not check out the Wikipedia definition. Sometimes Cottage Core can be interpreted as Practical, Woodsy, and beautiful natural colors--albeit not from the natural sources. I am not the expert. But I am loving my Rose.
This cozy outfit was so comfy! Looking forward to recreate this with another dress!
Boden Shift Corduroy Dress: Navy Blue & Avocado Green "Mod" Circle Pattern, Tortoise Front Buttons and Pockets
Old Navy Cowel Neck Cardigan: Avocado Green Linear Chunky Weave, Tortoise Neck Buttons
Old Navy Tights: Navy Blue Cable Knit Pattern with Added Ankle Socks (my ankles are ridiculously skinny : (
Deimeille Ankle Boots: Former Anthropologie Brand (can't believe I found these caramel leather lovelies for only $5!)
Vintage Layer Gold Necklace: Little O's all along the chain-to go cutely with the O's on the dress (I am not a matchy-matchy person, but this matching detail was irresistible!)
And back into my studio, snapping a picture of a Cottage Core Dress "BEFORE".
Hair up in my traditional chignon, and glasses back on so I can see, and I am ready for work.
Check out Cottage Core Creation #2! And now I need to be thinking of the last #3!