Cottagecore emerged as something of a serious trend in 2020. The casual-meets-cozy look is largely characterized by down-to-earth elements that evoke a sense of inviting comfort — think countryside charm, romantic sunsets, and quiet evenings on the porch spent with those you love the most. Naturally, men’s fashion inspired by this trend is nothing short of relaxed. It’s effortless at its core, rooted in the sense of simplicity yet allowing for a little bit of experimentation thanks to modern interpretations of what is really an age-old aesthetic.
So how can you make the cottagecore look your own? It begins with cultivating a wardrobe full of easy-to-wear, relatively restrained, and muted in color. They’re laid-back, yet not so casual that they could ever be mistaken for the low-key men’s T-shirts and shorts that you wear as uniform throughout summer. Cottagecore is a more polished take on understated style, putting a hint of a fashionable spin on your wardrobe. Here are a few ways to adopt the look this summer.
During the cooler months, you’ll want to incorporate as many flannel shirts as possible into your cottagecore outfits. They’re practically made for this look that is equal parts woodsman and farmer. Yet flannel is a little tricky to pull off during summer’s dog days — those that call for decidedly lighter fabrics and more forgiving silhouettes that graze your skin lightly, allowing it to breathe as temperatures spike.
Use that as your excuse to add a few men’s plaid shirts to your closet. The old standby happens to be a cottagecore staple, largely thanks to its down-home appeal. Shy away from vibrant colors in favor of more reserved shades that channel the inherent mellowed quality of the trend, like rich brown, navy, and olive green.
Never has there been a better time to get closely acquainted with those timeless khaki pants. They’re as classic as a pair of dress pants or rugged jeans, but neither of those quite fit the cottagecore mold. The beauty of khaki pants is that they fall neatly into that friendly middle ground. They’re slightly pulled together without being quite polished, yet they also boast a folksy, informal kind of quality that makes them far more approachable than the tailored pants you might wear to the office.
Moreover, men’s khaki pants pair well with many different pieces. Their versatility is what makes them so vital to truly authentic cottagecore style. You can pair yours with any plaid shirt in virtually any color. Khakis also look great paired with tweed blazers and smart vests for a more dressy look from top to toe.
There’s a gentlemanly element to cottagecore that sets it apart from, say, the beach-friendly board shorts and tank tops that typically rule most summer wardrobes. Tweed plays a key role for that reason. It’s smart, dapper, polished, and old-fashioned, all of which are significant in creating authentically cottagecore outfits that stand apart from standard summertime fare.
But how to wear tweed on a hot summer’s day? The material is thick and even a bit rough to the touch, making it a sturdy choice for those late fall days easing into winter. It is to seek out a tweed men’s blazer that is blended with a lighter fabric, such as cotton. The result is a jacket that’s decidedly less rich and dense, making it easier to wear on summer evenings that call for an extra layer when the winds pick up.
Shoes complete any authentic cottagecore look. While you might think something like a pair of loafers or another type of dress shoe might add to the underlying formality of your outfit, you don’t want to stray into that territory. And while summer wear typically calls for sandals and flip flops, those aren’t exactly worthy of your cottagecore-inspired attire, either. Instead, step into a pair of men’s boots, which contributes to the woodsy, homey look you’re trying to achieve here. Steer clear of heavy-duty footwear that you’d typically wear on a snowy day. Try a pair of chukka boots instead. They’re sturdy, subtle, and versatile enough to wear with many different outfits.
With the right pieces in your wardrobe, you can easily make the cottagecore look your own. At a bare minimum, aim to incorporate plaids, tweeds, and khakis, all of which work well with one another and convey a sense of down-to-earth appeal that speaks to the simplicity of the trend.
Ultimately, cottagecore style is about relaxation. Think of it as more of a mindset than a fashion sensibility. The beauty of this trend is that you can continue to wear many of the pieces well after the trend expires. Embrace the menswear basics that channel a more old-fashioned look, and that help you look and feel your best.