Friday, 17 July 2020

Foraging for Cottagecore

Cottagecore (also Farmcore or Countrycore) is an aesthetic inspired by a romanticised interpretation of western agricultural life. It is centred on ideas around a more simple life and harmony with nature. A quick look at some pinterest images with this tag and you’ll soon find yourself lost in hazy forests and country scenes, evoking Little House on the Prairie and forest fairy vibes. I grew up with Holly Hobby and watching Little House and often pretended to be Laura Ingles when playing as a child. I was already on my own edwardian vibe when I started to see and hear little things about cottagecore popping up in some of the groups I’m in on Facebook. And Gah! Half this stuff looks like the Gunne Sax dresses my mother and her sisters all had in the 70’s (that I used to play dress up with in her closet as a child). Of course she was my size then and thus couldn’t wear them, just as I can’t now, though I would LOVE to get my hands on some. 

Plus size cottage core fashion items are so difficult to find. There isn’t any single retailer offering these styles or items in plus sizes that I have been able to find. So, I’ve been tracking down pieces one by one. I’m a 26/28 in most things (54″ bust, 62″ hips, big B-belly, mostly pear-shaped). While I have had some luck in random places, such as the cream cotton and lace tiered steampunk skirt I got for $15 on HipsAndCurves, they were one-offs and not reliable enough to share. That is until today when a brand I used to shop popped into my head. You may or may not have heard of them, but when I was searching eBay for ivory peasant tops “dirndl” tops popped up in the search (thought not in my size of course) and that is when it hit me! Ulla Popken! I had bought one of their full dirndl dresses with the apron and everything years ago, but it was too big and at the time too expensive for me so I had to return it. I don’t think I’ve given that brand much thought since, though I know I kept something else from that order but memory escapes me at the moment.


So I go over to their site and sick of my endless searching I go to the clothing tab, then look at their list of “Collections” and immediately see, “Oktoberfest“! Yep, talk about nail on the head, the dirndl dresses were there in fun colors, but also some plain white dirndl tops! Not remembering their size range I click to see, sizes from 12 – 32 for the dirndl top I wanted. Some items go up to 42! That is rare, and while they do not offer everything in the upper size range, to even have them at these prices is pretty awesome, I think. They also have a boho collection and a fantastic amount of clothing in their “Sustainable” collection, even swimwear! Yeah! They have cute stuff at decent prices, too! I got a bit swept up in the moment, to be honest, and started really digging around. Now most of my searches have been around white and ivory items, but I can assure you that this is a brand that is not afraid of color.


I cannot comment on the construction or quality of their entire line, but I can say that what I have seen and received in my own life has been good quality, not luxury level, but great for working class folks, in my opinion. Like you know it won’t fall apart after two washes? Ha-ha! They even have an “Influencer” collection, it’s all worth taking a look. I was particularly taken with their lounge and sleep items, nightgowns in 2-packs, undies in 5 packs (in either cotton or microfiber), front closing comfort bras in 2-packs…this stuff is rare AND affordable! I highly recommend checking it out if any of these things are of interest to you. They are having a sale with a coupon code right now but I don’t know how long it will last but it’s at the top of the page, so if that is a motivator, get to it!


My issue now is choosing something to purchase! Ha-ha! I know, first-world problem, but I had intended to only buy second hand this year, so I want to be sure I’m buying for the right reasons as well. Sometime in April I got on this whole Edwardian thing after rereading some old favorites of that era and discovering a guide to Edwardian hair care online, I bought some silk satin ribbons for my hair and went at it with true dedication. It was just what I needed as I had lived with my hair in a constant bun for over a month by that point, only taking it out and brushing before washing. I get obsessive and go down rabbit holes and this one pulled me out of a scary anxiety-fueled funk. I was braiding my hair and brushing it twice a day and going to bed with it long and flowing (it’s down to my ass at this point). I would use the ribbons to braid through or simply to secure whatever random hair style I chose for the day, starting with more period accurate ones to just whatever I could manage.
This is also why I am starting my searches with ivory/cream/white colored garments.Those are WAY out of my comfort zone, but I figured if I’m going to be home anyway and these are truly just for me (I really don’t see wearing any of it to work, can you imagine?! Ha!), why the hell shouldn’t I have some fantasy outfit to fritter away my days in?! If it feels good, fucking do it! I had grown so hopeless in my hunting that yesterday I spent a decent chunk of time looking for lightweight linen by the yard in the hopes of one day sewing my own skirts and such. This Ulla Popken realization has saved me from that, at least temporarily (I’m very much a beginner, but also my sewing machine is in need of repair before it’s functioning again). I have this vision of gauzy ivory layers, with a generous apron, all soft and lovely. I have a small garden and am starting to really enjoy being amongst my little plot of greenery (don’t ask about my fern, I am obsessed and so proud!).


Honestly, I’ve been watching a lot of Miyazaki films, as well, which only makes me love these styles of dresses all the more. I feel like I AM Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle at times! Ha! Or Kiki, that week I wore a red silk bow on my head. I haven’t been able to watch the things that I used to love, like American Horror Story or The Walking Dead. I have full seasons of both on my DVR that I just can’t bring myself to watch yet. But along with the fanciful fashion fantasies, I’ve also been obsessed with baking competition shows, which is nothing new for me, but it’s all be renewed with that show “Crazy Delicious” (troubling name, but a fun watch…Fat woman host in a gorgeous costume, but her standup is problematic af so I won’t recommend at all). Which then finally led me to diving head first into the Great British Baking Show because OBVIOUSLY I knew I would be obsessed the moment I sat down to watch it, so I put it off for years. Yes, I know, it’s awesome and I enjoy it immensely. But now I’m in my kitchen in 90+ degree heat baking layer cakes with Nutella buttercream! Ha-ha!

Oh yes, I have fully domesticated myself during this CoVid19 shutdown. I bought two basic/cotton aprons and one had an odd tag on the front that made no sense so I tore it off and tried my hand at some embroidery for the first time in many years. I’m quite pleased with the result for a first try! I had started a crochet wrap for myself at the start of the shutdown but haven’t picked it up again since April. Oh well. I’ve done some doodling and lots of cooking and to be honest I’m quite sick of eating as a general and seemingly constant thing I have to think/worry/clean/do for. UGH! But that aside, I have enjoyed the challenge and creativity that baking has always held for me. At least once a week I threaten to marry myself a la Elizabeth the first. What?! I’m fucking awesome and if I’m doing all this I’m doing it for myself, thanks. Although the puggo gets some benefit since I usually give him bits of whatever fruit or veg I’m chopping up. Ha!


I’ve been mostly a homebody for many years anyway and while some things won’t change, I’m still contacting my local leadership to defund the police (yes, I’m an abolitionist but my local mayor is a fucking bootlicker who refuses to listen to the community) and emailing the prosecutors for Breona Taylor’s muder case and calling my representative in congress nearly every day, BLACK LIVES MATTER and I have not ceased my support, before or after George Floyd was murdered. This is a lifelong thing for me and one I don’t always feel the need to shout or get in folks’ faces about it because of that. The things I can do and change for myself in the day to day to help my mental health have had to become slightly more at the forefront of my day to day life. It all just feels like day to day, one blending into the next, none feel real and yet it’s all too real and surreal and this is life right now and I’m mostly okay with it. My mental health did take a very steep dive a few weeks ago that forced me to step back from some things that I would have loved to participate in or organize, I know I would not have been able to “show up” for those things in a way that felt right. I’m fine now, but taking it day by day because shit happens and I barely slept 3-4 hours a night for a week solid and that takes its toll. I’m still me, just slightly more kind to myself, I think/hope. I’m a chamomile drinker now! Who’d a thunk it! Ha-ha!


What have you been keeping yourself occupied with? Any new obsessions? Leads on fun finds or projects? A recipe I must try? Lay it all on me, friends! Or, maybe you’re just feeling a bit lonely? That’s okay, too. Email me or leave a comment below and I’ll happily provide an unbiased ear/shoulder/venting space. I do hope you’re well and staying safe and at home as much as possible. I started to wear a face shield instead of my face mask on my daily dog walks. I still carry a mask just in case, but since I’m outside and there’s very few people around my neighborhood usually, it’s a great way to have a protective layer without having a sweaty face. Ha! It has helped a lot. Have you figured out ways to stay safe and comfortable? I have only left the house once a week for work (post office and then visit to the empty office so very low exposure if any).

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I’m here for realness and sincerity, honesty and vulnerability, I’m here for the good and juicy bits of life that shine for me when I know I’m heading in the right direction.

Rad Fatty Love to ALL,
<3
S

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