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Todays Cottage Style Opinion

One trend I am having trouble understanding is the return of frilliness. It's related somewhat to the whole cottage-core thing, and tangential to this Return to the Land thing people...

One trend I am having trouble understanding is the return of frilliness. It's related somewhat to the whole cottage-core thing, and tangential to this Return to the Land thing people are doing. 

Now, as someone who grew up in an agricultural community, I can tell you, the cottage-core fantasy does not meet up well with reality. If you're getting up at 4am in January to go tend to the cows, you are just throwing on whatever clothes you have around. This is dressing as a way of creating a barrier, between you and the cold, the damp, the cow turd, and so on. It's utilitarian, shapeless, and practical, and it's basically everything I've been trying to run away from since I left Kansas.

There's also something very reminiscent of Easter dresses there, too floofy, too restrictive, too much like being swallowed whole by eyelet cotton. But when 99% of the year you are dressing in flannel and denim, it's not like when you do have to get it together and be presentable you instantly know what to do.

But I'm reconciling myself to the frilliness, and enjoying some of it. (Some.) Even if when I get these advertisements on Instagram for cottage-core dresses, with some white girl wearing long sleeves with a ruffle at the wrist outside in a meadow, I think darkly, if you wore that while actually doing domestic labor that ruffle would instantly catch fire on the stove and you would be dead.

Todays Cottage Style Opinion

There is something very appealing about a dress like this, even in the autumn, when it can be easily mixed with some leather (real or fake) and leggings and boots, creating a pleasing mix of soft and hard. I like the romance of it, and we all know that romance is both somehow utterly useless and entirely essential.

Todays Cottage Style Opinion

I am also crazy for this skirt, made by the same designer, Allison. Even the name Allison is very frilly somehow! It too would be very satisfying to pull on, throw a bulky sweater over, and do something vaguely useful in, like water your dying house plants.

Todays Cottage Style Opinion

This is more French cottage-core than American, more lavender field than Catskills. It's a very sort of classic "secretary" shape with a lovely daintiness. 

Todays Cottage Style Opinion

"This? Yes, I made this at my quilting circle, which is definitely a thing I go to." There is an element here of wanting to harken back to a time of domestic competence, without actually having to learn domestic competence. But, truly, why learn when you can perform?

Todays Cottage Style Opinion

Last Queen can turn you into a cabin-dwelling nymph very easily -- and I mean that with actual ease, not like the whole "here's how to have a natural look with only 60 minutes of skincare and make-up preparation" thing. 

Todays Cottage Style Opinion

I love the idea of this blouse under a blazer. It would look absolutely perfect, plus it would bring the cottage into the corporate office. A little bit of nature into the concrete jungle (also known probably as your couch these days). But again, idealized and romanticized. The kind of nature you find in Disney cartoons, not the kind that wants to give you a poison ivy rash.

Todays Cottage Style Opinion

This is decidedly not cottage-core, but thrown over a frilly gown or skirt, it could be like industrial cottage-core. The kind of thing where you retreat from society to live in the woods and listen to Tool. 

Todays Cottage Style Opinion

Walter Baker makes both the frilliest of dresses and the coolest of leather jackets, but here they have mixed the hard and the soft, the cool and the doe-eyed, into one garment, making a pink snake print floof dress. I'm obsessed with it.

And you can wear it while making the following recipe -- the short sleeves mean there is a reduced risk for catching yourself on fire. My friend Jaimee Edwards has co-created a cookbook for increasing domestic efficiency and confidence, and she has graciously let me reprint one of her recipes here. What could be more cottage-core than a savory pie? Enjoy!

Todays Cottage Style Opinion

Leek and not-much-chicken pie (p. 105)

Here we revisit the classic chicken and leek pie, using every last bit of the leek and not much chicken – we promise you’ll hardly notice.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas mark 4).

Wash and finely slice 2 whole leeks, then sauté the green parts in 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large frying pan over medium–low heat for 5 minutes. Add the white parts plus 3 chopped garlic cloves and sauté for a further 5 minutes until very soft. Remove the leek from the pan and set aside. 

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in the pan and add 200 g (7 oz) diced chicken meat (breast or thigh) and cook for 5 minutes until just browning. Add 200 g (7 oz) diced vegetables (such as cauliflower, potato and corn) and cook for 5 minutes. Return the leeks to the pan and stir.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl or jug, mix ½ cup (125 ml) cream, ½ cup (125 ml) chicken stock, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper and the leaves of 4 thyme sprigs. Pour this over the leek mixture in the pan, sprinkle over 1 tablespoon plain (all-purpose) flour and mix together. Cook for 5 minutes until the sauce has slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.

Line a 23 cm (9 inch) shallow pie tin with puff pastry, line the pastry with baking paper and baking beads and blind bake for 10 minutes. Remove the beads and baking paper, spoon the mixture into the tin and cover with your chosen pastry. Bake for 30–35 minutes, then serve with a salad. Serves 4–6

Article By: Jessa Crispin 

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