Cottagecore fashion is on the rise in the UK with cute, vintage-style dresses becoming the wardrobe staple of the summer! There's no better outfit for wandering around an English country garden and picking daisies than a floaty dress made from lightweight linen or breathable cotton – you'll feel comfy and look incredibly chic.
With so many beautiful designs available from both new and familiar brands, it's easy to be overwhelmed by cottagecore fashion. To help you select a dress that matches your aesthetic, we've put together a stunning selection including long-sleeved floral mini dresses, classic white gowns with a shirred waist and pretty pastel pieces for plus-sized girls. We'll also show you where to buy them online!
Melissa Melles is a Wardrobe Concierge based in Manchester, helping both women and men find their style and have confidence in what they wear by organising their wardrobes. With 10 years industry experience, Melissa's clients trust her expert opinion when it comes to style advice. Her experience spans from TV, music and editorial styling, to working in Paris showrooms, to personal shopping in luxury department stores and more.
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Melissa Melles is a Wardrobe Concierge based in Manchester, helping both women and men find their style and have confidence in what they wear by organising their wardrobes. With 10 years of industry experience, Melissa's clients trust her expert opinion when it comes to style advice. Her experience spans from TV, music and editorial styling, to working in Paris showrooms, to personal shopping in luxury department stores and more.
Find out more about Melissa via her Instagram or head over to her website where you can see all the expert consultation services she offers - from simply organising your wardrobe space to sourcing those hard to find 'New Season' pieces!
Ready to immerse yourself in the world of cottagecore fashion? Let us guide you through the ins and outs of shopping for a new dress, from the skirt length and neckline style to the materials that they're typically made from.
Firstly, you'll need to decide which length you'd like your dress to be. Mini dresses are fun and flirty as they sit right at the middle of your thighs – perfect for showing off your legs on a summer stroll! This length may not be suitable for practical cottagecore activities like gardening or foraging, though.
Midi dresses, which come down to just below your knees, provide a bit more coverage for your legs and bum but still reveal a bit of skin. Since they aren't too restrictive, they're ideal for long walks or shopping for plants.
Long, flowy maxi dresses are particularly popular amongst lovers of cottagecore fashion, as they're a more modest option. This length not only flatters almost every figure but also protects you from the sun, so it's a great option for a picnic with pals or an afternoon of reading in the garden.
Choosing the right length of Cottagecore dress for you will largely depend on your style, if you tend to wear short dresses and like to get your legs out then a mini will likely be your go-to. If you prefer a more modest look then the midi or maxi will probably be the one for you. A maxi will look great with flat sandals and is perfect for picnicking when you're laying down or crossing your legs on the grass.
Another natural material that's often used is linen, which is derived from flax fibres. It draws heat away from the body, so it'll keep you cool during summer. As it's about 30% stronger than cotton, a garment made from this fabric will stay in great condition too, even after hundreds of washes!
Some dresses on our list are made from polyester, which is a synthetic material. Brands tend to use polyester because it's wrinkle-resistant and inexpensive to produce. Unfortunately, it's much less breathable than natural fabrics, but we think its durability makes up for this flaw.
When selecting your fabrics it's always really important now to consider the environment. It's good to buy pieces that will last in your wardrobe, but if you are buying synthetic try to look out for recycled synthetics. A lot of high street stores are now trying to be more sustainable and it's actually becoming a lot easier to buy sustainably and affordably too. Even recycled natural fabrics are easily sourced from the high street. So you can be stylish and sustainable!
When it comes to cottagecore fashion, a classic square neckline is undoubtedly the most popular option. This type of neckline shows off the collarbone and elongates the neck, revealing some skin but not too much.
If you have a larger bust though, we recommend a rectangular or round neckline, as these will complement your chest better and you won't feel too exposed. They're less common but we've found a few lovely options that we'll share in our ranking later on.
Choosing the neckline can be tricky, I find that if you have a larger bust it's definitely wise to go for something with a softer rounder neckline. But it can depend on the dress, the higher the neckline usually the bigger your bust appears so it's definitely worth trying different styles to see which you feel most confident and comfortable in.
There are plenty of gorgeous garments out there that are beautiful because of their simplicity – a chic white dress is timeless, after all. If you fancy amping up the style factor though, a pattern or print is a great way to go.
All-over floral prints will appeal to nature lovers, while a dress with a gingham pattern will suit a picnic perfectly. Both add extra charm and colour and give a traditional-style dress a modern vibe, so you'll look sassy rather than stuffy!
For even more pizzazz, choose a dress with delicate embroidery or a romantic broderie anglaise design. The latter, which incorporates features of embroidery, cutwork and lace, was extremely popular in the 19th century but has made a real comeback in recent years thanks to its understated elegance.
By going for a printed dress doesn't always have to mean bold and strong. If you're more self-conscious of your figure and want to be a little more subtle, you may think you should avoid prints, however, these can mask any trouble areas and draw attention away from any lumps and bumps.
Prints are really fun on such a simple style dress so it's good to have pieces like this in your wardrobe that you know make you look and feel amazing but with little effort to get ready.
Lastly, it's important to check the care instructions, so you know how to look after your new dress properly. Nowadays, the majority of clothing can be popped straight into the washing machine with your other laundry.
However, some garments that are made from delicate fabrics or that have intricate embroidery may need to be washed by hand. Similarly, not all dresses will be suitable for the tumble dryer, so it's always worth reading the label before laundry day. To make things easier, we've listed this information in the specification tables below each review.
Definitely always check garment care labels when buying pieces, if something is dry clean only - think how often you will wear it and how much it's going to cost you in the long run to upkeep the cleaning. If a garment is a handwash only, don't be put off, there are so many affordable handwash detergents and it's super quick and easy to do. Plus you don't have to wait for a whole load to do the washing!
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Evangeline Broderie Anglaise Dress, Pure White
Ethically Made, High-Quality and Universally Flattering
Puff Sleeve Maxi Dress, Black
Goth Girl Summer Vibes
Textured Shirred Midi Dress With Floral Embroidery in White
Elaborate Embroidery That's Bang on Trend
Imogen Linen Mini Dress, Soft Pistachio
A Beautifully Tailored Garment in a Soft Green Shade
Tie Back Shirred Smock Dress in White Floral
Fantastically Floral and Frilly
Shirred Puff Sleeve Midi Dress in Pale Pink
Stylish and Practical, Yet Incredibly Affordable
Plus Mini Smock Dress With Collar in Pastel Gingham
A Pretty Pastel Option for Plus-Sized Ladies
Bailey Gingham Tiered Midi Dress, Una Plaid Safari
Classic, Chic, and Comfy
Broderie Anglais Mini Dress in Sage Green
Short and Sweet, With a Delicate Design
& Other Stories
Organic Cotton Tiered Volume Maxi Dress in Brown
A Flowy Maxi Dress for Mori Girls
This mid-length option is the quintessential cottagecore dress – it's airy, romantic and timeless. The crisp white shade will suit every skin tone, while the subtly tailored silhouette is universally flattering. We particularly love the embroidered leaf pattern, which makes this simple cotton dress far from boring.
Best of all, Baukjen is a London-based brand with a focus on sustainable style, so this dress is ethically made from natural fibres using a carbon net-neutral manufacturing process. A high-quality, eco-friendly garment that will last you for many years to come!
Who said cottagecore has to be strictly pastels? If you're a fan of the folksy aesthetic but prefer a darker colour palette, this dress is for you! The empire waistline and square neckline are super flattering, while the three-quarter length sleeves and floaty skirt ensure freedom of movement.
Best of all, the lightweight blend of cotton and elastane makes this a breezy option for wandering around gardens with friends or sitting in the sunshine. Goths can enjoy a hot girl summer too!
This striking mini dress by Forever New features a flattering fit-and-flare silhouette, a chic square neckline and romantically tailored mini sleeves. It's somehow floaty and structured all at once, and the soft green shade will complement a range of skin tones.
The breathable blend of linen and vicose will keep you cool during the warm weather. We love the delicate string-tie front too – it's the little details that count when it comes to cottagecore fashion!
Although it's technically a mini dress, this option isn't too short so you can roam around freely in it without worrying about flashing what's underneath. The cool, lightweight fabric also makes it a joy to wear whatever the weather.
Designed in Manchester, this gorgeous pale pink dress by Urban Bliss is a cottagecore wardrobe staple. The shirred stretch bodice and square neckline are incredibly flattering for your chest and waist, while the mid-length puff sleeves will keep your upper arms out of the sun.
Sadly, this dress runs slightly large, so you may need to size down to get the perfect fit. It's also made from polyester so won't be suitable for super hot summer days. Considering the amazingly low price though, we can't complain too much!
Gals who are on the tall side may find this mini dress to be a little too short, so you may want to wear some shorts or a pair of leggings underneath for modesty. If you're a petite plus-sized lady though, it'll work wonderfully.
With a soft brown colour palette and traditional gingham print, this midi dress is simple yet elegant. The voluminous bell sleeves give your arms a bit of breathing space, while the nipped-in waist will really show off your figure.
Although this garment is mostly made from cotton, it also includes elastane for a bit of stretch, making it perfect for wearing whilst strolling around the garden. The only downside is the fact that it's so expensive, but we'd say this is understandable when you consider that Levi's is a designer brand!
This stunning sage green mini dress from Lola May features puff sleeves with elasticated cuffs, a ruffle-edge hem and a zip back for easy fastening. The delicate broderie anglaise embroidery adds extra depth to the simple design, which is short and sweet.
Unfortunately, as this dress is made from 100% polyester, it's not as breathable as the cotton garments on our list. It's also only available in smaller sizes which is a real shame. Still, at under £30, it's a very affordable piece.
We love the fact that this maxi dress has subtle side pockets where you can stash your keys and purse. However, while some will appreciate its relaxed fit, others may find the lack of structure around the chest and stomach areas unflattering.
"When it comes to Cottagecore dresses, I like to style them with a chunky sandal or a pair of clogs, keeping it super cute and summery for your picnics and seaside walks."
Now that you've got your dress sorted, how about a few more key cottagecore pieces? You can't go wrong with a sun hat for summer days or a cosy cardie to keep warm on autumn evenings. And don't forget the bouquet of dried flowers!
That's all from us – we hope you've enjoyed learning more about cottagecore fashion and that you're ready to pick out a dreamy new dress. Pop on Taylor Swift's Folklore album, pour yourself a cup of herbal tea and start shopping!
Author: Nicola McClements
No. 1: Baukjen ｜Evangeline Broderie Anglaise Dress, Pure White
No. 2: hush｜Puff Sleeve Maxi Dress, Black
No. 3: ASOS DESIGN｜Textured Shirred Midi Dress With Floral Embroidery in White
No. 4: Forever New ｜Imogen Linen Mini Dress, Soft Pistachio
No. 5: New Look ｜Tie Back Shirred Smock Dress in White Floral
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