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Style File: Cabincore

First, the fashion world was swept by normcore, then menocore; this past summer, fashionistas, and influencers were all atwitter with cottagecore. Now that we are well into fall, the next big trend is cabincore!

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, that’s fine; this mostly pertains to millennials. But what’s interesting is that all of these trends are actually reactions to things happening in culture through a fashion lens. And the best part is, even if you’ve never heard of these terms before, chances are you’re probably already doing them.

Normcore started back in 2013, and it was a youth-driven trend based on unisex dressing, characterized by normal-looking clothing worn as high-fashion. Normcore clothes include everyday items such as t-shirts, hoodies, jeans, and chino pants. The normcore trend is usually interpreted and executed as a reaction to fashion oversaturation. In other words, fashion got to a point of such ridiculousness that the youth start rebelling and just dressed like normal people. In other words, millennials started dressing like their dads and calling it a trend. So, if you are, or at one point were a dad, you’ve probably mastered this look.

Menocore, a term coined in 2017, is the style of dressing like a fashionable, well-to-do menopausal or post-menopausal woman. Basically, menocore takes its style cues from the cast of the Golden Girls. Designers like Eileen Fishter, J. Jill, and Donna Karan are good representatives of menocore, offering loose, comfortable clothing that fits a variety of informal social situations from shopping to having wine with lunch. What I personally enjoy about menocore is that it’s a style that suggests the wearer is mature, self-confident, and is not seeking the male gaze.

So much of fashion is marketing to young women that they need to be attractive to men. I like that menocore is a sort of backlash to the “sex sells” edict and simply promotes women (of any age) being confident enough to celebrate their own comfort. So, if normcore is 20-somethings dressing like their parents, then think of menocore as them dressing like their grandmothers. And hey, if you’re grandma, you basically invented menocore; it just took the youth a while to recognize it.

Next up, cottagecore, a style of dressing that celebrates country styles of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Think gingham, aprons, prairie dresses, overalls, and patchwork. Cottagecore also embraces sustainability and home-sewing, as opposed to fast-fashion retailers. While the term cottagecore was first noted in 2014, it has become a much more popular aesthetic in 2020. At a time when many are feeling overwhelmed and trapped, cottagecore offers a romantic back-to-basics rural escape that extends beyond clothing. Social media boasts #cottagecore posts ranging from foraging for mushrooms to knitting projects, baking pies, and rustic “cottage” interior décor. Like normcore has us dressing like Dad, and menocore dressing like Nana, cottagecore is dressing like the Amish, but with a bit of Anne of Green Gables thrown into the mix. If you’ve been knitting and baking and decorating with calico fabric for years now, you’re ahead of the curve.

Lastly, cabincore, the most recent fashion trend in this core progression. Cabincore is exactly what you’d imagine; think flannel, think hiking, think taxidermy. Like its predecessors, cabincore is the millennial reaction to lockdown. Everyone is clamoring to get out of urban settings and into nature. As long as there is Wi-Fi, then why not move to the woods and sport some Carhartt coveralls? Cabincore is wool socks, decorative gourds, and, like cottagecore, promotes sustainability and self-sufficiency. Cabincore is all about cozying up with a good book and a cup of tea next to a fire. If you don’t have a fireplace, you can always cast a fireplace video from YouTube to your TV. If cottagecore is Laura Ingalls meets the Amish, then cabincore is where hunters meet hikers, and everyone is wearing buffalo plaid. Guess what? If you already have a cabin, you are doing cabincore!

As I said above, even though these trends sound a bit ridiculous, they are all responses to the cultural climate. And they all strive towards various levels of comfort, sensibility, and sustainability. True, romanticizing cabins and cottages isn’t actually very sensible — who doesn’t like indoor plumbing? But the idea of sewing your own clothes, growing your own veggies, and being more mindful are all practical pursuits. And, for readers of a certain age, you’ve probably been doing this for years. Who knew you were so trendy?

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