A Different Kind of 90s Fashion

“Go back to nature, live in the forest, before they take it away” – John Williamson

[LOL I just realised that this entire post could have been shortened by saying: it’s basically being a Hobbit]

I’m at an age where I’ve lived long enough to see the cringe-worthy fashions of my childhood and adolescence being recycled and up-cycled into the latest thing; where Insta- and real – celebrities are showing up wearing 70s, 80s, and 90s fashion. At least designers and influencers now have left behind some of the rougher edges, and instead streamlined these looks into a take that reflects more modern, and dare I say it, more suitable, tastes. What I mean by that is; contouring, and matte or juicy lips in vibrant colours, instead of the white cast face with orange-brown lipstick on a cool-toned skin (aka; totally unsuitable, and vice versa for warm skin), and luxuriously Olaplexed hair instead of frizzy, damaged locks, or pixie cuts that are less pixie and more…bowl. Things like that. I’m all for taking ideas and improving on them, I just wish I’d been able to use these tweaks the first time around. So, although I have an appreciation for “The 90s: 2.0”, I don’t really have a nostalgia for these kinds of looks, it’s more of an: “Oh god, why :|”, when I think back to how I used to wear those fashions during my childhood.

Today, though, I’m talking about a different facet of the 90s. Something that hasn’t really been revived in mainstream fashion, and that has matured from its origins to become a more defined genre/style:

Cottagecore; to be precise, and all the other ‘cores’ to go along with it. Warmcore, farmcore, honeycore, grandmacore, naturecore, dirtcore, gardencore, flowercore, cozycore, summercore, plantcore… and the list most likely goes on, into ever deeper sub-sections of an already obscure sub-genre.

@garygardeningcentre on Tumblr

Why is it called cottagecore, you might ask? Not sure, but it seems to be a derivative along the lines of ‘hardcore’ (as in the music/style/genre…not the style of video..*ahem* More like a descriptive word of an aesthetic one is into)…except you’re not into anything hard at all, quite the opposite in fact. Cottagecore is all about being ~*soft*~.

What’s it got to do with the 90s, though?

I thought maybe it was just my quiet, suburban childhood, where teddy bears, Victorian children’s books and adventures to the countryside were daydreamed about, and everything that encompassed. It had a lot to do with fantasy and Western European-centric folklore (although the Ghibli movies certainly have the same feel), the romanticising of farming and rural life, and home-baked goods. However, with my discovery of cottagecore on (where else do you find an obscure sub-genre but…) Tumblr, it appears I’m not the only one.

There were quite a few movies and TV shows that came out in the 90s which fit the cottagecore style, including my favourite; The Secret of Roan Inish, as well as ones like Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth, Little Women, and the Beatrix Potter series. I do wonder why so many shows and books for kids in the 90s were from over 100 years ago or so, but I guess it’s like fashions coming and going. If you have an inkling, I’d love to hear it. Nevertheless, cross-stitch, watercolour illustrations, fables, embroidery, dollhouses and classical music were all part of the same trend.

Photo by liskin_doll

But what exactly is cottagecore? Now that we’ve passed through Emo and *edginess*, sarcasm and apathy, it seems some people want to get back to wholesomeness and sweetness, authenticity and all that is natural. Not to abandon technology, computers and phones inasmuch as incorporating them into these romanticised cottage lifestyles. Taking the time to create a photoshoot of you wearing a gingham dress, carrying a wicker basket of blackberries in a field overgrown with wildflowers, while a French stone farmhouse sits behind you is definitely cottagecore. A photo of your crouching #squadgoals, wearing Adidas tracksuits in a city parking lot with your Ferrari, not so much.

Close enough. Photo by @liskin_doll on Insta

It’s all about the wistful, and the whimsical. Think Pride & Prejudice, and Far From the Madding Crowd. A small house, or…~cottage~ in the countryside with a vegetable patch, handmade clothes, spending your days picking flowers and baking tarts doesn’t exactly seem like an unattainable goal. However, in a world where people feel increasingly like they need to document how amazing their globe-trotting, fast-paced, competitive lifestyle is, it can feel like a life increasingly out of reach. If you’re into living in a cottage, you’re probably not going to be the kind of person who wants to fly in a private jet to party with the Hadids, and write cocky Instagram captions to your millions of adoring followers. Your Friday night would probably be a little more hyggelig than that – think cup of tea and a book or drawing pad in a comfy armchair. An extrovert’s nightmare, and an introvert’s dream.

However, the former is what is being reinforced as what success looks like, and many people get caught up in the ever-refreshing Instagram feed of travel bloggers and fitness gurus, and feeling more and more like they will never be good enough, or reach that height in their life, even though, if they think about it, they don’t actually want that kind of life. Although the Dream has widened its parameters more than the 50s style of white picket fence and nuclear family in the suburbs for all intents and purposes, it is still difficult to tell That Aunt at Christmas why you haven’t done this or that, or why you’ve chosen your certain lifestyle, right? That’s what’s being explored via the internet at the moment, and while it is certainly a bumpy road, it’s exciting to me to see where things are headed in some ways.

@lovergroves on Tumblr

The reason I’m writing about all this is that this is where the nostalgia has hit me. It’s brought back all the things I wanted for myself when I grew up as a child, and they pretty much all fit into this lifestyle. I don’t think it really is all that obscure as a desire for people in my generation, because even Sephora has just released its own “Witch Kit”, as controversial as that may be. I mention this because it all ties in together. It’s that kind of witchy friend who always gives you your horoscope and has a tea concoction for every occasion. It’s not so much the nu-goth style of Vampire or Witch that came around with 90s/2000s era media (eg Buffy, Charmed, Interview with a Vampire, etc), as it is the natural ‘friendly witch in the woods’ type, who gives you a herbal concoction to help with your ailments. Think more Hufflepuff than Hocus Pocus. It’s all very wholesome and inclusive, which is something that seems to be lacking in Western society in particular, or maybe to be more accurate, in cultures that focus more on the individual, rather than the collective.

“Cottage Witch Aesthetic” by  @oldoakwoods on Tumblr

Wholesomeness is something I’m very into these days, after spending years in that mentality where you’re apathetic, but in a tortured artist kind of way because it makes you so mysterious and interesting (you know how I mentioned that “oh god, why?” feeling before?). After reading those adorable books by Meik Wiking and exploring these little sub-genres, it gives me a ‘good’, relaxed feeling, rather than an angsty, anxiety-ridden one. I feel like I’m recharging instead of being drained.

It’s quite therapeutic, because it encourages and celebrates ‘goodness’; being good to each other, being good to the earth, and being good to yourself, and coming from a generation where that was lame, and not giving a frick-frack about anything, apart from very shallow and materialistic statuses and objects, it’s a place I feel I can finally breathe. And I suppose it is very much to do with the pressure we put on ourselves these days, especially personally, with a chronic illness, feeling like I can never keep up with the fast-paced world I’m in. It’s a place where it says it’s OK to want just enough, not an excess, and it’s OK to spend your days quietly indulging in creative pursuits rather than over-indulging in fast food and the clickbait outrage cycle. ‘Dropping out’, and doing things that not only make you happy, but they make you feel good in a healthy way, rather than feeling good in a guilty secret kind of way (what I mean is; turning your phone off to paint a watercolour and listen to some lofi music with some candles burning, rather than watching The Kardashians and eating Mi Goreng in your room at 4am after drinking all night with people you can’t really call your friends).

pagewoman:“ Thomas Hardy’s Cottage, Higher Brockhampton, Dorchester, Dorset, England NTPL/Robert Morris ”
“Thomas Hardy’s Cottage, Higher Brockhampton, Dorchester, Dorset, England” – @pagewoman on Tumblr

I think that’s enough rambling now, anyway! Here’s a playlist of some music that feels like it fits with my idea of cottagecore that I put together, illustrated exactly as I pictured (since I can come up with the ideas, but have little to no skill in executing them) by wonderful and talented BB. I would love to hear if you wanted to add to it, or what your take on cottagecore and all its related sub-genres is; what it means to you, and why. If you want to see more of the cottagecore aesthetic, have a look at my Tumblr, although it isn’t solely cottagecore, or just search for it on the site itself.



Happy exploring!

xo, Lo

An Average Day in My Life

I thought I would give a little bit of insight into my life. I was going to say; “as an average spoonie”, but I don’t actually know if I am average. I think I do a little better than the average person with chronic illness, thanks to my upbringing with lots of sports, physio and nutrition, but again, it’s a spectrum. So how do I know? This is an average day in my life, and I am a spoonie, so there! Actually, my life changes almost every day, depending on pain and injury, as well as what I have going on, so I thought I’d pick a relatively quiet one, where I could write.

So, here we go.

7:00am: wake up and pull on some leggings, a jumper and some sneakers to drive BB to work (we share a car and it doesn’t make sense to pay for parking when we live pretty close). Feel pretty good because every day I’ve been getting thinner due to intermittent fasting, even though I haven’t moved on the scale. I guess I’m putting on muscle, which my body does way too easily for what I would like. Either way, it’s much better than being a blob for the better part of a year after surgery.

7:30am: Take a couple of minutes to descend the four flights of stairs, because my knee is somehow swollen and the patella is pulling to the outside – pretty painful and I don’t know why! Drink a black coffee with stevia on the way, and listen to BBC Dunia Pagi on the way back to practice my Indo.

8:00am: Arrive back at home and decide to address my knee issues instead of lying around all day waiting for it to settle down. Start off by foam rolling, then find Jessica Valant Pilates for Knees video and do that. It’s actually way better than I expected (because when you’re dealing with EDS you learn not to have any expectations, especially when it comes to something physical), and I can feel it really working my VMO, which is eternally atrophied, and nothing has been able to help. It’s the chief reason why I’ve had three surgeries on my knees to stabilise the patellae, and keep them from being pulled to the outside and dislocating due to overworked lateral quads. This video is probably the best workout I have ever done, and I have ZERO knee pain now! Frack yeah. Foam roll again to finish off.

8:30am: Turn the oven on and wash rice and put some sweet potato in the steamer with it while waiting for it to heat. Put the rest of the sweet potato in the oven. Having a little moment with sweety potates, since I found a recipe that makes them all caramelized and perfectly cooked, with minimal effort.

8:45am: Got on my stationary bike to do my usual hour of low intensity cardio, while watching Return of Superman. Find it’s easier than usual and I don’t even realise the hour is almost up. Nice.

9:45am: Shower and put on extra moisturiser since my skin is sucking everything up immediately, although has also been oilier..which means I gotta get some more hydration and repair, I think. It may just be changing my eating. We’ll see.

10:15am: Marinade chicken and make raw zucchini, pine nut, red onion and feta salad. Sweet potatoes and rice are ready…except for the steamed ones. Dang. Will have to find another recipe. Make my brekk and clean kitchen.

11:30am: Time to eat!

  • One slice of black pudding
  • One egg,
  • Leftover zucchini bits with nutritional yeast
  • Half a cup of rice
  • 1/4 sweet potato
  • Zucchini salad
  • Bone broth spicy mushroom soup

I usually eat something like this after breaking my fast, with aloe vera juice, apple cider vinegar, lemon and soda water. Also trying to finish off this giant pack of fake Yakult we got from Hanaro Mart, which I suspect doesn’t actually have any probiotic qualities. Clean up the living room, and take my supps.

12pm: Check on my ma since she was in hospital and is going interstate tomorrow after her work laptop crashed, then read through a contract for work.

1:30pm: Start copying an old Miley Cyrus look since I’m out of practice and people say I look like her (what they leave out is obviously a chubbier version lol). Burn myself trying to curl my hair because I suck at it and damage and kink it up, only for it to return to complete straightness within an hour. Everything looks greasy and terrible, and my back is cramping like a binch trying to take photos. So, abandon it.

3:30pm: Feel super gross with all this makeup on my face. Not sure if it’s because of fibromyalgia, or if I’m just spoiled wearing good BB cream all the time, but I can’t stand layers of makeup anymore. It feels awful. Really want to wash this off, but I have to go out later.

Finish the zucchini salad, while blinking through the pain. What pain you may ask? For some reason I kept getting ulcers in my mouth recently, until I switched to using Lush Boom! Toothy Tabs, which works insanely well, and don’t make my mouth feel burned or unclean by the time I wake up like normal toothpaste. The ulcer boys are almost gone, but the red onion in this is spicing me up and burning my mouth raw (even though the actually spicy soup was fine lol), as well as burning my nose somehow. I’ve never had so much trouble with foods and products until the past couple of years, and it’s a never-ending trial of different ways around it. Take off my contacts and fake lashes at least so I can chill out a little, then start writing this.

4:40pm: Go pick up BB and get groceries, then have to go home because my back and neck are hurting like crazy! I didn’t even realise, but today is the first day in a while I haven’t had to take my medication in the morning as well as at night, but I’m definitely feeling it now. Picked up a natural deodorant that seems to have good reviews, so I’ll see how that goes.

Saturday, 22nd September: I had to take Gabapentin when I got home and forgot about writing. Such is the life of a spoonie, I guess. Now I can’t really remember most of what I did, even though it was just a few days ago. Probably not much different to what I usually do: make dinner, stream something while BB works, do some more work until brain fog hits and it’s too late for coffee, practice Korean and Indo, maybe draw something.

This week in general has been pretty good, though, I’ve been working steadily and quickly on a few different contracts, fasting intermittently without any problems, and somehow building way more muscle than I’ve actually been working for. Until yesterday, I felt like I was finally getting back to stability. I say until yesterday, because that morning, I suddenly realised I had a lot of trouble with the stairs again, and even to text on my phone with both hands, I needed to prop myself up on the kitchen counter. All my muscles felt fatigued, and 30 mins on the bike was almost more than I could manage.

After working through the morning okay, albeit shivering and my fingers stiffening up from a bit of a breeze outside (for some reason, my Raynauds kicks in when it drops just a couple of degrees lower than usual, and makes my fingers in particular super stiff and cold), I had to call it quits by lunchtime. So, I guiltily spent the rest of the day finishing God of War 3 and watching The Good Place on Netflix, eating Halo Top, until I picked up BB and bought groceries. Then, I guiltily sat on the couch, while he made dinner, feeling like a trash can. I picked the wrong time to wean off pain killers to help with my liver, with shark week coming up, as any kind of hormonal changes cause massive flare-ups for me.

Anyway, this has been a pretty long, dry, post with a crappy photo of my breakfast to break it up, so I’ll add this:

BB just told me that they’re bringing out an Invader Zim movie!!??!?

If you don’t know what Invader Zim is, it was a creepy cartoon on Nickelodeon in the early 2000s, which got cancelled for being too creepy. It’s about an alien who is banished to Earth under the pretence of colonising it, along with his defective robot. It’s my favourite childhood show, and shaped my humour. Nobody else I know likes it except my dad and brother, and think I’m weird, but I must have watched each episode at least five times. Finally, they’re making a movie, and I could literally cry, I’m so excited and vindicated (well, we’ll see how it is when it comes out). Fun fact: the voice of Zim is actually Daggett from the Angry Beavers! Yeah, I’m an old boy.

Not only that, I’ll leave you with some memes I found hilarious and/orthis week at 1AM by myself, which means they probably aren’t actually that funny.