Normcore is a new buzzy trend popping up all over the fashion parts of the internet. For those who have not yet familiarized themselves with the new trend, here is an essential guide.
What is Normcore? It’s a style that’s been popular for awhile at liberal arts and art schools, but has just been given a name by New York Magazine’s Fiona Duncan. When I was in college in the Pioneer Valley, those who were Normcore referred to it as “mom style” or “dad style.” They wore windbreakers and dorky sneakers while they played noise music in basements and barns, like sexy co-ed versions of your parents. Duncan’s editorial described Normcore thusly:
[Normcore is] embracing sameness deliberately as a new way of being cool, rather than striving for “difference” or “authenticity”…this manifests itself in ardently ordinary clothes. Mall clothes. Blank clothes. The kind of dad-brand non-style you might have once associated with Jerry Seinfeld, but transposed on a Cooper Union student with William Gibson glasses.
Who is doing Normcore? The innately cool who don’t want to look like they are trying hard to be unique. Those who just are cool can express their social cache through clothes that show they recognize what norms are wearing.
Why is it? FASHION, or more elaborately, ironic trends have gone beyond winkily simulating bad taste and is now simulating a complete lack of taste. Art kids and fashion types are disposing of big plastic frame glasses in favor of unassuming wire rimmed or frameless specs.
John Waters once said that “[t]aste is style, and to know bad taste of course you have to have been taught the rules of the tyranny of good taste so you can yearn to break them.” Normcore takes this sentiment a step beyond. Wearing the Ironic hipster style from the late oughts exhibited “good taste” because festooning oneself in tacky clothes showed that one recognized they were in poor taste, whereas Normcore completely takes taste, good and bad, out of the picture and replaces it with the bland and boring.
So Normcore is like Derelicte from Zoolander(2001)? No, it’s quite the opposite. Normcore celebrates the comfort of typical and normal Americans, rather than exploiting the impoverished. Frumpy dad and mom styles indicate being prosperous enough to dress leisurely in sneakers and sweatpants.
What do I need to join in? Imagine breaking into a locker at a water-park in Anywhere, USA and wearing what you find inside. Normcore fashion requires simple and basic, but not classic clothes. Think like the late Steve Jobs, or like Jerry Seinfeld or like the people you would see in the food court of a mall in Middle America –think about how millennials dressed as children in the nineties. Every item must be accessible to as many people as possible. You do not want to seem like you care about fashion or brands or even fit. The point of normcore is that your coolness shines through an outfit that would not be out of place in a line at Disneyland.
Here are a few Normcore items to get you started:
Plain White T-Shirts
Get a pack of three for $13.01 via Hanes
Just like your art teacher or mom used to wear for $124.99 via Nordstrom
This model is rocking the normcore look hard by matching those comfy sneakers with sweats. The elastic at the ankle is essential. $13.05 via Amazon
Mom jeans, baby! Get your booty to a thrift shop and find a pair for a few bucks, or get these for $90 via American Apparel.
Image via Getty