What in the world is Normcore? And why does everyone look so BASIC?

As much as I claim and try to keep up with in-the-know fashion, I was late to the Normcore game, like 3 years late. To my surprise, especially being in NY, a majority of talented people I talk to are also out of touch with the word and meaning of Normcore. Normcore has been buzzing and trickling into our lives, whether we knew it or not since 2013. The term was brought to us by the marketing and trend forecasting group KHole-.

Normcore: (Normal + Hardcore) An attitude, not a particular code of dress, but a broader sociological attitude. Intended to mean, “find liberation in being nothing special” -Wikipedia

Why was this term even created?

K-Hole was challenged to identify trend associated with youth generation that went beyond Hipster (which we have been hearing since 2008). Normcore was not intended to influence fashion. It was a simple, non-statement, blending in in a bland way. Individuals would un-identify themselves with popular craze and brand-names. Think pumpkin spice at Starbucks, obsessions magazines/bloggers/vloggers promote, and the ability to answer, “Where did you get that?” “Who are you wearing?”

Photo: Yougjun Koo/I’M KOO

Stripping of labels

Normcore is eliminating, or at least the OGs intended, removing the justification of oneself with labels, especially those that are common and/or on the rise. But once recognized the masterminds of fashion tagged in, then blasted this no-name prideful way of living through #s, high-end photo shoots, designer influence and spotlight, and of course OG street wearer.

I quote due to my sheer fascination with Normcore being as hip, yet low-key style our generation chooses to identify with. And Fiona Duncan is the vocalist for the Normcore beat serenading my brain.

At first, I spotted just occasional forays into normcore: the rare cool kid wearing clothes as lukewarm as the last sips of deli coffee—mock turtlenecks with Tevas and Patagonia windbreakers; Uniqlo khakis with New Balance sneakers or Crocs and souvenir-stand baseball caps. -Fiona Duncan

With Normcore Fashion comes the promotion to ‘style’ yourself basic, not to be confused with ‘basic bitch’. This type of basic equates itself to bland, no recognization, no embellishments, completely undistinguished. To be as simple and common as possible. The irony behind this style is that you have to TRY to dress simple and appear to be the nothing special, but then that makes you special.

normcore-trend-jerry-seinfeld-fashion-inspirationI would not be surprised to see a giant “?” still hovering over your head, so let’s diagnose the 411 on how to treat Normcore. “The emergence of the kind of dad-brand non-style you might have once associated with Jerry Seinfeld.” –Fiona Duncan

101 on completing the look

POPSugar also pondered, “How do you style the non-style?” and broke down Normcore Fashion into 5 principles

  1. Neutral colors
  2. Relaxed fit
  3. Dad denim/Mom jeans (think or go back to the 90s)
  4. Sporty Motifs i.e. fanny pack, windbreaker, baseball cap
  5. White sneakers

Think Gap khakis, a black moc-neck sweater, and (the now infamous) plain white sneakers.


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