Thursday, February 27, 2014


Are You Normcore?

Normcore—it was funny, but it also effectively captured the self-aware, stylized blandness I’d been noticing. Brad’s source for the term was the trend forecasting collective (and fellow artists) K-Hole. They had been using it in a slightly different sense, not to describe a particular look but a general attitude: embracing sameness deliberately as a new way of being cool, rather than striving for “difference” or “authenticity.” In fashion, though, 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.

Normcore! What is it? According to New York, it is "a theory rather than a look." It is wearing... "normal," '90s-ish clothes. (Though this slideshow gives normcore shoes a pretty bad look.) So maybe you are normcore? I, for one, will require more bucket hats. Congrats on maybe being trendy. [NY Mag]

25 Comments / Post A Comment


Omg why does it have to have a name??? Why can't it just be "the old shirt I found at the back of my closet"?

Emma Carmichael

@Jaya or, Every Esprit Shirt My Mom Forgot She Owned And I Eventually Reclaimed


@Jaya I came here to post this exact comment. I wear things because the last time I tried I was told "You can't go grocery shopping naked" and also they keep me warm. Why does this approach to clothing have to have a fashion name?


@LindsayA Guys I'm wearing a white and blue stripped shirt, army green pants and a grey hoodie. I think I'm TOO fashionable???

Emma Carmichael

@Jaya What do you think this is, A RUNWAY??


@LindsayA Because if they let us opt-out we might stop buying things to fix the problems they told us that we have.

and it's not even my birthday

That is the ULTIMATE normcore thing to say!


This is just the young generation's version of thrift shopping. For them, 90s and even early 2000s is vintage. Also this is hardly new, when I first arrived at my university as a grad student years ago, I noticed that sometimes I couldn't tell a hip undergraduate apart from a midwestern middle aged mom if I saw them from behind.

isabelle bleu

@zeytin That's...sort of what I thought. Everything in the slide show looks like slightly better-quality clothing from ca. 1988-1995, ie, that what is probably easy & inexpensively found at any charity thrift shop near anyone. Nice, I guess, that crew-neck sweatshirts and stonewash get another moment in the sun?


@zeytin The return of the mom jeans specifically an odd look to come back, it really makes everyone have the longest butt ever.

isabelle bleu

@zeytin @shantasybaby It makes people look like the have a long butt, unless they have the desirably slim-hipped look of the very late '80/very early '90s (ie: the heyday of model Stephanie Seymour)...which reminds me that this is really just about the return of one fashionable body type or another. I mean, almost anything looks fashion-standards "good" on a slender, cute 22-year-old art student, but I guarantee that no one is coming up with a fun label for this look as worn by, say, back-shift home-care attendants who just want cheap clothes that can take a stain or two.


First of all, those shiny pants offend me.

Second of all, if I never stopped wearing Doc Marten Mary Janes (1998-present), is that normcore or lazycore or ??

P.J. Morse

@stonefruit Regarding your Docs, you are smart. I've had my Doc boots for years, and they are as sturdy as ever.

As one of my coworkers said, "Don't change! Don't you ever change!"


@stonefruit I am with you on the DMs, Mary Janes and otherwise!

I just don't get it. Is this a capital-T Thing or just sort of the "other" (or "all of the above") check-box on the "What's Your Style?" quiz? Is it deliberately wearing all your stuff at once, or just grabbing what you can so that you're decently covered? And if it's specifically '90s stuff, then why is it not just labeled "retro"?

Who decides that someone is wearing Normcore--observers or the wearer? If it's the wearer, then it's kind of the opposite of a conscious decision to not care. I think…? So many questions.


Perhaps now is the time to recall the wise words of Hadley Freeman in answer to the question, "Why do clothes from the 90s look so weird and old-fashioned"

Lily Rowan

Wasn't this a fetish thing on 30 Rock?


@Lily Rowan Normaling!


this is interesting however it is little more than a new twist on ironic dressing. a uniform is one thing, but it's not a uniform if you have to search thrift stores for it.

P.J. Morse

@Rubyinthedust Good point. At first, I thought normcore was just a phrase for wearing a uniform -- same style of clothes in a bunch of different colors. I've rocked that look for years.

I just wish they would call "Normcore" the "Seinfeld style" and get it over with.


Yeah, it's just 90's clothes, but I guess instead of embracing the wildest aspects of a "vintage" style- like with bright mod 60's prints or something- the 90's is just coming back in a much weirder, subtler way. The woman in the side strip sweat pants, white t-shirt, french manicure, and high heeled tennis shoes actually made me angry. her normcore was coming at me all wrong.

It also seems "shitty baseball cap" is a vital part of this look.


also the girl in the first photo of the slideshow has a hair wrap, the kind that all the annoying girls in middle school would come home from their tropical beach vacations with.


meaning it's more about nostalgic regression than a desire to blend in and deny fashion...


"I thrift really hard." UGH. This whole thing. I can't even.

Dian Sasmita@facebook

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