Coined first by New York trend forecasting agency K-Hole, “Normcore” has been appropriated by the fashion industry to denote a subculture of people who prefer dressing in an ordinary and nondescript way, and thus liberate themselves from the frenzy of constantly changing fashion trends. Normcores opt for styles and items that seem commonplace, and fit in with the mainstream instead of standing out as overtly fashionable. This, however, doesn’t mean that they are drab or un-stylish. In fact, Normcores can come across as sharply dressed individuals without grabbing attention – to adapt the adage; their style is simple and sweet. You may not notice them the first time around, but look more closely and you realise how put together they are. As the fashion world would have it, some designers have actually established themselves producing “normcore” lines, ironically adopting the very ethos that rejects fast fashion. In an ideologically parallel bid to “pare it down”, these designers have created collections that are plain and almost anonymous, with a minimum of detail and branding cues.
A NORMCORE’S PROFILE
The typical Normcore is someone who is either tired of or cannot be bothered with the needy world of fashion, preferring comfort and conformity to being à la mode. He is however not someone who throws on clothing randomly – he cares about the way he dresses, just not how everyone thinks he should. Amongst Normcores there are those who take it more seriously than others. These folks have picked Normcore as their personal style, and actively seek out designers and outfits that make an ironic “I am anti-style” statement.
Typically without labels and details, Normcore looks come across like nothing special. Not shabby though – the outfits tend to be smart, tidy, and clean-cut. The color palette is safe, commonly monochromes of grey and blue, so as not to stand out. An ensemble is usually made up of basic items – a plain white tee, dark blue jeans, plain sneakers. Sometimes a singular, highly-visible label may be spotted to give the look more prestige, but more often than not ensembles contain absolutely no recognizable logos. As with color, the choice of materials is never edgy or remarkable; plain cotton, denim and non-shiny synthetics are predominant. Accessories are also kept simple or not worn at all.
Normcore fashion revolves largely around casual to semi-formal outfits, where comfort is key because wearing something inherently uncomfortable just to look good is trying too hard. It gets muddy when formal wear is concerned, however – it is safe to say that Normcores would dress formally the way most people do. A regular suit in a traditional black or navy paired with a white tee and matching tie and black shoes would most likely be a Normcore’s choice in a formal setting.
WHO IS IT FOR?
With the wide availability of mass-produced styles and items, Normcore when taken in its most authentic sense is truly the most accessible style archetype. It is extremely prevalent and can be put together cheaply, without any fuss or worry. However if you like the Normcore sentiment but still wish to “stand out”, ironic as that may be, you will need to know the growing pool of designers and brands that offer simple apparel with a stylish edge. Sometimes it may be more difficult being simple and stylish than simply, stylish.
TIPS TO GET YOU STARTED
Being comfortable and conformist isn’t a free ticket to sloppiness. However simple the designs, color, and materials of your ensemble may be, they need to fit on your body well and match well together. Use monochromes to affect a simple color palette while allowing yourself some leeway to play around; this could be a pastel blue shirt under an open navy hooded jacket, matched with slim dark blue jeans and black plimsolls.
BRANDS TO EXPLORE
- CK Jeans