If you have been hanging out on the interwebs recently, you may have heard the phrase “normcore”. It’s a phrase used to describe the recent trend of anonymous clothing or even anti-fashion, and The Cut has a great piece about this trend.
Of course, there are people who are upset at fashion becoming so incredibly plain. Leandra from The Man Repeller wrote about how bored and frustrated she is with dressing as a pared down version of herself. You know what? If you want to let your fashion freak flag fly, all the more power to you. I appreciate the Leandras of the world reminding me that fashion should be fun. Yet, at the end of the day, if you’re not interested in aesthetics at all, you never will be, and there’s no changing that (ahem, penguin pajama girl in my 8am class). Sweatpants and Tevas becoming fashionable is not going to sway that group one way or another. If you are interested in how you present yourself to the world, this is a great time for practical luxury. I agree with Sophie of Les Anti-Modernes that all a woman wants is to look pulled together and chic in clothes that are practical and comfortable. The renewed interest in comfortable chic is definitely the upside of the normcore trend.
While the result has been interesting to observe, as usual I am much more interested in the cause. I think (and please, chime in with your own opinions!) that this idea of blank clothing is a reaction to our society right now. Fashion does not exist in a vacuum, it has always been either a reaction against or a prediction of cultural events. I feel as though there’s a sort of ubiquitous, low-grade paranoia and anxiety in our culture right now. Politically, socially, and even in technology things feel like they have been so out of control, I think people are starting to bunker down and try to protect themselves.
It’s not just in fashion of course. We’re protecting ourselves by focusing on our finances with a renewed interest in financial literacy and safeguarding our assets, embracing minimalism and a leaner and meaner lifestyle than we have in the past, escaping with media that seems to be focused on super-heroes swooping in to save the day, and yes, by deeming fashion out of style and donning anonymous clothing in order to find safety by blending in.
So is my interest in “practical luxury” a result of this social climate or my own personal style? Possibly a little bit of both… or maybe neither. All I know is that I’m glad that retailers are starting to cater to it. I like my anonymous clothing because while aesthetics are important to me (and I do find fashion interesting and enjoyable), I want clothes that support my lifestyle. I need them to be practical and reliable, because I have more pressing concerns day to day than fussing over my outfit. I need them to be quiet, because I want to be remembered for my contributions and accomplishments, not my wardrobe. I also need them to be comfortable and comforting, because life can get crazy and sometimes I need that psychological armor and cocoon that clothing can provide.
What do you think about the normcore trend? Are you against it, or for it, and more importantly where do you think it is coming from?