High-waisted jeans. New Balances. Velcro wallets. Polyester-blend turtlenecks. The garments I just listed are in fact not the costume selections for the cast of Seinfeld, but instead make up the general look of normcore –– a new fashion subculture sweeping the wardrobes of ironic hipsters everywhere.
The basic concept behind normcore is surprisingly simple when compared to the previous movements of the indie kid crowd (See: pale grunge and boho-chic). In short, its overall premise lies in dressing as average as possible. Think suburban nuclear families who shop for all of their necessities at Costco (Kirkland hoodies and all) or even “Barack Obama taking Sasha and Malia to school” realness. “Out” are the days of pretentious, flashy street style –– where “I was a fan of that band before they were popular” type millennials were on the same paradoxical quest to be different –– and “In” is an era of shamelessly reveling in the mainstream.
What began as mostly an East Coast phenomenon quickly spread the same way most fashion fads do these days –– through tumblr and underground blogs. Soon every publication from GQ to The New York Times had put in their two cents on this form of revolutionary regularity.
Though some see normcore as a desperate attempt to make art out of the everyday, others argue that the movement helps those who once embraced juice cleanses, Instagram filters and William S. Boroughs poems assimilate back into the pleasures of the majority (some examples include major league sports, Applebees and Adam Sandler movies).
Hardcore proponents of the concept even argue for its legitimacy as a lifestyle that has its influences in more aspects than just clothing. These full-timers may not only achieve the bland to the bone getup, but also blast the music of normcore icons Mac Demarco, Devonte Hynes (of the group Blood Orange) and James Blake through the shoddy stereo of their 1999 Ford Escort on the ride to TGIFriday’s happy hour.
In a modern world where everything is done for the sake of shock value and novelty, could the blatant obviousness of normcore make for our generation’s most radical, sartorial statement yet?
At the end of the day, one question remains. Is normcore geniusly innovative? One huge joke we’re all in on? Another over-thought attempt to stand out? No matter what the case, it’s managed to catch the attention of stylites and avant garde enthusiasts alike.
Until we get more answers, dare to conform and channel your inner Danny Tanner (guys and girls alike) with some visual tips below.