Meet #normcore: the trend you didn't know you were pioneering until the internet told you. You've surely seen it: the dad jeans, the worn-in 90s t-shirts, the white tube socks with grey New Balance sneakers, and the thousands of regurgitated trend pieces written about them. Turns out, dressing like a normal person has become the chicest thing you can do these days.
Late to the #normcore game? We present to you a timeline of this non-trend's crazy-swift ascension to internet immortality.
(And, yes, writing about normcore is not very normcore — unless, in the wake of all those other think pieces about normcore, it’s extremely normcore?? Ponder on that, ya normie!)
October 2013: Only by embracing our sameness, will we be different once again.
Creative trend forecasters K-HOLE release a report on a cultural movement they refer to as "normcore". K-HOLE asserts that our generation, characterized as it is by artisanal entrepreneurs and a deep distrust of anything classified as too “mainstream”, will “move away from a coolness that relies on difference” because “the most different thing to do is to reject being different all together”. Basically, you can now unironically enjoy a pumpkin spice latte without fear of being judged as basic, because it’s delicious and enjoying delicious things is normal.
February: Fashion is an expression of normcore.
NY Mag’s in-depth feature on the topic hits the internet; the internet latches on. The author comments on the “self-aware, stylized blandness” seen on the traditionally high-fashion fancy folk of downtown Manhattan and crowns Dad-brand jeans and Jerry Seinfeld as the fashion movement's champions.
March: The news cycle storm swells, bellows, and balks.
Publications ranging from the Guardian to Gawker to GQ to Jezebel start to weigh in on the trend, though none are quite sure of its sincerity. Even Newsday tweets about it
, which is probably the most #normcore thing that has happened to date.
Mid-March: The 90s are so internet right now.
jumps on the trend of writing about the trend, but instead of taking the tone of a graduate school Culture and Media course, the publication calls normcore out as just an epic meme. Citing its “ironic appropriation” but acknowledging, paradoxically, that the essence of normcore is its sincerity, the article also addresses normcore’s 90s pop culture influences, like the blandness of Nickelodeon's Doug
and the revival of overalls
. The cyclical tendency of twenty-something trend drivers to yearn for their youth
and channel that into fashion & culture is right on time.
April: The Times is ON IT and now even moms know what normcore is.
The New York Times
does an excellent job of defining the movement, concept, and/or meme and questions normcore’s authenticity (the idea of which is its own meta k-hole), without diminishing its power to bring lamestream media to its cargo-panted knees. Dads everywhere high-five.
Mid-April: The fashion industry mocks itself.
The term is stronger than ever. Watch above as fashion insiders VFiles take on normcore in the latest episode of their satirical web series "Model Files". Downtown personalities get made-under for a fictitious Old Navy photoshoot. It's all a joke, maybe.
Today: A Google search of normcore brings up almost 900,000 results.
Whatever this is— in-joke, cultural concept, or fashion trend
— it’s definitely not going anywhere. For at least another couple weeks, anyway. Retail giants are already capitalizing on the phenomenon with high/low brand collabs like these Opening Ceremony x Teva (?!) sandals, and mall staple Gap knows this is no normal marketing opportunity
The Future: Eventually we will all adopt the non-fashion fashion trend.
Normcore will no longer be a trend, it will simply be what everyone wears, maybe. Ironically, this is the actual definition of normcore.
However, the thing about normcore is that, once you acknowledge it, it’s no longer normcore.... which may just render this entire article #irrelevant.