Alright, so here goes. Last week, my colleague, fellow writer/style advocate and complete polar opposite (though I love her to pieces and would defend her to the end), Liz Vogt wrote a tactfully crafted, wit-filled piece, dissecting the latest craze in fashion that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon and wearing her voice loud and proud for all to hear. Now, I’m not here to tear down her argument or call out anyone’s opinion or start a fight in any way shape or form. I just felt that, there was a side to normcore’s story that wasn’t being taken into consideration and I wanted to express the hidden core values of normcore, in true #WYV fashion.
I’ve definitely been a strong advocate of normcore from the very beginning. Mainly because I had noticed a shift in my own style at the time. I was reverting from the usual overtly different and “out there” and avante garde because… It had almost seemed played out. Counter culture had become mainstream, and there felt like no way to stand out anymore.
This, for me anyway, was the birth of normcore. A lot of people seem to be under this impression that the irony is meant to be antagonistic (and even more people seem to think that this trend has a lot to do with Seinfeld for some reason unbenounced to me) and a mockery of the middle class and the style inept. But that’s really not how I saw it at all.
Normcore is a celebration of the normal, the average, the basic, the fundamentals. It sheds a positive light on the median in the spectrum that has been turned into a rigid binary we see between castes. It cooly combines comfort and style. Functional, frumpy and fashionable. What more can you really ask for?
Normcore isn’t taking away self expression or trying to limit you to a mundane, mediocre trope in fashion like some would have you believe. It’s celebrating the unsung staples that have made modern fashion what it is today. These are the styles that represent the melting pot of the working class man and woman in a time of progression (Ahhh the 90s *sigh*). Normcore puts the classics on a pedestal and pays homage to them in a simplistically purist fashion: with a head-to-toe ensemble that’s as timeless as modern day style itself. When do you ever truly see a basic, well crafted tennis shoe. Or a simple denim jacket, or white button up, or comfy sweater. These are perfect examples of the quintessential classic that has become a canvas and muse, molded and evolved by different designers and fabricators over the course of modern times. Stripping all those layers away and taking the garment for what it is and was meant to be is taking fashion to an entirely new level of appreciation. Going back to basics is appreciating, how monsieur Saint Laurent would put it, eternal style.
Normcore to me meant that I could be fashionable without the finances. (Not that having your finances shouldn’t be a priority, because they should.) I could go to the thrift store and find an old, Hanes sweatshirt, pair it with some light wash denim mom jeans and Nikes and be considered on trend AND genuinely look good at the same time. How is that not a step in the right direction? Seeing inclusivity, accessibility and relatability in a traditionally elitist and exclusionary culture that’s generally bred from fashion industry standards just doesn’t seem like a bad thing to me.
True, designers will try to imitate the trend and rebrand the image and make good money off of it (like, fashion gentrification, or something) but that doesn’t affect me necessarily. Yes, I will covet it, and hold it to a higher standard because of it’s title and prestige, but that’s just the fashion world. God, that’s humanity in a nutshell for you if you want to get really introspective.
My world comprises of my own style, and I seek inspiration within the fashion world but, I also see it in my day to day life. And for me, that’s normcore: a classic case of life imitating art and doing so with humor, style and truth.