Basic white T-shirts. Comfortable shoes. Schleppy hoodies. Bland cargo pants. No, I’m not taking about Mark Zuckerberg‘s meh sartorial choices, I’m describing normcore — the unisex fashion trend which has gone viral. Coined by the New York-based trend forecasting group, K-Hole, normcore is characterized by wearing unpretentious and average-looking wardrobe staples. “Normcore is an unfashionable fashion trend. It’s somewhat of a Middle America truck driver look — think baseball caps, white tees, sneakers, khakis, ripped jeans. It’s comfortable, ‘sensible,’ boring and no-effort dressing,” Miami-based Stylist Elysze Held says.
So congrats, average American citizen, you’re cool! No, really. The trend’s genesis has been interpreted as a reaction to fashion oversaturation resulting from ever faster-changing fashion trends. “Perhaps it started as a backlash of sorts — as in being ‘anti-Street Style,’ a look which can be found in the highly curated, perfectly accessorized looks omnipresent in photographer Bill Cunningham’s popular Street Style photos. Maybe it started with Mark Zuckerberg and his hoodie! Either way, the attitude says, ‘I’m too cool to care about clothes, or fashion. I want to be comfortable and I don’t care what’s in style,’” Held says of the influence’s ethos.
Don’t be fooled though, nailing the straightforward trend isn’t exactly as easy as it seems (talk about a paradox!). In fact, a solid normcore look is just as meticulously edited and thought-out as the very street style clichés snapped by Cunningham. Just think stylized blandness. “Normcore is layers and layers of boring pieces consisting of sneakers, Birkenstocks, Addidas ‘shower sandals,’ white T-shirts, bulky cable knit sweaters, faded jeans with rips and even logo tees from Disney and McDonald’s. Again, it’s a highly stylized no-style look,” Held adds.
Confused? Try channeling an L.L. Bean catalog. Dabble in some North Face sweaters, Old Navy cargo pants, Nike sandals or Addidas white sneakers. Bust out some Hanes tees. According to K-Hole, normcore seeks the freedom that comes with non-exclusivity. It finds liberation in being nothing special, and realizes that adaptability leads to belonging.
So embrace President Obama-like dad jeans. Uproot those Gap chino pants. Bring on the Fruit of the Loom tanks. Exhume those Teva sandals from the depths of your closet. Afterall, it’s what all the cool kids are doing. Me? The above photos are as normcore as I can get. Lame!
Photos by Emma del Rey/Written for The Miami Herald and Miami.com