Is #normcore is an absolute abstinence from fashion or an interestingly disguised influx of it?
Is it, as described by Sean Monahan of K-HOLE, the New York-based trend forecasting group that coined the term, a “desire to be blank"?
Or is it just a desire to appear as if you desire to be blank?
Or is it, maybe, both?
It's an apparent movement in which I, admittedly, seem to have joined in. Unflattering boyfriend jeans, saggy t-shirts, unkempt hair, bad 90s jewelry – they’re now all part of my daily wardrobe- a wardrobe that, to many living in my city, must seem pretty grungy.
Which is, I guess, exactly the point.
So, it seems that the best way to understand this trend (which I at first had assumed was a series of individually "ironic" trends but now due to a friend's Tweet realize may be in itself a cohesive movement) would be for me to analyze my own motivations for participating.
And if I'm honest, I'm dressing this way for 2 reasons:
1. I saw it on blogs and thought it looked really new & effortless & cool.
2. I love that it makes people here see me as someone who doesn’t think too hard about fashion.
Which is strange. Because all at once I’m chasing both a desire to be cool (to the people I care about) and one to be invisible (to the people I don't).
I love that this way of dressing aligns me with the people I want to be aligned with while simultaneously sort of shielding me from the scrutiny of those that won’t understand. Wisconsinites uninterested in fashion won’t immediately judge me for dressing up, because, well, I have 10000 holes in my jeans and snags in my t-shirts,
but anyone who’s mildly aware of recent street style sensations will appreciate my mom sneakers and dad plaid.
So, after all of that, my non-revolutionary conclusion is that "Normcore" is, in essence, simply a routine anti-trend.
Or "trend", if we're being honest.
It separates me from some while aligning me with others - just like the torn jeans and miniskirts before it.
It's a quintessential rebellion against what's grown to be mainstream.
Which, truthfully, makes me feel cliche and boring for having bought into it.
It's only natural that our impassioned interest in obsessive individuality (everyone w/ their own blog), hyper brand awareness (outfit deets), unlimited uniqueness (find your niche!), and signature viral pieces ("COLLAGE" & "KENZO" sweatshirts, wedge sneakers, fancy label sunglasses, etc) would meet its (inverse) match in the form of the opposite.
It's only happened a billion times before
(see every "revolutionary" trend ever)
And soon, just like generations before, the lack of style synonymous with "normcore" will become just as “overstyled” as the trends against which normcore once rebelled, and gaudy over-the-top fashions will probably explode to fight the banality that once served the same fickle purpose- to stand out while simultaneously fitting in. . . the real role of a successful trend.
Which is what "normcore" is,
an antitrend-cum-trend with a hashtag.
Less of a movement and more of a routine fashion cycle.
So, I suppose that the real story here (talk about burying the lead) is about why this particular trend has become such an internet meme, when so many others have been left to propagate organically?
What if we gave a hashtag and a catchy name to every social occurrence? Would the same thing happen?
I only wish I'd been confident enough in my own style to remain unswayed by the hype.
Alas, that's maturation for ya.
|jeans: NSF via iona, t-shirt: vintage via Good Style Shop, shoes: Windsor Smith|
Photos by Matt Engelhart