Suffering Style Exhaustion? Try “Normcore”

Jslow, going "Normcore" a few Halloweens' back. Always the trend setter!

Jslow, going “Normcore” a few Halloweens’ back. Always the trend-setter!

Talk about waving the white flag in the face of fashion.

A new term has been coined, “Normcore,” that describes a supposed fashion movement away from labels and trends, towards the lack of labels and embrace of the nondescript . From the New York Times:

Normcore (noun) 1. A fashion movement, c. 2014, in which scruffy young urbanites swear off the tired street-style clichés of the last decade — skinny jeans, wallet chains, flannel shirts — in favor of a less-ironic (but still pretty ironic) embrace of bland, suburban anti-fashion attire. (See Jeans, mom. Sneakers, white.)

2. A sociocultural concept, c. 2013, having nothing to do with fashion, that concerns hipster types learning to get over themselves, sometimes even enough to enjoy mainstream pleasures like football along with the rest of the crowd.

3. An Internet meme that turned into a massive in-joke that the news media keeps falling for.

Seinfeld, a show about nothing, style by Normcore.

Seinfeld, a show about nothing, style by Normcore.

The Times article continues, “As envisioned by its creators, “normcore” was not a fashion trend, but a broader sociological attitude. The basic idea is that young alternative types had devoted so much energy to trying to define themselves as individuals, through ever-quirkier style flourishes like handlebar mustaches or esoteric pursuits like artisanal pickling, that they had lost the joy of belonging that comes with being part of the group. Normcore was about dropping the pretense and learning to throw themselves into, without detachment, whatever subcultures or activities they stumbled into, even if they were mainstream.”

I get the liberation that comes from throwing your hands in the air and saying, “screw- it, I just don’t care what anyone thinks, I’m too tired and too poor to stress and spend my way to cool”.

Yet, for me, the opposite is true: Normal scares the crap out of me.

I have spent a life running away from normal. I grew up in the most normal places of all, Fremont, California, in a normal suburban tract house, raised by pretty normal parents with normal professions (teachers) and normal values. Yet I never felt normal, never felt I fit in. I guess it’s no surprise that the idea of joining a college sorority was a no-fly zone. Sports bars and flash-mobs, same thing.

Wearing normal clothes from normal department stores has always made me uncomfortable; As a teen I’d chop my sleeves and ric-rac my hems, and scour thrift stores for vintage pieces no one had. I still do all of this, sans ric-rac. Jslow always laughs when I try something on — something perfect, tailored, clean — and all I can think of is what to cut and where to rip.

So sorry Normcore, I’m not buying what you’re selling.

I’m not normal, don’t want to be normal, want to flee normal.

Who’s with me?

2 Responses


    Hey Ladies – I am with you all the way – been reading your blog for months – love it !!!!. Just about to turn 50 this year and fashion /clothes addict with lashings of wit on the side – keep up the great work with the blog . I am a very picky person – very few ‘blogs’ that I like/read – yours is supercool and superfunny 🙂 Rosie – in Bondi Beach, Australia – I have only my photos/stories on flickr as my website 🙂

    1. Paula

      Rosie! Wow, your comment made our day! Thanks so much for taking the time to write, and we are thrilled you like our blog. We haven’t been writing lately as we’re in the middle of a site upgrade to make it better and more useful, so please stay tuned. And if there is any topic you’d like us to cover that you think would be of interest to you, please let us know! By the way, I’ve been lucky to have visited Australia and Bondi Beach, what a beautiful place to live! Thanks again. xoxoxo

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