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Not Normcore


I spend too much time online. A frequent question from friends/family/new acquaintances is: how much time do you spend online working? The answer generally is "I don't know" or if I'm feeling mildly amusing a quick "too much." The truth is I hardly time myself and from writing one article to reading another to randomly browsing Tumblr many days it's easier to calculate the few brief hours I'm not at my computer. I tend to not even realize how much information I've been absorbing (which run the gamut from genuinely interesting to completely banal waste of brain space) until I bring up something in conversation and realize from blank stares that what I thought was common knowledge was actually obscure--mentioned in one or two articles and made an impression on me but relatively unimportant to the rest of the world. My latest fascination: Normcore is one such Internet phenom few people off the web for healthy amounts of time seem to be talking about. The first article seems to have appeared in February and the subsequent pieces are rather reactionary. Normcore is "fashion for people who realize they're one in seven billion" "embracing sameness and blending in." In style terms it's very plain clothes with a 90s influence. People who subscribe seek ardently ordinary clothes--you might look like a Seinfeld character or the stereotypical white sneakered tourist. Of course this "style isn't important, plain clothes rule" mentality is just as shallow as those who seek the latest designer handbag. The brands are still important, labels matter (even if they're occasionally cheaper labels) and it isn't about price or ethical consciousness (i.e. thrift shopping) but a very dull image. Your sweatpants could be Chanel and cost thousands of dollars, just make sure they're plain and pair them with your latest TopshopxAdidas collab sneakers. It's another fashion movement that pretends to not care about clothes or fashion, by a group of people who are actually obsessed with how they present themselves to the world, acquiring a veritable uniform of bland clothes. That pretension is what bothers me the most: wear boring clothes all you want, but let's not pretend that because you're in a track pants and sneakers you're somehow less obsessed with appearance than a girl in a dress. It's also the prerogative of people who already exercise privilege to not care how they are represented--you aren't as likely to be seen as a "lazy slob" in Normcore if you meet our society's other standards for beauty. So yeah, Normcore...I definitely don't see my style going in that direction.

14 comments:

jamie said...

My favorite description of normcore is "how your dad would dress in the 90s" because my dad totally wore those things. When I first heard about normcore, I honestly thought it was a joke, like something The Onion made up. I guess it is a real thing now? Lol

~K said...

Such a funny word. Although, it makes me feel fashionable in my everyday work wear with my jeans and tee ;)

Mary H said...

Geez yes everything you said. I first saw that word on twitter a few months ago and didn't know what it was but refused to look it up because it seemed so stupid. Somehow, it's meaning and context still came into my brain despite trying to avoid it, probably because I also spend too much time online...though I intentionally avoid most sites that would talk about something as dumb as normcore (not including your site in this group btw). Anyway, the people who pretend so much to not care about what they're wearing while really really caring about specific labels and crafting "a look" don't even seem to get the irony there. I mean, they think they're being ironic by not subscribing to "fashion" but they are actually just jumping on the bandwagon of the latest clothing trend, so...But whatever, people can wear anything they want. But I'd love it if they stopped coming up with dumb names to describe every ridiculous "fashion moment." Also, I'd really like it if people stopped saying fashion moment. Haha.

Michelle Volansky said...

Oh god, Rebecca, you articulated my feelings on normcore so much more succinctly than I ever could! I totally agree. I mostly think it's a funny trend and enjoy joking about it--My bf and I had a fun night out at a bar debating how normcore each person we saw was--but it's totally pretentious and way more concerned with sending a message than I ever am in my sequins and frilly dresses! Just another way to judge people and act like caring about what you look like is uncool, when that's exactly what they're doing.

Rhiannon Lorenzo said...

love this so much!

http://www.modernsuburbanites.blogspot.com/2014/04/clorox-ick-awards.html

Miche said...

Totally agree, I've been seeing Normcore being talked about more and more lately (and why). In honestly, it seems like ultimate hipsterism, which if fine, if that's how you want to dress and act, cool, but don't act like you're above everyone else because of it. /rant. Anyway, great post, I hope this trend doesnt pick up, fashion is such an incredible avenue for self expression, I'd hate for people to totally forget that..

AnnaMarie said...

Hmm... I've never heard of Normcore but I understand what you are saying. Yeah, it doesn't make much sense that they are claiming that they don't care about appearance or fashion if they want special brands. I can not imagine only buying from certain stores because 1. some are just way out of my budget and 2. I really enjoy variety. I really enjoyed your outfit! It nice and clean but really feminine. I wish I could wear dresses and skirts everyday. I would really like wearing more girly clothes. Have a nice day!

AnnaMarie said...

Hmm... I've never heard of Normcore but I understand what you are saying. Yeah, it doesn't make much sense that they are claiming that they don't care about appearance or fashion if they want special brands. I can not imagine only buying from certain stores because 1. some are just way out of my budget and 2. I really enjoy variety. I really enjoyed your outfit! It nice and clean but really feminine. I wish I could wear dresses and skirts everyday. I would really like wearing more girly clothes. Have a nice day!

Yours Truly, Freckle Face said...

Hilarious! I agree 100% with your take on normcore! I think I will respond to people (usually wearing sweatpants) who ask me why I "dress up" to take a peak at that blog.

Nina said...

I heard Normcore discussed on NPR, and it was such an interesting discussion as the people who'd heard of it tried to describe what it was to those who hadn't.

My feeling? A bemused "Live and let live". If that's their idea of fashion, then it has just as much validity as mine. Not my cup o' tea, but then MY idea of fashion is clearly not their idea of fashion. The world's big enough for all of us.
:D

larkspurshoppe said...

Yes! finally somebody said it. To be honest, I didn't even realize this style had a title, I just kept seeing these outfits, and this way of presenting yourself in a "i couldn't care less" kind of way all over the internet/instagram and it was driving me insane. I totally agree, wear whatever you like, but don't purport disinterest in fashion, when sporting your birkenstocks means as much to you as a pair of louboutins does to a high-end fashionista.

Lonka said...

I love this project, photographing in a library seems a great idea!

Nikki Williams said...

that skirt is gorgeous!

xxoo,
nikki

www.dreaminneon.blogspot.com

Kristin said...

The article seems to think that it takes more time to dress in clothes you find flattering and fun than in clothes prescribed by them. It really doesn't take that much time to throw on one or even two more layers...and does no one realize that mindless conformity is absolutely creepy? I find it shocking that anyone is trying to push conformity and people are buying into it. Is this what American democracy brings us? The desire to have *less* independence, even in such mundane things as what we put on our bodies?