normcore fashion

No Joke: Normcore Fashion Is Alive and Well!


When a fashion statement called “normcore” is suddenly usurped by an abrasive trend called “warcore” it makes you wonder if these are all just passing fads.

If you’re an aspiring fashionista or someone looking to get a jumpstart on your wardrobe, the last thing you want to do is go chasing after fads. Fads fade and change and are generally cyclical, so you’ll never have a wardrobe built to last.

Thankfully, normcore fashion is based on tried-and-true classics, a timeless foundation. Let’s take an in-depth look at the fashion movement, so you can decide if it’s for you!

Normcore: The Inside Joke

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of normcore fashion, a lot of people wonder if it’s all just a joke. The word itself is a portmanteau of “normal” and “hardcore.” This is a device often used in various subcultures and subgenres of music.

The idea is you simply take the word of a general concept – in this case, normality – and mash it up with the word core. This leads some people to assume normcore is nothing but a joke, making fun of the portmanteau of seemingly unrelated ideas.

Trend forecasting group K-Hole even wrote a fake report all about the philosophy of this so-called fashion statement. The gist of the report is that the trend is about recognizing, embracing, and celebrating the normalcy and “basicness” of an average life.

It’s not necessarily about minimalism (as is so popular in everything from interior design to art). Instead, it’s about finding freedom and empowerment by embracing basic statistics: you’re one of over 7 billion people in the world.

There’s a certain amount of liberation in accepting the fact that you’re part of a collective, a series of communities. When everyone is busy falling over themselves to pursue uniqueness and individuality, normcore runs in the opposite direction.

When it comes to fashion, this means that a normcore follower understands that fashion trends are fleeting. You’ll always be one step behind the new “now,” so instead, you cling to the median.

So, whether purposefully or by chance, normcore struck a nerve with the idea of timeless and simplistic fashion trends.

Normcore: The Tenants

When you expand your wardrobe into a den of normcore classics, you need to follow a few basic and simple tenants:

  • Clothes should be functional
  • Clothes should be comfortable
  • Clothes should cover the basics
  • Clothes should not be plastered with logos and brands
  • Clothes should be unisex
  • Clothes can be fashionable

That last tenant is actually pretty important.

When reading the tenants, you may have a certain image locked in your brain: a bland, unfashionable person who doesn’t care about their appearance. But this isn’t true.

When a person embraces regular clothes, it doesn’t automatically mean that they are not fashionable or don’t understand basic fashion principles. You shouldn’t look bad just because you like plain clothing.

Normcore clothing can look good, and different items should still work well with each other in regard to shape, style, and color palettes. The biggest difference here, though, is that you should prioritize things like functionality and comfort.

Normcore: The Clothing

So, after reading some of this, are you still confused?

Here, we’ll share with you some general examples or ideas that might help you visualize what normcore is. Some examples might include:

  • 90s fashion
  • The cast of Seinfeld
  • GAP clothing
  • Eileen Fisher clothing
  • New Balance tennis shoes
  • etc.

Nobody is saying you need to dress like Jerry Seinfeld and get a pseudo-perm, faux-mullet haircut, but at least maybe you have an idea?

The name of the game here is basics! You want to make sure you have all your grounds covered and that no one piece overshadows the other.

Normcore Jeans

Jeans are a big part of the normcore fashion style. Rather than adopting typical dark wash skinny jeans that are so popular in the early- to mid-2000s, your jeans should be looser.

They don’t need to be baggy – a’la Jnco jeans style – but they should…well…fit. They shouldn’t be too baggy or too skinny, and instead of opting for extremely dark jeans, people often opt for light wash jeans.

Normcore Shoes

What about shoes? Ultimately, shoes should be comfortable and practical, which is why New Balance and Adidas are such popular choices.

Rather than chasing the latest boot trends you simply need to find what’s comfortable and gets the job done.

Normcore Watches

Watches are a great way for anyone to accessorize, and that’s still true with normcore fashion. But unlike the large, gaudy, blingy watches of modern times, you want to choose something simplistic and readable.

Hamilton Khaki watches are probably the most perfect example of a normcore-friendly watch. These field watches are simple with large numerals, fewer complications, and very legible faces.

They aren’t overly branded with logos and words, and they excel in their simple functionality of telling you the day and time.

Normcore Shirts

T-Shirts! They’re comfy, they’re simple, and graphic tees can give you that much-needed flair if the bland concept of normcore is just a little too much.

Button-downs are certainly doable when considering regular clothes, but make sure you choose plain colors. Avoid loud patterns, logos, brands, etc.

Ultimately, this isn’t a fashion statement to the formal workplace.

Normcore Outerwear

What about when it’s a bit chilly outside? You can’t get away with just a t-shirt or a short-sleeve button-down. In this case, think about plain grey sweatshirts.

Champs sweats and hoodies are perfect examples. It doesn’t mean they’re your only options, but they’re basic, simple, and functional.

If you need to add a little more style, consider overcoats, rain jackets, and bomber jackets. They’re fine as long as they have simple patterns (or none at all) and perhaps look a bit like what you’d wear to a baseball game in 1997.

Embracing the Simple and Average

In a world of fast fashion that seems to change every other month, it can be difficult keeping your wardrobe up to date. It’s a lot of pressure and it’s a big reason why there are so many people that hate fashion in the first place.

Enter normcore, the fashion principle that prioritizes comfort and functionality over loudness and individuality. If the idea of comfort excites you, check out how comfortable linen beach pants fit into wedding apparel!


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