Normcore – from a state of mind to a super current trend

A man with a stubby beard, a light-colored blouse and a jacket with earphones in his ears holds a smartphone leaning against a railing on a terrace, a glass wall and part of a natural landscape can be seen in the background.

The fashion imposed by Steve Jobs is has a women's version

Eight years after normcore became a runner-up in the Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year (it lost to “vape”, which means inhaling vapour from an e-cigarette), it’s time to unravel its surprisingly complex meaning because it’s mentioned over and over again. Does anyone know exactly its meaning and in what strange variations it evolves?

Rejection of extravagance

Normcore literally means “normal inside” – a person who wears neutral, boring, inconspicuous and unfashionable clothes. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is said to be the emblem of the trend. The famous entrepreneur’s wardrobe was full of dozens of identical black polo sweaters and dozens of identical pairs of frayed jeans, because he didn’t want to be distracted by the thought of what to wear. He wore the same thing every day as another billionaire – Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg always wears a gray or dark blue T-shirt.

Legs, photographed from the knees down, wearing dark blue jeans, light socks and black and white sneakers, stepping on asphalt.
Photo: Unsplash

Banality as a second essence

A plaid shirt, like a Canadian lumberjack from the last century, a t-shirt in pale colors, the most ordinary sneakers a sports jacket, like the one your father wears for fishing, no tuxedos, ties and bow ties, but obligatory white socks. It seems that there is nothing more banal. Normcore man does not experiment with appearance, because he does not strive to stand out in order to be an individualist – he supposedly wears the first thing that comes to his mind.

A description of the “fashion of the new rich” in 2013 is given by the trend forecasting agency K-Hole. But even before that, in 2008, normcore came into use and its creator is considered to be the cartoonist Ryan Estrada, who mentions it in a web comic as part of a new subculture.

A man, photographed from the back, wearing an orange woolen hat, long blond hair, a black sweater stands in front of wide white blinds on a window.
Photo: Unsplash

Unisex and ambiguous

Normcore is one of the ambiguous terms that is rapidly gaining immense popularity. Something like a joke out of control that everyone laughs at – just like everyone shouts at a football game, even if they don’t understand the rules, but simply because they are involved in the game. Something like a state of mind that finds expression in everyday clothing. There is no place for watches with a diamond dial, but for football hats.

The trend quickly and paradoxically became unisex. Paradoxically, because no woman would want to look like one of the crowd, dress boringly and show a sense of belonging to a group, everyone wants to be unique. But normcore gives peculiar opportunities for uniqueness: with an old model phone with a cap, a retro blouse with pence on the body, inserted into slouchy jeans, sneakers in combination with a formal coat in the style of “tourist chic”.

A young woman wearing a beige sweater, a blue short jacket, hands in the pockets of blue jeans stands leaning against a white column and smiling in an office setting.
Photo: Unsplash

The style that has no claim to be a style

6-7 years ago, fashion magazines declared normcore dead, but not only did they hurry, and no one paid attention to them, on the contrary – we are witnessing a new tidal wave of style that has no claim to be a style. Even world-famous brands have populated their collections with clothes that lack brilliance and logomania – comfortable, practical, without a hint of luxury, designed to fit in, not stand out.

To keep up with this aesthetic, remember what you wore during your school trip in the 90’s, remember your mother’s vintage blouses, which you vowed never to touch, and look for their alternatives.


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