On Normcore (and why I think it’s bull)

Song of the day: Mis-Shapes, Pulp
Atm I am reading: Wuthering Heights (Out on the wiley, windy moors…)

A plain beige coat, a white jumper, black trousers, and slip-on sandals. The clothes of a person who doesn’t care about fashion? Or the outfit of a ‘normcore’ devotee? Oh, but what is normcore, dear, wise Laura? Well, children, normcore is, according to the ever trustworthy Urban Dictionary:

“A subculture based on conscious, artificial adoption of things that are in widespread use, proven to be acceptable, or otherwise inoffensive. Ultra-conformists.”

Normcore as interpreted by DKNY for NYFW.

Y’see, normcore is dressing for practicality. It’s the act of deconstructing fashion, to reverting back to a time before trends. In short, it’s boring. I know it sounds fab. Dressing in comfortable clothes without giving a damn how you look, but that’s not really the essence of normcore. It’s the aesthetics, yes, but it’s not the attitude. Normcore dictates that an outfit must be meticulously pieced together with the intention to look bland. Yes. Bland. Your aim is to not stand out. You want to look like your middle-aged mum who is partaking on a quick trip to ASDA, or your sensible dad in his old light-wash jeans that he wear for a walk down the canal.
Gone is the glittery gorgeousness of Autumn/Winter 2013 and the pretty pastels of Spring 2014. This is a trend for the cool kids who are popular enough not to need to stand out. Think the new hipster trend of 2014; the whole normcore culture is dripping in faux irony. 

Michael Kors, the apparent king of normcore.

However, my main gripe with normcore is not its utter drabness (though that does irk me endlessly, but who am I to criticise another’s fash choices?). It’s the implication that there is a ‘norm’. To me, normcore denotes everything that the ‘be yourself’ mantra does not. After all, the objective of normcore is to blend in. Well, for some people that isn’t the easiest pill to swallow. All of it rings of when a celebrity is lauded for their ‘laid-back’ off-duty style of baggy jeans and a blouse. But…why is it so smashing for a rich woman to wear these clothes? The class argument is addressed in this wonderful article by Cat Smith for The Style Con, as is the topic of physical disability and its representation. Like the article says, blending in is a privilege. Personally, I find that the whole trend smacks of mocking the working class. It reminds me of that girl with a thirst for knowledge from Pulp’s Common Peoplewho desires to “live like common people”. Most people wear ‘normcore’ clothes because they’re what they can afford. It is not a fashion statement, it’s a class statement. A middle-class person opting for these clothes as a fashion choice is akin to ‘slumming it’.

Of course, I appreciate the ease and cheapness with which one can emulate this trend, should they so wish. To each their own, I suppose. Sometimes people want to follow trends because, in the end, fashion offers a fantasy. Even if normcore isn’t particularly imaginative.
What do you think? Is normcore an ableist, classist, boring statement? Or am I just taking the latest catwalk trend a little too seriously? 

IN OTHER NEWS: Today I saw The Fault In Our Stars! Ahh, it was so perfectly true to the book! Hazel, Augustus and Isaac were just normal teenagers who thought they could take the world, just like in the book. Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort were beautiful. Ansel’s facial expressions were just heartbreaking to the point where they became real. Despite this though, I didn’t cry. I know, I know! I’m heartless. I swear I was on the precipice, but I just couldn’t quite manage it. Funny, I really thought I would considering how almost every other film reduces me to a weeping wreck (Especially About Time…sob). 
I also attended a UCAS fair at Sheffield Motorpoint arena, which very nearly did cause me to cry as it hit me that I have no future. Ah well. There will always be Pulp and cats.

Laura xx


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