profile of JAKECLELAND

'Normcore' is the latest stupid hipster trend choking New York

The writer Mark Jacobson once scribbled a profile in the late 70s on Punk pioneer Legs McNeil, in which he detailed Legs's rejection of the alternative culture at the time and willingly embraced mass culture as a form of rebellion. "Television, burgers, drinking, violent behaviour? Well, I love all of that," Legs said. "I appoint liking Hogan's Heroes and McDonald's to be cool."Maybe he was the first hipster to embrace the uncool. Not just the uncool, though: he full-on embraced the normal.

As a phrase, 'normcore' has been kicking around for years, and trend forecasters K-HOLE first properly described (or contrived, if you're uncharitable) the movement back in October, but it's had a resurgence today thanks to this article in New York Magazine. Normcore, to cut right to it, is "The kind of dad-brand non-style you might have once associated with Jerry Seinfeld." Comfortable, neat. "Anti-fashion." At White Night, I saw a girl dressed so functionally that one friend described her as being "the most comfortably dressed person" in a room full of thin young fashionites. I now know that I was looking at normcore.

Says New York Magazine:

By late 2013, it wasn’t uncommon to spot the Downtown chicks you’d expect to have closets full of Acne and Isabel Marant wearing nondescript half-zip pullovers and anonymous denim. Magazines, too, had picked up the look. T noted the “enduring appeal of the Patagonia fleece” as displayed on Patrik Ervell and Marc Jacobs’s runways. Edie Campbell slid into Birkenstocks (or the Céline version thereof) in Vogue Paris. Adidas trackies layered under Louis Vuitton cashmere in Self Service. A bucket hat and Nike slippers framed an Alexander McQueen coveralls in Twin. Smaller, younger magazines like London’s Hot and Cool and New York’s Sex and Garmento, were interested in even more genuinely average ensembles, skipping high-low blends for the purity of head-to-toe normcore.

You get the idea? The less distinct your style, the more stylish you are.

Unbelievably, this story seems to go on forever with examples, and eventually gets spiritual. 

"It’s not about being simple or forfeiting individuality to become a bland, uniform mass,” [K-HOLE's Emily Segal] says. Rather, it’s about welcoming the possibility of being recognizable, of looking like other people—and “seeing that as an opportunity for connection, instead of as evidence that your identity has dissolved.”

Even Gothamist has picked up the story, assembling a gallery of normcore potentials and rating them based on how normcore they really are. 

Well, at least we now have a word to describe that lazy-chic style celebrities seem to pull off coming out of Starbucks or the gym. It's not that they're effortlessly good-looking in whatever they put on. No, y'all, they're just normcore. For the love of all that is sacred though, please remember that no matter how big normcore becomes, you should never, ever, under any circumstances pair socks with sandals. That's too far over the line.

More via NYMag. Below, see proto-normcore icon Zach Galifianakis doing normal guy stuff to a Kanye West song.


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