Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hard core Normcore?

You may have figured out I am trying to open discussion on some of the fashion trends we are seeing today. I love fashion and love to read about it. I cruise all the newspapers I get at work for each morsel. I sometimes find it all shallow, sometimes very provocative and sometimes what the heck. But I like it all and hope you don't mind my sharing these thoughts with you, dear readers.

Yesterdays' conversation was really interesting and I really want to thank all who commented and the way they thoughtfully handled opposing points of view. Whenever I see conversations like that I learn so much and feel better informed. Thank you for that too.

The next fashion trend that I have been reading about a lot is "normcore". The first time I heard the term I was mystified. As I read and learned more I began to realize this is no trend and has existed for years on the American fashion landscape. I mean, how old is that picture of Jerry and the gang? 

From what I have read and seen "normcore" is , from my vista, being as unobtrusive as possible with your fashion "look". It's a blending in with the mob. And personally I think it is pretty boring.  Think Mark Zuckerberg and his never absent hoodies, the late Steve Jobs and the black  turtlenecks. It's people in old jeans, old sneakers, hoodies, and what I would even go so far as to call Dad Jeans. There is lots of grey so the clothes just sort of fade into the woodwork.  They are don't notice me clothes. This is a trend? Maybe for the rich and famous who traditionally leaned more toward couture level garments.  For them this could be a change of style but for the rest of us plebes this style of dress has been around a  loooooooong  time. Think of any college campus you have been to in the last, yikes, fifty plus years. Heck, those campuses were the embryos of the normcore look. 

Vogue News has a great article about normcore which really sums it up like this, "in fashion terms, normcore is all about anonymous, detail free design".  Doesn't sound like much fun sewing that! Actually, this is a real non sewing look, unless you make your own sweatshirts, white tees, and faded  baggy jeans. Where are the bound buttonholes, the bright digital prints, the 20 piece sheath patterns, the stuff sewing addicts enjoy? 


True, an anorak like the jacket above can be a real challenge to make but give me some color, embellishment, or pattern to wake the dang thing up. I guess we get to match plaids in flannel shirts too. That requires skill but wear a neat scarf, hike up that collar, give that shirt some panache. It can be done. But then it wouldn't be normcore. 

What I like about normcore: it is comfy if nothing else. It appears to use tried and true quality garments, those backbone pieces that we just have to own. Take the normcore out of our closets and they will probably be half empty. I think we all have a sub wardrobe of normcore garments. We just accessorize them and give them less ambiguity but they are there. 

What I don't like about normcore: It's been done forever and really not a trend for most of us. It's BORING. I really don't like boring clothes. I don't like sewing them or wearing them. And to be a true normcorist these basics are out of cashmere, fine woolens, Japanese denims, all top quality textiles. Hmmmm, maybe I should put that one into the What I like paragraph. 


Even those Olsen girls are going Normcore. I do love the shoes and white socks. That took a lot of courage or some very cold feet. Nah, still not for me......except maybe on Fridays when I put the trash out. 

Do you agree with me that this is nothing new, pretty boring, and will probably be around forever? That this may just be  a new look for those who could dress much more expensively and with more style? My tired inquisitive mind wants to know........Bunny

21 comments:

  1. As far as I'm, concerned, it's all Drag...whether it's Twee or Normcore or anything in between or outside those perameters. We can dress how we want, when we want but we need to be cognizant of the effect we're having on others. Clothing and our look does make a difference in how people react to us whether we like it or not.

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  2. Hey, now I can say my lack of fashion makes me fashionable after all. I was normcore before there was normcore!

    I do have a plain style (I call it minimalism in my more pretentious moments), but I still love to sew. I do it not for the bound buttonholes and prints, but because I want clothes that fit perfectly, and are made out of beautiful (albeit solid, dark, muted) fabrics. Cotton, wool, silk, oh my! Maybe someday I'll spend the time to put in more detail into my sewn wardrobe, but for now I'm happy knowing it's uber-comfortable because it's made for me from the most gorgeous fabrics I can find.

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  3. The Olsens aren't Normcore. They are elegant and understated and their clothes are made with luxury fabrics and well made. I consider Normcore fashion for people who don't care about fashion. They're just getting dressed for the day, which is fine. At least Normcore is better than the "ugly clothes" trend of the 90s. I can't find it, but Vogue once ran a photo of Shalom Harlow in the ugliest yellow print shirt I've ever seen. The point appeared to be that only a staggeringly beautiful woman could get away such a look. Sarah Silverman has sported the look in the past.

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  4. I prefer normcore to the 'cover yourself in as many obvious logos/brands as you possibly can' look I see on so many (mostly young) people.
    William Gibson has a character is a couple of his books (Pattern Recognition is one) who is allergic to brands/logos/mascots. He's said that after he wrote this character he received a lot of feedback from the sewing community. I was pleased - I found myself muttering more than once 'why doesn't she just learn to sew' when the character was busily grinding the logo off the button on a pair of jeans...

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  5. I think you really nailed it when you said that we all have a sub wardrobe of normcore garments. There are some days when wearing an anonymous oufit comprised entirely of forgettable basics just feels right. To do so all the time though would be so boring.

    In my opinion, the main problem with the normcore trend is how many people end up leaving out the fine fabrics in favor of cheaper options. They end up saying things like "went should I pay $300 for a plain black sweater when I can get one for $30 somewhere else?" It leads to entire cities clad in cheap, faded cotton sweaters, probably covered by fleece hoodies because cotton sweaters aren't that warm. It isn't pretty. At least with some of the dressier trends, when they go through the process of becoming mainstream, there's usually something redeeming left.

    One exception to my hatred of this trend is boys clothes. If you take away the option of having a clean, detail free look from young boys, the options you are left with are frightening. Color-blocked shirts, jeans with more seams than fabric, weird gimmicks like track pants with zip-off legs, head to toe logos, or my personal least favorite, cartoon character embellished clothing. For my 5 and 9 year old boys, I will gladly match plaids, make 10 black t shirts in a row, keep the topstitching on the dark wash jeans perfectly straight, and knit sweaters in all kinds of unexciting neutral colors if it means avoiding the wretched alternatives out there.

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  6. I suppose that "normcore" is better than "grunge"! Even though I sew lots of basics for myself, I don't consider that "normcore". Everybody needs basics and the challenge is to do them well and have a good fit, even if it is only a t-shirt. Many now purchase what I call disposable clothes -- cheaply made (in a land far, far away) and destined to hardly last for one season. Anyway, back to "normcore". I can't believe it is even called a trend. To me, it is just sloppy.

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  7. I love to dress totally anonymously on those days when it just isn't worth the investment in time to put together an outfit: just well-fitting jeans, a basic tee and a woolly jumper (it's winter in Sydney) and I'm set for the day. I didn't know it had a name! Great to be outside the fashions storm, and besides, it's getting more difficult the older I get. Even on a good day I sometimes wear all light grey, because I like it. Still enjoy sewing and love buying gorgeous colourful fabrics of different weights and textures, but just not every day!

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  8. Ugh, I hate it when unfashion becomes fashion. I am terrible at sewing basics- they're just no fun and so they languish in my to be made pile. I have learned that I have absolutely no problem with being overdressed. Once again, great article!

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  9. Love the discussion! I'm in Ottawa, Ontario (not too far from you, I think) and I often listen to CBC radio while sewing. There was a discussion of normcore a few days ago and you may be interested in listening to it-- http://www.cbc.ca/q/blog/2014/05/13/normcore-and-the-death-of-cool/

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    1. I love CBC and listen often. You are right, I am not far from Ottawa at all. I will listen to the link when I get home. Thanks so much, Thimblegirl.

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  10. Michael Kors is the king of "normcore". A fashion designer in the same black T. It apparently works for him.

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  11. I love all your discussions and you and everyone else are certainly entitled to their opinions. I think the only instance where I question opinions is when the attitude seems to be "my way of dressing is the correct way". It would be so utterly boring if everyone dressed "correctly". For some people, clothing is nothing more than the essentials of covering the body. Steve Jobs certainly had more important things on his mind than what he would wear on any particular day. Some people don't give a rat's patootie about what they or anyone else is wearing. A little tolerance, please.

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  12. I probably should add that after years of having to wear business suits I now thoroughly enjoy dressing colorfully (most of the time, tastefully,) and wear lots of jewelry. Normcore just isn't me because I love textiles and color too much.

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  13. I suppose it was only a matter of time before non-fashion/basics were "discovered" and given a fashion moniker. There must not be any interesting street trends happening at the moment if they are turning to the boring and blase for fashion queues. True, there are days when I wear jeans that fit well and a black tank top, but those are the days that I put extra thought into the rest of my ensemble - shoes, bag, jacket/coat, jewelry, scarf, makeup... I just can't bring myself to sew basics in a basic way. Interesting thoughts, Bunny!

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  14. I think I *am* a normcore gal, although I aspire to dress for my vision of my personal style. Seems that it takes me forever just to sew the basics, then it's a new season. I like to think that I appreciate many styles of dress, hair, accessories, etc. Not too keen on huge amounts of body art; I think it makes me feel kind of squeamish, what someone has gone through to get all those tattoos. What I do mind is people that choose dress, hair, etc. to the extreme of "outside the norm" and then seem surprised that people look at them! If you don't want to draw so much attention to yourself, don't dye your hair pink, wear clothes that look like costumes, and cover your body with piercings and tattoos. I'm a live and let live person, but please don't mind if I do a double take. Thank you.

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  15. i just love the word: "normcore"!!! altho in the original nymag article about the trend, it seemed to be hipsters who decided to tone it down a bit in order to 'blend in' and smooth social interactions with the hoi polloi. mymag article here:
    http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/02/normcore-fashion-trend.html

    so i have this artist friend up in Idaho who is like poster boy for normcore - brush cut, tee, sweatpants or gym shorts in summer, optional hoodie. of course i sent him links to the normcore stuff ASAP - and i am still cracking up at his response: "That normcore was pretty funny. The girl in the first photo is wearing my hat! I think of my fashion as being more like 'ab-normlcore' from the Walmart After Dark series." Shawn, you are the best!!

    youlookfab had a couple of lively discussions on normcore a few months ago, here's links for those of you interested:

    http://youlookfab.com/welookfab/topic/normcore-what-the

    http://youlookfab.com/welookfab/topic/can-you-be-norm-core-if-youre-not-ironic

    The way i dress i really don't feel qualified to pass judgement on the choices of others ;) Though my love of neutrals and utilitarian items has led to my husband to label me as normcore in exasperation more than once!! steph

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    1. Thanks for those links and your thoughts as well. Love your name, by the way.

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  16. I don't think the Olsens are going normcore, they've been normcore for a while. But not always in a boring manner. This is personally not for me. I like colour and fun elements but I definitely have a handful of muted items in my closet. Everyone has basics.

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  17. A lot of the time those who dress "normcore" are just being practical. If you have a job where you are likely to get dusty then you wear dust colored clothes so you don't look messy at the end of the day. If you are a kindergarten teacher or someone who works with paint you might want to have easy care non iron clothes that you don't care if they get ruined.

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  18. Bunny, I'm with you on this one. Normcore is boring and nothing new. Over the past week I've been researching the trends of fall 2014. I'm seeing a lot of grey and very common looking clothes that can be worn by both sexes I think I will skip showcasing normcore and highlight some of those interesting details showcased in collections like the Chanel Fall 2014.
    Cennetta

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