Sometime last summer I realized that, from behind, I could no longer tell if my fellow Soho pedestrians were art kids or middle-aged, middle-American tourists. Clad in stonewash jeans, fleece, and comfortable sneakers, both types looked like they might've just stepped off an R-train after shopping in Times Square. When I texted my friend Brad (an artist whose summer uniform consisted of Adidas barefoot trainers, mesh shorts and plain cotton tees) for his take on the latest urban camouflage, I got an immediate reply: "lol normcore."
What is normcore? Normcore is "art kids" and "downtown girls" dressing like "middle-aged, middle-American tourists," in "[m]all clothes" and "[b]ank clothes" like "stonewash jeans, fleece, and comfortable sneakers... Adidas barefoot trainers, mesh shorts and plain cotton tees... mock turtlenecks with Tevas and Patagonia windbreakers; Uniqlo khakis with New Balance sneakers or Crocs and souvenir-stand baseball caps.... layering white athletic socks with strappy stilettos... a Yankees cap and juniors-department denim... white nurse clogs... off-brand New York ball caps... turtlenecks, sweatpants, and boxy jeans... nondescript half-zip pullovers and anonymous denim... Patagonia fleece... Birkenstocks... Adidas trackies layered under Louis Vuitton cashmere... A bucket hat and Nike slippers... North Face fleece, khakis, and New Balances..."
What isn't normcore? Normcore "isn't about one specific aesthetic." Normcore is "not about being simple or forfeiting individuality to become a bland, uniform mass." Normcore is not "about rebelling against or giving into the status quo." Normcore is "a lot of cliché style taboos" but not "the irony."
Normcore icons: Artist Jeanette Hayes. VFILES host Preston Chaunsumlit. Blood Orange's Devonté Hynes. Editor Jeremy Lewis. Stylist Alice Goddard. Steve Jobs. Jerry Seinfeld. Fiona's friend Brad.
Normcore is "a theory rather than a look." Normcore is "ambivalent toward its market reality." Normcore is "about welcoming the possibility of being recognizable, of looking like other people." Normcore is "about absolving oneself from fashion, 'lest it mark you as a mindless sheep.'" Are you normcore, or are you a mindless sheep?