Difficult Trends: Normcore

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It’s probably one of the most confusing and difficult trends to master thus far: the ever so easy to get wrong Normcore is here to stay for Autumn/Winter.

Some of you may be jumping for joy that comfort and nonchalance have become the in thing this season but in my experience when something seems too good to be true, it usually is. With an emphasis on the bland, the unidentifiable and the shapeless it’s been dubbed as the “anti-fashion” by Vogue. Normcore is a very thin tightrope to walk where one tiny flash of colour or, god forbid, a logo can tip the delicate balance between being cool enough to not care and looking as though you’ve just rolled out of bed. It’s a little bit like 90s workwear with a heaped tablespoon of sarcasm the tiniest sprinkling of grunge: think more Seinfeld than Friends.

Its basic principle lies perfectly in, Normcore King, Richard Nicholls of Jack Wills’ take on the subject:

I’ve been inspired recently by my idea of The Special Normal and The Perfect Boring. Trusty wardrobe staples that last but have something unique and personal. Normcore says, ‘I have soul and intelligence. I’m unique and I don’t need to shout about it”

So it seems the perfect recipe for Normcore Nonchalance is as follows: lots of black, a healthy dose of boxy tailoring and just a pinch of arrogance, because you know…not like you actually care right? Getting into the true spirit of things and not being too fancy with words: May I introduce the Gospel According to Norm:

COLOUR – Black, white, greys and browns. But mostly black. You can add a little bit of print here and there but only very basic looks such as plaid or pinstripes. If people are confused as to whether you are amidst your commute into work or if it’s just laundry day in the 90s, you’re doing it right. Most places stock these colours around Autumn but if you really want to nail this, a certain more sophisticated quality of blah is necessary: Enter Zara.

TEXTURES – Mixing textures is certainly allowed. However you can’t get too crazy with it or it is no longer Norm and becomes more like a texture riot – riots not being chill or ordinary enough to belong here. Corduroy, denim and linen are all Normcore staples: a ribbed turtleneck sweater with a flannel shirt over the top is a perfect combination with this trend. The more you look like a cool 90s Librarian, the better. Unsung heroes of Norm, American Apparel, have some very laid back 90s throwback looks on offer as always.

SHAPES – You have to match loose and boxy with at least one part of the outfit pulling you in to avoid looking like a sack. The perfect example would be a black pea coat, a white loose shirt and skinny jeans with boots. A loose fitting midi dress or wideleg jumpsuits would require a loosely fitted blazer to pull the shapes inwards in a very relaxed way. You don’t want anything too dramatic so waist cinching belts or skin tight high-waisted jeans are not to be seen in the world of Norm. In this instance it is very much one or the other, if you are donning a high waistline then opt for ill fitting mom jeans and a loose turtleneck.  You are showing us that you have a waist but not making a big deal out of it – a la Uniqlo.

FOOTWEAR – Heels are a no go here. You are understated and cool, you dress for comfort and not to impress anybody but yourself. You want unbranded, slightly garish 80s looking trainers, loafers or utility style boots. Comfort and relaxed dressing really is key here so take advantage while it lasts ladies, in fact, you may never look back to the days of performing a balancing act on those stilettos. It’s turned into a little bit of an inside joke that New Balance are the Normcore shoe due to their unfashionable nature, it seems they are following in the footsteps of the Birkenstock in that way. If that doesn’t float your boat American Apparel have some very on-trend loafers and tennis shoes that may be a little easier to pull off.

Team all of the above with sleek hair and polished makeup, this is not shabby chic. If you go all birdsnest and red lipstick you are giving a conflicting message to the Normcore ethos. Seeing as K-HOLE have described Normcore as a theory rather than a look, it may be advised not to try this one out unless you really mean it. In a totally original and nonchalant way, of course.

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