A combination of the words “normal” and “hardcore,” normcore began as a reference to an attitude and not a way to dress. However, over the years, the word gained in popularity as a way for people to dress neutrally and not stand out. It’s a way for people to look “normal” but in a stylized and self-aware way. This unisex fashion trend consists of average-looking clothing, including jeans, sweats, T-shirts, button-down shirts, and sneakers. While normcore’s beginnings were purely ionic and accidental, it became a trend in the early 2020s and continues to be prevalent.
While the exact history of normcore is a bit elusive, it’s believed to be attributed to the trend-forecasting institute K-Hole when it parodied youth-oriented trend reports that brands pay a lot of money to read. The concept of normcore appeared in K-Hole’s first-ever issue in 2013 when it claimed that “normcore moves away from a coolness that relies on difference to a post-authenticity coolness that opts into sameness.” The irony about this fashion is it embraces the mundane while following the crowd.
The word “normal” means different things to different people, especially when it comes to fashion. However, the basis for normcore fashion involves clothing that doesn’t stand out. This doesn’t mean that those who wear normcore fashion are unfashionable people who wear whatever pieces they have lying around; rather, they select clothing that is functional casual wear. Women tend to gravitate toward this style because it focuses more on comfort, no matter what the occasion.
Pieces That Work Well in the Normcore Aesthetic
Since the normcore aesthetic involves looking stylish without much effort, it typically features a few key pieces, including the following:
- White T-shirt. As one of the most fundamental garments in fashion, the white T-shirt is an item that most everyone has. You can pair it with almost anything, from a suit jacket to jeans to rugged workwear. It stands opposite logo-driven streetwear or patterned clothing created by avant-garde designers.
- Blue jeans. Normcore fashion typically involves relaxed-fit blue jeans, but you might find straight-fit or stonewashed jeans as well.
- Fleece jacket. While jeans and a T-shirt are classic garments, they won’t work well for colder weather. Full-length or quarter-zip fleece jackets became the foundation of the normcore look since they can act like mid-layers when temperatures dip.
- Solid-colored crew neck sweatshirt or hoodie. While the neckline on many shirts has fluctuated over the years, the crew neck hasn’t changed. Opting for the hoodie gives the garment a more sportswear feel.
- Sneakers. When choosing sneakers, you want a pair that is comfortable and not necessarily aesthetically pleasing. Also, look for ones that have a more vintage feel.
- Baseball cap. Normcore caps usually have an adjustable rear strap, and while the other staples in this aesthetic lack graphics or prints, the caps tend to feature logos.
If you’re looking for a casual and comfortable style, consider normcore. Not only does it allow you to dress simply, but you don’t need to worry about purchasing a particular brand. Embrace normcore, and you can blend into the crowd while remaining fashionable.