Are You Into Normcore?

*Lauren Haslett’s column “Goodwill Gems” will be back next week.


Not one to miss up a chance for irony, hipsters are hitting a new low. Normcore is all the rage up and down the streets of Williamsburg. Borrowing from their handlebar mustache toting brethren in Portland, they proudly proclaim their style (or lack there of) as normcore. What is this phrase you ask? The only true way to describe it is bland.

Instead of standing out, they are standing in and getting lost amongst the masses. The normcore manifesto, if it can be called that, dictates that to be cool you should wear clothing you can find in any generic retailer where you can buy food and tires too. It is so juicily generic it is the fashion equivalent of Appleblees. Patagonia windbreakers, khaki’s, dickies (yes, the turtleneck that only goes down to your clavicles), fresh New Balance sneakers or when the weather is right some open toed sandals with socks. Sorry Kanye, nobody in this crowd is going to buy your Red Octobers.

normcore socks and sandals

Next time you are walking down N 3rd Street and are heading to Radegast Hall & Biergarten while questioning your friendship with Becky – because why on earth would she make you venture out into Monotone-landia? Is her 24th birthday really worth it? Don’t freak out when you think you just saw your 54-year-old Uncle Joe from Minnesota. That is just a young kid rocking normcore and thinks it is hilarious. Unfortunately, the punch line is a miss.

In his April Salon article “Hipsters, they’re just like us!”, Thomas Frank proclaims with irony that “Normcore resonates despite all this because it points to an obvious but unspoken fact of our time: That coolness itself is done.” He then cites the first example of normcore actually several centuries ago: “Marie Antoinette and her friends used to dress up as shepherds in order to pantomime the uncomplicated spiritualism of the lower orders.”

When @jianghomeshi interviewed Thomas for Q, he said “the fashion industry has been exposed as a sham…”

What do you think of normcore?

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