Whether we’re aware of it or not, we each have a personal style—a signature way of dressing that others associate with our names. It’s something that makes us stand out from the crowd.
I was surprised to find out, then, that “normcore,” the latest fashion trend, accomplishes the exact opposite. Normcore has recently made a comeback as a buzzword in the fashion industry—William Gibson, a science-fiction novelist, first described the trend in his book Pattern Recognition. According to Lucky, normcore is a fashion style that emphasizes clothing that doesn’t contain a lot of detail or intricate patterns—it’s a functional, “not-trying-too-hard” kind of look. Think Jerry Seinfeld with his solid colored button-down shirts or Jennifer Aniston’s straight-to-the-point, minimalist black tuxes on the red carpet. The point of normcore is to wear clothes that blatantly ignore the trends of the moment. Vogue mentions that normcore doesn’t involve seeing who can pull off orange fedoras or enormous sunglasses the best, but rather, it’s “predicated on the desire to fit in rather than stand out.”
The concept behind normcore is ironic, because it simultaneously involves going against the latest fashion trends—which would make us stand out—and blending in. Still, the aspect of normcore that’s about defying the latest fads strikes a chord with the rebellious. Truly fashionable people don’t agonize about following the latest fashion trends, which constantly change. Instead, they make up their own rules about what types of clothes align with their own sense of style, and whether or not those choices line up with the latest trends.
We’ve all had moments when we largely relied on fashion publications or clothing-store catalog for some guidance whenever we wanted to update our look. In my experience, that approach often leaves us feeling more confused than inspired about how to develop a fashion sense. If we rely too heavily on fashion publications to shape our style, we aren’t being creative in how we wear clothes. We should look at fashion and lifestyle magazines with our style preferences in mind, because those publications should inform, not dictate, our choice of what to wear. In other words, the fashion tips we read should supplement our already-cemented sense of our personal style. And what’s great about normcore is that it allows us to do just that. Pairing black trousers with a patterned top is one way to go normcore. Black is classic normcore style because it’s always been straightforward and sophisticated. The T-shirt and jeans look with sneakers works here, too.
We should learn to navigate through Glamour and GQ as creative individuals. When we soak up their contents, it’s best for us to consider which fashion tips and pieces will and won’t work for our body types and our budgets ($900 Bergdorf Goodman shoes, anyone?). Fashion magazines are giant collections of highly visual op-ed and features pieces that are meant to entertain and inform us about the latest happenings in the fashion world. Magazines do what they’re meant to do—entertain and inform our tastes—and nothing more.