Dressing according to a specific gender style is a thing of the past. These days, going to a department store’s “men’s” or “women’s” section is no longer the way to shop.
Normcore, the trend that has taken the fashion world, style bloggers and street-style enthusiasts alike by storm is the genderless fad of the year. Normcore, or normal-hardcore, was explained by columnist Fiona Duncan in New York magazine as “self-aware, stylized blandness.” In a Huffington Post interview, Sean Monahan of K-HOLE, a trend-forecasting group who first coined the term, gives further explanation of the trend: “Normcore is a desire to be blank.” The article goes on to say, “The normcore style trend that New York Magazine wrote about is a New York version of this desire.” When Monahan was asked to point out celebrities who embody the normcore aesthetic, he listed Jerry Seinfeld, Louis C.K. and Steve Jobs as influential figures for the style.
The purest manifestation of the trend, whether intentional or not, resembles a ’90s tourist or an American dad on a Sunday afternoon. A baseball hat for purposes of shading oneself from the sun, a crew neck sweatshirt, paired with light wash and straight-legged Levi’s jeans. To complete the look correctly: A pair of white tube socks tucked into a neutral-colored pair of New Balance sneakers.
For the fashion-conscious, the style may be a little bit too functional as opposed to fashionable. Thankfully, brands and bloggers have been using normcore as an inspiration for something not as blank. Gap’s new ad campaign, “Dress Normal,” features Jena Malone, wearing an easy, cropped pair of jeans and a plain white button-up shirt. Gap uses the normcore aesthetic as a blank slate to infuse a classic burst of all-American style into the raw foundation of normcore-inspired look.
Nike’s Air Max 90 has made a resurgence since the debut of the sneaker in 1990. The fashion-forward normcore fans have gravitated toward the Air Max 90 in any color combination, ranging from pure white to varying shades of camouflage. Regardless of gender, the sneakers, when paired with a lighter shade of denim, convey casual confidence, ideal for in-class comfort or conveniently cool for a night out. Depending on the venue, an oversize white button-up shirt layered under a blazer is casual and chic for an evening event. For class, a flannel button-up shirt, a high school gym T-shirt, or even just a plain white tee is the ideal pairing for a casual-yet-stylish normcore look.
Jon Harary, a senior majoring in urban planning and normcore enthusiast, gives insight into how to rock the trend.
“It’s all about the kicks these days, everyone has to have a go-to pair,” Harary said.
With so many sneaker companies revamping their older aesthetic, there is room to pick a pair that both embodies normcore and personal style.
“My favorite pair is my old-school Air Jordan XII,” Harary said. “I don’t bring those out in the Binghamton weather; I save them for sunny NYC days.”