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Normcore: millennials reject individualism for inclusion
February 26, 2014 12:13 PM   Subscribe

Jeremy Lewis ... calls normcore “one facet of a growing anti-fashion sentiment.” His personal style is ... “exhaustingly plain”—this winter, that’s meant a North Face fleece, khakis, and New Balances. Lewis says his “look of nothing” is about absolving oneself from fashion, “lest it mark you as a mindless sheep.”
posted by rebent (221 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
You can't absolve yourself from fashion by, erm, embracing a specific fashion look. Surely he knows.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:16 PM on February 26 [39 favorites]


Let's see how many times I can slap my forehead every time I reread this article....ready set go.
posted by gcbv at 12:18 PM on February 26 [20 favorites]


As someone who is both a massive fashion nerd and platonically in love with thier own wardrobe, know this comes from a loving place but:

"Fad not fad says faddish person."

(Also this happens on a regularly basis in like ...12 year cycles, when did Pattern Recognition come out? People who work in fashion all tend to dress down to very minimal uniforms anyway)
posted by The Whelk at 12:18 PM on February 26 [34 favorites]


tl;dr: people in fashion discover that no, it really isn't worth all the effort they've put into it. They've sure built a good story around their transition into "yea I just want to wear clothes, not be some kind of modern art display" though.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 12:19 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


Oh darn. Now I'm going to spend the next couple of years looking trendy again, before resuming my habitual mask of normalcy.
posted by emmet at 12:19 PM on February 26 [7 favorites]


Fashion people, hiding in plain sight.
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:19 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


"You laugh at me because I'm different, I laugh at you because you're all the same."

-- T-shirt at Hot-Topic
posted by kmz at 12:19 PM on February 26 [46 favorites]


When all things are given equal, maximal attention, "boring" shall become re-interesting.
posted by penduluum at 12:20 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


Jah. It's not "anti-fashion" if you label it and define what it looks like. Then it's just fashion.

Also, a lot of this stuff just sounds like stuff that people wear either when they're exercising, when they need to be comfortable and minimally presentable but otherwise can't be bothered to put on anything specific, or what people in low-level office jobs are more or less required to wear. That is to say, it's not about seceding from fashion but rather about the fact that you can't be bothered or aren't allowed to make a fashion statement right at that moment because you are exercising/working/would really rather be in bed.
posted by Scientist at 12:21 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


Earlier iterations of theme: Jack Kerouac, grunge's less grungy aspects.
posted by Free word order! at 12:23 PM on February 26


Ugh. "Normcore"?

Every generation thinks they invented sex; every generation thinks they invented boring.
posted by klangklangston at 12:24 PM on February 26 [51 favorites]


I do remember my mom being super excited about grunge when it hit big. "Jeans and flannels! I've been wearing those since the '70s!"
posted by klangklangston at 12:25 PM on February 26 [44 favorites]


Oh my god, the uncontrollable yawning.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 12:27 PM on February 26 [7 favorites]


This would be dumb thought if it were coherent. And the people in the slideshow aren't even possible examples of what this person thinks they're trying to say.
posted by cmoj at 12:27 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


I am unworthy of your emulation.
posted by norm at 12:28 PM on February 26 [27 favorites]


If my predictions (and the stars) are right we're just getting ready for a full on carnaby street paisley revival. If everything goes well guys are going to look freaking ridiculous for the next few years and I for one can't wait - all those descraded loud-as-fuck 70s blazers will be hot items.
posted by The Whelk at 12:29 PM on February 26 [8 favorites]


I read it as 'nomcore', which I guess would be rejecting individualism for comfort eating. I think we can all identify with that.
posted by grounded at 12:29 PM on February 26 [24 favorites]


If my predictions (and the stars) are right we're just getting ready for a full on carnaby street paisley revival.

My high school days: let me show you them!
posted by scody at 12:29 PM on February 26 [13 favorites]


You can't absolve yourself from fashion by, erm, embracing a specific fashion look.

Or by reeling off a list of brands to define your look. Call me when that fleece is some unbranded anonymous thing you found on sale at a department store for $12.

I do remember my mom being super excited about grunge when it hit big. "Jeans and flannels! I've been wearing those since the '70s!"

Yeah, this.
posted by Jimbob at 12:29 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


What's wrong with jeans and a t-shirt anymore?
posted by ReeMonster at 12:33 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


I do remember my mom being super excited about grunge when it hit big. "Jeans and flannels! I've been wearing those since the '70s!"

One of the first CDs I bought with my own money was Fugees - The Score. My mom asked if she could listen to it with me. I was a little worried some of the tracks would be too edge so I put on "Killing Me Softly". Wow was I surprised when she started singing along.
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:34 PM on February 26 [19 favorites]


“Fashion has become very overwhelming and popular,” Lewis explains. “Right now a lot of people use fashion as a means to buy rather than discover an identity and they end up obscured and defeated. I'm getting cues from people like Steve Jobs and Jerry Seinfeld. It's a very flat look, conspicuously unpretentious, maybe even endearingly awkward. It's a lot of cliché style taboos, but it's not the irony I love, it's rather practical and no-nonsense, which to me, right now, seems sexy. I like the idea that one doesn't need their clothes to make a statement.”

I just rolled my eyes so hard that I think I sprained something.
posted by dortmunder at 12:34 PM on February 26 [35 favorites]


Kids these days are such wusses. When I was a teenager I was rocking phat pants, LED t-shirts, and candy bracelets. I may have looked absolutely ridiculous but I'd rather have bad style than no style.

I always appreciate punks/goths/metalheads/etc for decorating my environment. Even if those are not the fashion choices I would make myself, I still get a kick out of seeing someone with dyed liberty spikes, and I respect the guts it takes to put yourself out there like that.
posted by foobaz at 12:34 PM on February 26 [29 favorites]


Or by reeling off a list of brands to define your look. Call me when that fleece is some unbranded anonymous thing you found on sale at a department store for $12.

I've been thinking about this for a while, though, and here's the thing: we're living in a post-Macklemore world now. And a post-crisis world. Thrift stores aren't cultural signifiers of hipness like they were for most of the 90's and 00's. This decade, they're just the mainstream default. Basic bitches wear that shit. The cultural cognoscenti backlash is to get into bland-as-fuck consumer brands to the point where you erase your identity. It makes sense. No Logo doesn't speak to the kids anymore. The word "counterculture" itself is archaic.
posted by naju at 12:37 PM on February 26 [7 favorites]


Personally I'm holding out for a Derelicte revival. Mugatu is a genius.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:38 PM on February 26 [19 favorites]


I don't really understand how wearing North Face and New Balances is "divorcing yourself from fashion". Those were the most sought-after in-group brands my freshman year of college.

Or is the point to only wear clothes that aren't super trendy, just sort of background normalized?

Also, assuming that Jeremy Lewis is a middle class white hetero man, I'm not sure how wearing North Face, New Balances, and khakis is making any sort of statement at all.
posted by Sara C. at 12:38 PM on February 26 [9 favorites]


Every generation thinks they invented sex flannels.

Just read an article about a militia forming in my county--it's official, the 90s are back! Break out your wack slacks or be a lamestain!
posted by entropicamericana at 12:38 PM on February 26 [10 favorites]


Oh man, that article is amazing. Fashion is too popular now, say popular fashion figures, so we're dressing like people from the Midwest we saw on Google Maps like animals in the zoo.
posted by jess at 12:40 PM on February 26 [41 favorites]


Oh, wait, yes! I've read this William Gibson book!
posted by sendai sleep master at 12:40 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


The 90's never left us, friend. They were here with us the whole time.
posted by jquinby at 12:41 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


I have it on good authority that the word "normcore" was invented entirely as a joke that has spun out of control in unpredictable and beautiful ways, and K-Hole is a lot, lot cooler and weirder than this piece would lead one to believe.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 12:41 PM on February 26 [6 favorites]


I'm getting cues from people like Steve Jobs and Jerry Seinfeld. It's a very flat look, conspicuously unpretentious ...
This would be Steve Jobs of the Issey Miyake turtlenecks? All I'm sayin' is, that for a story about "anti-fashion," that piece sure checks a lot of fashion names.

If my predictions (and the stars) are right we're just getting ready for a full on carnaby street paisley revival.

Ok, who or what do I need to sacrifice to who or what to make this happen?
posted by octobersurprise at 12:43 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


Also all the people in the slideshows are mostly just wearing denim shirts. Which have been a thing for like five years from now.
posted by Sara C. at 12:43 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


Miranda Priestly: [Miranda and some assistants are deciding between two similar belts for an outfit. Andy sniggers because she thinks they look exactly the same] Something funny?

Andy Sachs: No. No, no. Nothing's... You know, it's just that both those belts look exactly the same to me. You know, I'm still learning about all this stuff and, uh...

Miranda Priestly: 'This... stuff'? Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select... I don't know... that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you're trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue, it's not turquoise. It's not lapis. It's actually cerulean. And you're also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent... wasn't it who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it's sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.
posted by Roentgen at 12:43 PM on February 26 [38 favorites]


Wide lapels and Edwardian cuts, patterns for the windowpane god! Stripes and checks for his throne!
posted by The Whelk at 12:44 PM on February 26 [9 favorites]


No, but seriously, download the KHole issue on "Youth Mode" and I think you will see this in a much different light.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 12:45 PM on February 26 [8 favorites]


The main thing I'm getting from this is that baseball caps are probably going to make a comeback for people who aren't fratty dudebros.
posted by Sara C. at 12:45 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


Normcore? Do these people spend all day drinking in a tacky sports pub next to a postal service employee who never shuts up?
posted by selfnoise at 12:46 PM on February 26 [10 favorites]


Baseball caps never left! Come to the dark shaded side!
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:46 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


We must stop baseball caps from coming back.

No matter what it takes.
posted by The Whelk at 12:47 PM on February 26 [8 favorites]


I just wear business casual.

At.

All.

Times.

What am I? Borecore?
posted by sonic meat machine at 12:48 PM on February 26 [12 favorites]


Oh, wait, yes! I've read this William Gibson book!

It's worth noting that this is really not comparably to Cayce Pollard and her "CPUs" at all -- everything seems geared around big name brands like Adidas, Nike, North Face, etc. and hearkening back to a specific time period within recent memory. Whereas I think the philosophy behind Cayce Pollard was for everything to be unbranded and timeless.
posted by Sara C. at 12:49 PM on February 26 [11 favorites]


One person calls it "bardcore", from Bard college. I love that, can't quite explain why.
posted by cell divide at 12:49 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


The linked post is tedious in its eagerness to reify the phenomenon, but come on. I've been inhabiting the sweet blind spot between just-fashionable-enough and camouflage since I was in high school, and I would bet many, many MeFites do so, too.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 12:50 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


Bardcore is when you talk in nothing but iambic pentameter.
posted by jquinby at 12:51 PM on February 26 [13 favorites]


MeFite camouflage being what, cat hair and a therapy couch?
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:51 PM on February 26 [24 favorites]


That YOUTH MODE pdf is fantastic.
posted by naju at 12:55 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


It's on trend to wear Patagonia fleece as long as you're not the kind of person who would wear Patagonia fleece.
posted by betweenthebars at 12:56 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


I read the Youth Mode thing and came away with the vague feeling that I should be buying something right now. I'm just not sure what.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:56 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


Also, a lot of this stuff just sounds like stuff that people wear either when they're exercising, when they need to be comfortable and minimally presentable but otherwise can't be bothered to put on anything specific, or what people in low-level office jobs are more or less required to wear. That is to say, it's not about seceding from fashion but rather about the fact that you can't be bothered or aren't allowed to make a fashion statement right at that moment because you are exercising/working/would really rather be in bed.

Haven't artists been ripping off appropriating working class fashions since forever? Problem is, unlike 100 years ago when "working class" meant "bricklayer" or "lumberjack", nowadays it means "Wal-Mart greeter" or "Subway sandwich artist", which don't look as cool to our eyes.
posted by Cash4Lead at 12:57 PM on February 26 [5 favorites]


One of the basic joys of visiting Europe is the chance to pick up clothing from C&A, makers of sturdy, basic everyday items that appear to have been flash frozen into a state of Dutch Middleclass Blending In around 1972.

That's what I think of as "normcore". Well-made but so basic and generic it's like a stealth suit.
posted by The Whelk at 12:57 PM on February 26 [6 favorites]


From the k-hole article Pretentious Illiterate linked:

Once upon a time people were born into communities and had
to find their individuality. Today people are born individuals
and have to find their communities. Mass Indie responds to
this situation by creating cliques of people in the know, while
Normcore knows the real feat is harnessing the potential for
connection to spring up. It’s about adaptability, not exclusivity.

posted by rebent at 12:58 PM on February 26


One of the things I've most found annoying about getting older is that I care more about my clothes than I did when I was younger. I pretty much dressed in t-shirts, jeans, fleeces, and chucks for my entire 20's, not out of any real anti-establishment, fuck fashion kind of thing, but because it takes some energy (and some money) to care about your clothes, and I used that energy for other things. Also, I have the kind of profession where what you wore didn't matter.

But as I've grown older, a certain recognition that people do judge you for how you dress has crept in, along with a need to be more professional, so I've grudgingly given in to dressing better (and judging from the frequent "help me dress better" posts on AskMefi, it happens to many people). I have to also grudgingly admit that when I take the time to dress better and more "fashionable" in certain situations, I feel more self-confident and professional.

I don't have the kind of skills, time, or energy to be stylish without looking faddish, so for me that does involve looking to contemporary fashions in my attempts to dress better. But if two years from now everyone is dressed like the engineers I work with I'm going to be pissed.
posted by barchan at 12:59 PM on February 26 [15 favorites]


Yeah I will 3rd that trend forecasting PDF from KHOLE, it's really well done.
posted by cell divide at 1:00 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


I'm not getting dressed. I'm getting un-naked.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:00 PM on February 26 [10 favorites]


I wish the antifashion of choice was everyone wearing the same jumpsuit so we could live in the Devo future for just a minute.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:00 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


That YOUTH MODE pdf is fantastic.

Wow, yes it is. I just had one of those neural-familiarity "this is how I want to be writing" moments of recognition.
posted by penduluum at 1:01 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


Another thing is: every few years young beautiful people realize they can literally wear anything and look great. Whether it's Big Johnson T-shirts or 70s nehru jackets or whatever this is, true fashion doesn't begin until you're overweight and 32 imho.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:01 PM on February 26 [30 favorites]


Is this where I can complain that lately I've noticed that all the hip young parents on TV commercials are starting to look like me?
posted by phunniemee at 1:01 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


Now I'm leafing through K-Hole's "Brand Anxiety Matrix" PDF and came across this:

All forms of birth control effectively hack your reproductive system. In Futurist visions, solutions come in pill form - you change your software. The IUD, on the other hand, is more in line with Maker culture and its insistence on personal hardware, little pieces of plastic, and references to the fashions of the 1970s.

Can someone explain K-Hole in terms that a thirtysomething wearing an Eddie Bauer t-shirt can understand?
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:03 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


Also cf the Nu-preppie movement.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:03 PM on February 26


I bet he doesn't own a television, either, what a rebel
posted by jetlagaddict at 1:04 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


I read the Youth Mode thing and came away with the vague feeling that I should be buying something right now. I'm just not sure what.

yesssss, yesssss, late capitalism is working
posted by threeants at 1:04 PM on February 26 [5 favorites]


HOT NEW TREND: inventing a fictional royal house to belong to/swear loyalty to! Design a shield and herald! Pick colors and emblems and allegorical animals! Buy pins and adornments emblazoned with your wholly made-up motto! Wear your House symbols with pride Young Americans!
posted by The Whelk at 1:04 PM on February 26 [12 favorites]


MetaFilter: cat hair and a therapy couch
posted by billiebee at 1:05 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


Can someone explain K-Hole in terms that a thirtysomething wearing an Eddie Bauer t-shirt can understand?

Bullshit.
posted by dortmunder at 1:05 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]




Also cf the Nu-preppie movement.

Still hasn't gone away! Seemingly here to stay! Which sucks for me cause all the good argyle sweater vests at the goodwill are taken before I get there.
posted by The Whelk at 1:05 PM on February 26


metroid baby, that looks like projection to me. The idea that the medium of birth control, be it a pill or a gadget, is a more powerful descriptive element than the outcome and cost, seems like what a committee would write.
posted by rebent at 1:05 PM on February 26


"HOT NEW TREND: inventing a fictional royal house to belong to/swear loyalty to! Design a shield and herald! Pick colors and emblems and allegorical animals! Buy pins and adornments emblazoned with your wholly made-up motto! Wear your House symbols with pride Young Americans!"

#scaredpotter
posted by klangklangston at 1:08 PM on February 26


Great. First it was wearing hats and having a utilikilt. Now it's conspicuously comfortable clothes that's getting appropriated by jerks.

I hate being ahead of the curve on trends later picked up by assholes.
posted by chimaera at 1:08 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


I kinda want to see someone try ANOTHER kind of Normcore.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:08 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


I used to want to blend into crowds, while looking at folks who did whatever they wanted with their hair, their clothes, and their accessories. As I realize that I've already likely passed the halfway point in my life, I figure I might as well take some chances. Yeah, that's the very definition of "mid-life crisis," I guess, but I have some really cool shoes now.
posted by xingcat at 1:09 PM on February 26 [6 favorites]


Reading that Youth Mode pdf. There's some BS but this is interesting:

"Once upon a time people were born into communities and had
to find their individuality. Today people are born individuals
and have to find their communities."
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:10 PM on February 26 [17 favorites]



HOT NEW TREND: inventing a fictional royal house to belong to/swear loyalty to! Design a shield and herald! Pick colors and emblems and allegorical animals! Buy pins and adornments emblazoned with your wholly made-up motto! Wear your House symbols with pride Young Americans!

Is this like a designer version of those booths in the mall where you can get your "coat of arms" or "Scottish tartan" that white dudes take ridiculous pride in? Because the last thing we need is more doughy white men pretending they're English gentry or Scottish highlanders.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 1:11 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


Marge: “Am I cool, kids?”
Lisa & Bart: “No.“
Marge: “Good. I’m glad. And that’s what makes me cool, not caring, right?”
Lisa & Bart: “No.“
Marge: “Well, how the hell do you be cool? I feel like we’ve tried everything here.”
Homer: “Wait, Marge. Maybe if you’re truly cool, you don’t need to be told you’re cool.”
Bart: “Well, sure you do!”
Lisa: “…How else would you know?”
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:11 PM on February 26 [6 favorites]


HOT NEW TREND: inventing a fictional royal house to belong to/swear loyalty to!

Aka Renfairecore. Huzzah!

Gotta say, tho, mad respect to this guy's dedication to dressing, uh, normally: "I have no problem doing something a little more awkward; sometimes I’ll wear, like, a fanny pack."
posted by octobersurprise at 1:12 PM on February 26



#scaredpotter

I could pretend I don't have a internal house with consistent heraldry but we all know that would be a lie.
posted by The Whelk at 1:13 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


Yes, it's that time of day again, folks. Time for New York to once again disappear completely up its own asshole.
posted by indubitable at 1:16 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


HOT NEW TREND: inventing a fictional royal house to belong to/swear loyalty to! Design a shield and herald! Pick colors and emblems and allegorical animals! Buy pins and adornments emblazoned with your wholly made-up motto! Wear your House symbols with pride Young Americans!

Doge probably takes top symbol this year but I'm betting it's this guy in second.

You could also take a left turn into D&D and start wearing "enchanted" accessories. Swatch of Customer Service! Ring Pop of Python Programming! Messenger Bag of Database Administration! Skills are useless when nobody is hiring, diplomas are just so much paper, turn it all into baubles.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:16 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


This will only provide contrast so my weirdness will stand out in higher relief.



Says the woman who dresses like The Dread Pirate Stevie Nicks


And who occasionally puts her clothes on upside down, looks in the mirror and dramatically says "Comme des Garçons!" and collapses in giggles.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:17 PM on February 26 [12 favorites]



You could also take a left turn into D&D and start wearing "enchanted" accessories. Swatch of Customer Service! Ring Pop of Python Programming! Messenger Bag of Database Administration! Skills are useless when nobody is hiring, diplomas are just so much paper, turn it all into baubles.

i actually have magic gay marriage pins.
posted by The Whelk at 1:18 PM on February 26 [5 favorites]


inventing a fictional royal house to belong to/swear loyalty to!

I think that's basically what Ralph Lauren was going for. Loyalty to an American Royalty, complete with Sigil of a horse and rider.
posted by cell divide at 1:19 PM on February 26 [6 favorites]


Why does everyone focus so hard on marketing to 20 somethings anyway, they have no money and they hate it. Market to me I need more plain, sturdy leather shoes & button down shirts & tapered khakis that make my old ass look less old and assy.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:20 PM on February 26 [14 favorites]


House McQueen to battle House Lauren on the fields of Rohan the fortnight after Michelmass.
posted by The Whelk at 1:21 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


I need a ring pop of Python programming +4, but I don't have the 400 gp.
posted by Zalzidrax at 1:21 PM on February 26


Why does everyone focus so hard on marketing to 20 somethings anyway, they have no money and they hate it. Market to me I need more plain, sturdy leather shoes & button down shirts & tapered khakis that make my old ass look less old and assy.

Yes sir.
posted by sonic meat machine at 1:21 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


Yeah, when you're deep in the k-hole fashion is the last thing on your mind.
posted by wildcrdj at 1:21 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


Normcore?
~checks pics on the link
Yup. Everyone's dressed like Norm Macdonald.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:23 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


cell divide: " inventing a fictional royal house to belong to/swear loyalty to!

I think that's basically what Ralph Lauren was going for. Loyalty to an American Royalty, complete with Sigil of a horse and rider.
"

I may be dating myself here (Hi, I'm absolutely dating myself here) but I feel like I lived smack in the middle of that exact idea in the early to mid 80s.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 1:23 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


Why have people younger than me always got so much money to spend on clothes?
posted by colie at 1:25 PM on February 26


You could also take a left turn into D&D and start wearing "enchanted" accessories.

Well, maybe not that much of a left turn. And put on a fleece, willya? You must be freezing.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:25 PM on February 26


I remember reading an interview with Robert Smith where he said in the early days The Cure was criticized for being anti-image, whatever that means, and that's why they started wearing the makeup, etc.

Here's a pic.
posted by Huck500 at 1:29 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


I don't really understand how wearing North Face and New Balances is "divorcing yourself from fashion". Those were the most sought-after in-group brands my freshman year of college.

It gets worse! It was a little chilly at the farmers market this morning, and every trendy yoga mom was wearing a North Face parka.

(More generic parkas were big here in the late 70s/early 80s too but the stupid trendy part was walking around with all your old lift tickets still attached.)
posted by Room 641-A at 1:29 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


overthinking a plate of jeans
posted by Killick at 1:30 PM on February 26 [5 favorites]


Means "follower" more pretentiously spelled...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 1:31 PM on February 26


I was dressing like a slob before it was cool!
posted by Windopaene at 1:31 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


Somewhere (probably on Tumblr?) I saw this fashion referred to as, "You're straight. We get it."
posted by ErikaB at 1:32 PM on February 26 [12 favorites]


"The one thing about normcore that’s cool is that you want to be approachable by as many people as possible rather than being divisive or elitist."

I think that's what this can all come down to, really... viewing it as a reaction to [mass] indie hipster elitism, by the same sort of kids who used to be the indie hipster elitists, makes it actually kind of legitimately cool, but also potentially brain-breaking. Fashion singularity stuff.
posted by naju at 1:33 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


House McQueen to battle House Lauren on the fields of Rohan the fortnight after Michelmass.

That is not even fair.

We ALL know who is going to have the coolest armor.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:34 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


Wait, so this is how I've always dressed in my quest to be as unnoticeable as possible.

Am I a hipster now?
posted by charred husk at 1:34 PM on February 26


Oh god, how fucking BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNNNG.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:36 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


I can understand wanting to be anonymous. We live in a world that is forcing people away from anonymity, but having places where you are private and anonymous is still important. And having some things in your life that you don't need to think very hard about all the time is important.

I guess I feel about this the same way I feel about people who publicly discuss how much they don't care about sports or politics or the Oscars or whatever -- you'd probably demonstrate how little you care best by not talking about it at all.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:37 PM on February 26


Am I a hipster now?


Yes, everyone is a hipster now.

Now we're going to have to make fun of ourselves.
posted by louche mustachio at 1:38 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


I know I'm getting old because ten years ago I would have wasted energy being annoyed by this.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:39 PM on February 26 [6 favorites]


Am I a hipster now?


Yes, everyone is a hipster now.

Now we're going to have to make fun of ourselves.


Well, I was doing that before -

[leans so far back in chair that I fall out of window thirty stories to my death]
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:40 PM on February 26 [17 favorites]


"You laugh at me because I'm different, I laugh at you because you're all the same."

No, I laugh at you for thinking your outward appearance is what makes you special.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 1:43 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


Well, it shows a certain commitment to . . . something . . . to be willing to totally jettison the aesthetics part of dressing in favor of the signifier part. Seems like a shame, though.

I imagine this will last about as long as it takes until somebody gets up one morning and decides life's not worth living if you can't wear grass green or marigold orange.

(Though, to me, about half the people in the slideshow look super aestheticized and intentional anyway, possibly just by virtue of being photographed for a fashion feature. Jake Moore looks like he's recently derived a lot of inspiration from a visit to the Norman Rockwell Museum. Good for him.)
posted by ostro at 1:44 PM on February 26


Admittedly, this seems super-dumb (but I say that as someone who loathes fashion, so what do I know). However, it brings up something I find interesting, which is how hard it can be to be deliberately boring and unmemorable. Years ago I lived with some guys who'd served in the Australian army and I was struck by a term they used, the "grey man." It was both a bad thing to be (i.e., somebody completely bland, undistinguished, and mediocre) except it could also be good: someone who could "be grey" was someone who had things to offer but didn't need to show them off unless called on. It's the opposite of show-off-y, distracting, etc. It's a knack for blending in with different groups, and it's very much a skill (in their parlance) -- both for dodging work details, and being unobtrusive. (I hear it's also a term used by bodyguards and others in that trade in sort of a similar way -- a person to be protected needs the visible bodyguards, but also the people who can appear completely neutral.) I think someone like William Burroughs might exemplify this -- this completely transgressive avant-garde mutant who dressed like the squarest New England banker / junior FBI agent (in a time when that wouldn't stand out), until he moved to rural Kansas, when he wore denim, old baseball caps, and parkas. His time in Paris? A black turtleneck, those very French glasses. Perfectly uninteresting. Reading this "normcore" piffle makes me realize that there's actually a real trick -- an art form, maybe -- to genuinely greying-out. That being boring, being forgettable, can really take some doing.
posted by the brave tetra-pak at 1:45 PM on February 26 [33 favorites]


...i once bought a knit sweater in ireland cause everyone was wearing them and I kept conspicuous without one
posted by The Whelk at 1:49 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, but if the thing about normcore is to be less divisive and more approachable, that's pretty much been done by a t-shirt and jeans, as said earlier upthread. It's absolutely the most anonymous clothing you can wear today in America.

That's the great thing about jeans. If you want, you can wear expensive jeans, and people in the know will take note. People who don't will just say "oh, they're wearing jeans". When you dress like the people in the photos, they're still making statements with their clothing. Maybe they're making themselves more approachable to a certain set of people, but again, then you're just making a different statement.

It reminds me of that NY Times magazine article- Marked Women, Unmarked Men. There are things you can do to blend in, and making a fashion statement isn't one of them. Almost by definition, any such fashion movement would be so boring that no one would blog or write about it.
posted by thewumpusisdead at 1:50 PM on February 26


I thought the urban-lumberjack hipsters had already embraced normcore a long time ago.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:50 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


I saw the article this morning and was actually craving a mefite discussion, but I am disappointed.

I really think there is actually something to this, if you can get past the fact that the slideshow only features stylists. People do seem to be striving to look as much like each other as possible and I find it a bit disconcerting. The 'look at this fucking hipster' trend of the last 10 years, furiously belittling anyone who wears anything different, is all about judging (and sometimes wishing violence on) people solely on how they dress.

And then most young people really have very little money to spend on fashion anyway, so cool kids with no money can sneer at the idea of spending money on clothes. I was surprised the original article didn't bring up that aspect.

Now I'll go read that khole link.
posted by maggiemaggie at 1:50 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


What people take for relentless minimalism is a side effect of too much exposure to the reactor-cores of fashion. This has resulted in a remorseless paring-down of what she can and will wear. She is, literally, allergic to fashion. She can only tolerate things that could have been worn, to a general lack of comment, during any year between 1945 and 2000. She’s a design-free zone, a one-woman school of anti whose very austerity periodically threatens to spawn its own cult.”

That's the Case Pollard units from Pattern Recognition, and I cannot figure out what a CPU would actually look like. Mainstream women didn't wear a lot of black until, I think, the seventies - for example. A skirt that was worn without comment in 1955 would have caused tremendous comment in 1965. I think you could probably capitalize on retro fashion and wear, say, a plain early sixties wool knit any time subsequent to the late seventies and look retro-arty-neutral...but what about pants? The kind of ski pants that you start to see in the fifties for leisure weren't around in the forties. I suppose that if Case Pollard wears nothing but selections from the wardrobe of Katherine Hepburn she could probably get away with this, maybe....but I think even those would receive comment during the youth boom of the sixties.

Case Pollard Units are particularly perplexing because it's clear from the book that most of them are knits, and knits date like hell. I'd say that you could probably wear a very simple black straight knit skirt and grey jersey tee any time between about 1980 and the present and attract little comment, but again, that's not 1945.
posted by Frowner at 1:51 PM on February 26 [6 favorites]


We ALL know who is going to have the coolest armor.

Yeah, at least match House McQueen with House Gaultier so both sides have cuirasses.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:52 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


(I feel like the ideal CPU fabric would be Jersey but I'm not as well-versed in women's ware.)
posted by The Whelk at 1:52 PM on February 26


Snark all you want, this is better than the oppressive Polo shirt/Guess Jeans combo that the fascists pushed down people's throats back in my day.
posted by planetesimal at 1:52 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


Normcore!
posted by jason_steakums at 1:53 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


(then again I always imagine CP as dressing like Edith Head)
posted by The Whelk at 1:55 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


There are things you can do to blend in, and making a fashion statement isn't one of them. Almost by definition, any such fashion movement would be so boring that no one would blog or write about it.

I'm under the impression that it's not about anonymizing yourself. It is a fashion statement, and a self-conscious one, about pointedly erasing a markedly different identity. You should be able to tell the difference, on any street in America, between someone dressing completely unselfconsciously vs. someone who is dressing 'normcore.' That's part of what makes it all fascinating. How do you do that - stand out and don't stand out at the same time?
posted by naju at 1:56 PM on February 26


"Cheers: The King of Beers (#11.3)" (1992)

Norm Peterson: Listen, if you don't mind, right now I've been tasting beer all morning, OK, so I'm just going to take a break, change my clothes and go over to Cheers and hoist a few.
Mike: [laughing] Whoa. You're kidding, right?
Norm Peterson: Yeah. These clothes'll be fine.
posted by Kabanos at 1:56 PM on February 26



I really think there is actually something to this, if you can get past the fact that the slideshow only features stylists. People do seem to be striving to look as much like each other as possible and I find it a bit disconcerting. The 'look at this fucking hipster' trend of the last 10 years, furiously belittling anyone who wears anything different, is all about judging (and sometimes wishing violence on) people solely on how they dress.


Actually, I read an article very similar to this one about denim fashion during the recession seventies...it was about somewhat older people and about bohemian/counterculture people rather than creative-class/coolhunter types, but it had much the same logic about looking the same as each other, overcoming differences through clothes....similarly, it was framed as a backlash against individualism, which was framed as selfish and irresponsible, and it was also about nostalgia. The net effect was to sell more stuff, of course.

But honestly, anything that is kicking around in thrift stores and is very cheap will be repurposed eventually and then become trendy - that's the logic of capital.

But there's a comment upthread about how it's fashionable to wear Patagonia fleece as long as you're not the kind of person who wears Patagonia fleece....which sort of gets at the whole thing. Now, if you're a delightfully awkward, waify "normal" person who naively wears Patagonia fleece because you're just too adorkable to have any fashion sense whatsoever, then hip people will think that's cute and you're delightful. If you're a normal workadaddy who actually thinks Patagonia fleece is great and looks flattering, you're doing it wrong.
posted by Frowner at 1:56 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


Frowner, I wonder if the article you are talking about is The Greening of America? I remember being fascinated by his description of artists in SoHo wearing jeans and t-shirts.
posted by maggiemaggie at 2:01 PM on February 26


It gets worse! It was a little chilly at the farmers market this morning, and every trendy yoga mom was wearing a North Face parka.

I work at an exceedingly boring office building in the Midwest, and there is no fashion accessory that makes me grind my teeth, roll my eyes and howl into the void more than a North Face logo.

I'll stick with my purple hoodie that matches my purple wallet. I've ordered an Eternal Scout badge to iron on, because I miss my old threadbare Aperture Science hoodie but feel a need to update my geek card.
posted by Foosnark at 2:01 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


metroid baby: I am also too old to really "understand" K-Hole, but I believe it's an art project masquerading as a trend forecasting company? As in, they put out these reports that are a mix of made-up nonsense and sticky ideas, wrapping them in corporate-speak but also trying to get at something a little deeper. And the goal is to hit a sweet spot where the "trends" are picked up by people/companies/magazines that don't entirely understand them and then morph and travel through the culture and become actual trends reported on in pieces like these. They are trying to create trends under the guise of forecasting them, in other words. And it's also maybe a bunch of overanalyzed, overobserved, overbranded bunch of NYC millennials to try and bite back at the corporate hands that feed them.

I am sure someone actually from K-Hole could give a more nuanced explanation, but that's my take on it.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 2:04 PM on February 26 [6 favorites]


I cannot figure out what a CPU would actually look like

I've thought a lot about this, because I have a similar sensibility.

Here's what I've come up with:

Jeans that aren't a designer label but also aren't conspicuously unstylish. I've rotated from Gap to Levi's to the Urban Outfitters house brand. Sometimes skirts or trousers, too. Now that I live far from Uniqlo, pants, skirts, and dresses have become much more difficult.

Basic solid tops without a lot of adornment to them. Stripes and plaid are OK. Maybe a very small subtle pattern.

Classic wool sweaters. Crew neck, v-neck, basic cardigans.

Blazers. Unadorned unisex zip-down hoodies.

Shoes are problematic, because even the ones that aren't over-branded are just super specific. I like Onitsuka Tigers a lot, but those are branded. Converse and Keds are less branded, but have an iconic look. I wear a lot of flats - ballet flats, moccasins, espadrilles, lace up oxfords, etc. I also have a pair of Doc Martens, which fall into the same trap as Converse and Keds. I spend a lot of time thinking about comfortable unbranded shoes.
posted by Sara C. at 2:04 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


Now, if you're a delightfully awkward, waify "normal" person who naively wears Patagonia fleece because you're just too adorkable to have any fashion sense whatsoever, then hip people will think that's cute and you're delightful.

One thing Pinterest and Tumblr have taught me is that anything looks "cool" if someone young and thin is wearing it.
posted by Sara C. at 2:06 PM on February 26 [12 favorites]


One of the basic joys of visiting Europe is the chance to pick up clothing from C&A, makers of sturdy, basic everyday items that appear to have been flash frozen into a state of Dutch Middleclass Blending In around 1972.

Well, yeah, those of us who can't pull off the Steve Rogers in army uniform look in everyday life need clothes shops too. Being somewhat of a lardass, C&A has clothing that fits me, looks relatively good, is affordable yet fairly durable.

So I tend to buy most my clothes from there and to broadcast my identity I just buy overpriced shirts from obscure on this side of the ocean websites, or even more obscure Scandinavian brewers at beer festivals visited in the company of people met at said website.

Hey, it's a step up from when I used to wear Dominion Tank Police, cheap knockoff Anthrax and Calvin & Hobbes t-shirts.

Just call me the man from C&A.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:07 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


That being boring, being forgettable, can really take some doing.

Not really. Survive to middle age and you will find you have discovered invisibility.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:09 PM on February 26 [13 favorites]


Market to me I need more plain, sturdy leather shoes & button down shirts & tapered khakis that make my old ass look less old and assy.

I was with you until "tapered." For God's sakes, why?
posted by psoas at 2:09 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


Modern CPU would just be the plainest stuff at American Apparel.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:10 PM on February 26


anything looks "cool" if someone young and thin is wearing it.

thus explaining the purchase of a stripped linen bright yellow boating jacket oh those many years ago

(Hey Martin, Holland is a secret treasure-trove of sturdy fashion! Screw Paris, Amsterdam is RIGHT THERE and it's CHEAPER)
posted by The Whelk at 2:10 PM on February 26


Modern CPU would just be the plainest stuff at American Apparel.

Yeah, a lot of my CPU inspired stuff is from American Apparel. But not the really uniquely AA styled stuff. T-shirts and hoodies, mostly.
posted by Sara C. at 2:12 PM on February 26


I was with you until "tapered." For God's sakes, why?

They look better?

With
Without
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:13 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


Meh, I'm all about Nerdcore, which mainly consists of jeans and T shirts with Lego and/or pop scifi references printed on them.

That's when I'm not wearing my Workcore business casual as mandated by the employee handbook.
posted by Fleebnork at 2:19 PM on February 26


So, are they still wearing hoodies or what?
posted by spaltavian at 2:19 PM on February 26


Corecore, dress like the nuclear reactor you are.
posted by The Whelk at 2:20 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


I was with you until "tapered." For God's sakes, why?

You're thinking tapered like dad jeans and these abominations. That's bad tapered.

The key is slim fit pant legs. If you've got big billowy legs with tapered ankles, then yes, you're going to look like a doofus. But if the pants are cut slim fit, tapered is actually the I'm-not-20-years-old answer to skinny jeans. Good tapered.
posted by phunniemee at 2:20 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


>That's the Case Pollard units from Pattern Recognition, and I cannot figure out what a CPU would actually look like.

Right here.

Yes, he named a particular brand for one of the CPUs. Pretty sure he was aware of the irony there.
posted by LogicalDash at 2:26 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


maggiemaggie: I saw the article this morning and was actually craving a mefite discussion, but I am disappointed.

I really think there is actually something to this, if you can get past the fact that the slideshow only features stylists. People do seem to be striving to look as much like each other as possible and I find it a bit disconcerting. The 'look at this fucking hipster' trend of the last 10 years, furiously belittling anyone who wears anything different, is all about judging (and sometimes wishing violence on) people solely on how they dress.

And then most young people really have very little money to spend on fashion anyway, so cool kids with no money can sneer at the idea of spending money on clothes. I was surprised the original article didn't bring up that aspect.

Now I'll go read that khole link.


I don't think people are striving to look as much like each other, but when you sink into a close group of friends it happens naturally, just like groups of friends all use the same slang and sort of talk like each other. Those groups of friends tend to be around the same age, so this creates a sense of homogeneity among a generation. Obviously when you break it down everyone is a lot different from each other, but the group is what blogs like "look at this fucking hipster" are focusing on.

The issue with the whole "hipster" ideal is that it's a minority. Most of those trends came from a variety of places, such as Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, even Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco. So-called "hip" places, but in reality they are gigantic cities, so obviously people who are impressionable (e.g. early-mid 20-somethings) are going to pick up on cues. Go to suburban Nevada and try to find the same thing. The majority of the country isn't those cities, so it's ridiculous to deride an entire generation based on what is really just a few cities having more media that saturates everything. Likewise, there are regional differences to the whole hipster thing. Portland and Seattle feature a lot more "hipsters" that are wearing working-class, 1920's-1950's appropriated Pacific Northwest styles ($500 Redwing boots, Pendleton shirts, raw denim, haircuts that look like they're out of Inglorious Basterds, etc.), whereas Los Angeles has a bigger street style (I guess because you could literally find someone walking down the street wearing $10,000 worth of clothing). Keep in mind, these are only my personal observations and I could totally be wrong.

And young people do have money to spend on fashion, they just figure out affordable ways to do so. The whole thrifting "trend" has been derided as being part of the hipster aesthetic, which is really stupid to me because people shouldn't be derided for being frugal. I went to a thrift store and found a $1200+ Burberry trench coat that was selling for $28 and was in perfect condition. Sorry that I took what is literally an amazing deal and went for it. I've seen used boots at Buffalo Exchange that are in awesome condition for $50, when they'd cost 10 times that much new. I didn't buy them because they were a half-size too small for me and I am not about to suffer simply so I can look good in the rain. On top of that, a lot of young people (at least here in Portland, and definitely Seattle, two places that have a higher minimum wage than the federal one) work at jobs where they receive a lot of tips. A person can make what ends up being $15/hr when they are working at a decent restaurant, and that translates into being able to buy items of clothing that are multiple hundreds of dollars. I figure LA is probably worse, because the weather is decent year-around and so you can wear amazing outfits the whole time, but it's cold and rains most of the year here in Portland so there's not a big point to wearing expensive clothes if you're just going to have a coat covering them up the whole time. You spend money on a nice looking coat and boots that are going to help you function throughout winter.

But then again I found a pair of New Balances in a free box here two summers ago and I've been wearing them ever since then, and my summer style consists of wearing underground metal t-shirts from when I was a teenager and cut-off shorts, so what do I know?
posted by gucci mane at 2:30 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


No, I laugh at you for thinking your outward appearance is what makes you special.

Say what you want, but nobody was ever attracted to an especially nice pair of kidneys.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:32 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


The only actual solution to the problem whereby people judge you from your appearance is to prevent them from really looking at you.

There are, actually, established techniques for this. Talking really fast helps. Better if you don't stand still, and though it may not be the best idea to avoid eye contact outright, it doesn't need to be sustained very long at all to achieve the more desirable purpose of indicating you're paying attention.

Wearing boring clothes will probably make all this easier. But you must never pose in them. And if you ever pose for a photograph, basically you didn't really mean what you were doing in the first place, QED.
posted by LogicalDash at 2:37 PM on February 26


What the NY Mag piece doesn't acknowledge is that K-Hole began as a parody of advertising trend reports, and accidentally-on-purpose is a much more accurate and timely trend report than what BCG, JWT Intelligence, et al are making.

It's the same cloth that makes the Colbert Report and Jon Stewart the unlikely sources for the best political news and cultural commentary in the USA right now.
posted by a halcyon day at 2:42 PM on February 26 [7 favorites]


I grew up in NYC in the recession 70s so thrift shops seem to be in my blood. In the 80s I could always count on running into my hipster friends at the neighborhood Salvo.

Then sometime in the 90s it seemed the young people turned against thrift shops. My friends and I used to comment on it.

In the last 5 years I've noticed a real sea change in the clientele at my local Salvo and Goodwill.
posted by maggiemaggie at 2:42 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


We must stop baseball caps from coming back.

heresy! you CANNOT stop baseball caps from coming back!

"For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land."

so there

go get 'em, TIGERS!
posted by pyramid termite at 2:52 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


I've also noticed Goodwills have been getting ...nicer? Better lights, more selection, cleaner stores, more signage and curation. They're buying some seriously expensive real estate in places.
posted by The Whelk at 2:55 PM on February 26


The Goodwill Select stores are cropping up in my town, which are indeed a bit more nicer and aimed at people who might otherwise shop at Walmart or Target.
posted by planetesimal at 3:01 PM on February 26


I work at an exceedingly boring office building in the Midwest, and there is no fashion accessory that makes me grind my teeth, roll my eyes and howl into the void more than a North Face logo.

I dunno, when I was growing up, a North Face coat was basically untouchable-level cool for a lot of guys. Same with certain sneakers brands, and t-shirt brands, and jeans brands. I guess technically everybody was just wearing coats, sneakers, t-shirts and jeans, but it wasn't that people were just "throwing on" whatever they felt like, it was as thought-out and fashion-y and full of cool v. not-cool signals (and infuriatingly expensive) as any clothing styles/trends would have been.

A lot of the people in the slideshow are wearing clothes that fit terribly or are heavy on the off-white/beige (a color seemingly disproportionately popular with white people for some reason?!) or are weird for the weather -- but otherwise, a lot of the styles/trends are what the "The Cool Kids" were wearing when I was a seventh grader or so, right down to the brands and logos. To me, it seems like more 90s faddish stuff -- not necessarily good or bad or strange or anything, just more of the general 90s-style trends that have been going around for at least five years?

In my perspective, it's not that 20-somethings are now dressing like middle-aged-and-up people, it's that even middle-aged-and-up people are now dressing like The Cool Kids did back in the mid-90s. When it got super cold this winter and I was shivering all over the place my dad pulled out a North Face fleece for me to borrow and I started cracking up. But I guess what was considered badass for a kid in 1996 is now considered ho-hum-even-my-dad-wears-it. Thinking of it now, he wears lots of pseudo-preppy Tommy Hilfiger-knockoff looking sweaters too.

Fashion Cycle: Complete.
posted by rue72 at 3:03 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


I spend a lot of time thinking about comfortable unbranded shoes.

They're prohibitively expensive, but Common Projects are amazing for that. Someone needs to do a cheaper version.
posted by cell divide at 3:04 PM on February 26


clothes that fit terribly or are heavy on the off-white/beige (a color seemingly disproportionately popular with white people for some reason?!)

I commented somewhere else on Metafilter a while back that Laurie Metcalf's character from Roseanne was going to be the next big fashion inspiration.

Looking at this slide show, I absolutely couldn't be more right if I had gotten a job as a "Cool Hunter".

ill-fitting, boxy, and beige were all huge early 90's signifiers. Just about all of this "normcore" stuff hearkens back to the 90s.
posted by Sara C. at 3:11 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


Ah yes here we are
posted by Sara C. at 3:15 PM on February 26


However, it brings up something I find interesting, which is how hard it can be to be deliberately boring and unmemorable.

Fashion is *the choice*. You're soaking in it already.
posted by rhizome at 3:26 PM on February 26


I work for a national high-end fashion retailer. We sell looks like this all the time. We sell plain white T-shirts for $65 dollars. This dude's argument is invalid.

Also, on behalf of 90s post-punk, we sincerely apologize for thinking that appending "-core" to every fucking word made things different or better. Our bad.
posted by Errant at 3:26 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


I commented somewhere else on Metafilter a while back that Laurie Metcalf's character from Roseanne was going to be the next big fashion inspiration.

Don't forget Elaine Benes Style! I saw a woman in her 20s just this morning in a calf-length floral print dress + bulky sweatshirt + clunky shoes, a look that reminds me with frightening clarity of trying to seduce one of the guys on my grad students union coordinating committee.
posted by scody at 3:26 PM on February 26 [6 favorites]


Sorry bub, but post-punk is late-70s early 80s.
posted by rhizome at 3:27 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


Fashion is too popular now, say popular fashion figures, so we're dressing like people from the Midwest we saw on Google Maps like animals in the zoo.

Pshaw. These New York hicks are just now getting into the mall clothes we were wearing in Wisconsin in 2008.
posted by escabeche at 3:28 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


All of this aside, I have a theory that Hipster Runoff invented a joke alternate reality sometime in 2008-2009 and now, by some Grant Morrison metaphysical shenanigans, we're all embodying that reality and living inside of it quite seriously.
posted by naju at 3:29 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


Sure. I meant to say "post-hardcore", but I was in a rush. I also said "$65 dollars", which are those special kinds of double-dollars you only get if you're corecore.
posted by Errant at 3:35 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


Mom jeans are back.

Ladies.
posted by pxe2000 at 3:36 PM on February 26


Then sometime in the 90s it seemed the young people turned against thrift shops.

You and I hung out in some different circles in the 90s.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:41 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


If you wear high-waisted jeans with cropped legs (e.g. capri cut), you will look like Grandpa dressed you for the flood.
posted by klangklangston at 3:42 PM on February 26


Given that "normcore" appears to involve dressing like an off-duty postal worker in the 90s, should it not be called "Cliffcore"?

I thankyew.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:47 PM on February 26


ill-fitting, boxy, and beige were all huge early 90's signifiers. Just about all of this "normcore" stuff hearkens back to the 90s.

The photo of the three people in hats was total early/mid '90s; there's some movie poster of the Bill & Ted variety that the photo is reminding me of.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:50 PM on February 26


These people mostly just look like they're from some mid-'90s indie movie. This isn't really how midwesterners, or anyone, dresses in 2014. I pretty much call this look looking like shit. You can get away with it when you're young and cute, but it loses a lot after about 35.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:59 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


Mom jeans are back.

If you want a crash-course in 80's fashion, a reminder that season 2 of the outstanding show The Americans premieres tonight. There are quite a few interviews with the costume designer floating around.

Plus wigs.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:06 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


I pretty much call this look looking like shit. You can get away with it when you're young and cute, but it loses a lot after about 35.

"Get away with it"? Like, you're still willing to talk with people who are young, cute, and badly dressed? Given you care about how they are dressed, I do not think the people this thread is about would consider this a victory.
posted by LogicalDash at 4:08 PM on February 26


Keep in mind that when these 19 year olds are 35, fashions will have completely shifted.

One thing I've noticed is that, as you age out of the vanguard of fashion, you tend to sort of "get off the bus" and whatever your youth zeitgeist was continues to influence your basic precepts about fashion. So by the time these kids are middle aged, wearing a denim shirt buttoned all the way up with track pants and fleece is going to just seem like timeless casualwear. And they're going to have some new horror to warn the youth away from.
posted by Sara C. at 4:15 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


"Get away with it"? Like, you're still willing to talk with people who are young, cute, and badly dressed? Given you care about how they are dressed, I do not think the people this thread is about would consider this a victory.

I have no idea what this means. What I mean is that a fresh-faced twenty-something wearing mom jeans and a dirty lifejacket will be read as some kind of weird hipster; a forty-year-old wearing mom jeans and a dirty lifejacket will probably be read as a paranoid schizophrenic who needs his or her meds.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:16 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


More simply: Age is what we use to make the distinction between "oh, that must be what the kids are doing today" and "Jesus, that guy looks awful."
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:19 PM on February 26 [9 favorites]


So true.

Learned the hard way when I experimented with a baggy deliberately ratty t-shirt from forever 21, recently.

I did not look casual and cool. I looked like somebody wearing a janky old shirt.
posted by Sara C. at 4:25 PM on February 26


Olds are simply not allowed to engage with this stuff on a certain level. "Embarrassing dad trying to engage with youth culture" is not a good look. Just wear a sensible polo and focus on your Roth IRA.
posted by naju at 4:28 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


Fashion is for people with no taste.
posted by valkane at 4:31 PM on February 26





Olds are simply not allowed to engage with this stuff on a certain level. "Embarrassing dad trying to engage with youth culture" is not a good look. Just wear a sensible polo and focus on your Roth IRA.

but karl lagerfeild is literally a million years old
posted by The Whelk at 4:37 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


...and rich.

Makes a difference.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:39 PM on February 26


Also, he's on his own completely separate planet form what anyone else is doing.

I think if you're older and unique, you're good.

If you're older and looking at this slide show and thinking, "hey, I have a baseball cap and track pants and a fleece...", you're probably not going to achieve the desired effect.
posted by Sara C. at 4:52 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


When in doubt, wear black.
posted by monospace at 4:57 PM on February 26


And a fanny pack.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:02 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


I'm just looking at this for reasons to hope that retro fashion is moving on from the 1980s toward the 1990s, because I really don't need to see any more DayGlo shirts or 80s hair around town.
posted by mbrubeck at 5:42 PM on February 26


So this is what the straight-edge movement has wrought. I hope you're happy.
posted by Bwithh at 5:50 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


It's a holding pattern for the fearful.

Thrift shopping for hours to get just the right flavor of unaffected casualness.

Me? It doesn't matter what I wear, my fashion is to walk like a panther.
posted by surplus at 6:28 PM on February 26


Oh God, I don't care if I'm boring. I just want shoes that fit my gnarled, squashed toes and beat up feet that don't cost a fortune, and jeans that fit my ass without gouging me across the waist or fitting directly under my ribcage. Please give me a jacket that the sleeves will come down to my wrists without the shoulders hanging down four inches, and I'd like to find some comfortable cotton underwear in my size that doesn't look like granny panties. Women's gloves that actually fit a wide-handed, short-fingered woman would be too much to expect, I imagine.

Boring is fine. I just don't want to look like a bag lady.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:29 PM on February 26 [5 favorites]


My prediction: we're going to see totally normal people dressing like Gwen Stefani and Marylin Manson soon. When the late 90s hit we truly will be in the bottom of the barrel.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:05 PM on February 26


It's a holding pattern for the fearful.

Thrift shopping for hours to get just the right flavor of unaffected casualness.

Me? It doesn't matter what I wear, my fashion is to walk like a panther.


Aw man that's going to be stuck in my head all night now.

Actually I'm totally fine with this.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:10 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


Look, all i want to know is how much longer i have to wait before girls start dressing like they did in the '80s, you know, spandex and leg warmers and the sleeveless-sweatshirt-off-the-shoulder thing.

Coz i have a thing for that.
posted by ELF Radio at 7:16 PM on February 26 [4 favorites]


negative 10 years
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:19 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


Pretty sure that was huge in the mid 00's and has since fallen out of favor... sorry to say, you'll have to wait another 20 years for the fashion to cycle in again.
posted by naju at 7:20 PM on February 26


I saw a woman in her 20s just this morning in a calf-length floral print dress + bulky sweatshirt + clunky shoes, a look that reminds me with frightening clarity of trying to seduce one of the guys on my grad students union coordinating committee.

See, to me that look says "cool girl at the Belle & Sebastian show, ca. 1997" (especially when accompanied by the obligatory lunchbox-used-as-a-purse).
posted by octobersurprise at 7:31 PM on February 26 [2 favorites]


I read it as 'nomcore', which I guess would be rejecting individualism for comfort eating. I think we can all identify with that.

Funny, I read what you typed as "norncore".
posted by A dead Quaker at 7:32 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


especially when accompanied by the obligatory lunchbox-used-as-a-purse

I once had a supervisor have to explain to me that a lime green plastic angler's basket was not an appropriate handbag for the office.
posted by scody at 7:38 PM on February 26 [5 favorites]


Danish school bags 4 eva.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:58 PM on February 26


"The demographic leading the normcore trend is, by and large, Western Millennials and digital natives."

...love how they don't even consider the millions of regular workaday people for whom normcore is just called "clothes" in an article that is about as close as the fashion industry comes to a self-aware moment.

Anti-fashion? No...because the above statement reiterates that this isn't just about wearing what is practical, comfortable, utilitarian, and commonly available - this is about wearing what is practical, comfortable, utilitarian and commonly available ironically. It's about looking like a 'regular' person but doing so with a little wink. Oh how in you are wearing that fleece jacket and those from-Ross jeans - insofar as you just went out and bought them after dressing like whatever the disgusting sartorial blogs told you to be wearing for the last 4 years.

You also get to pat yourself on the back and score ego points while you talk about how dressing 'normal' is the only true individual move on the fashion scene. How meta! How transcendent! Hope you're not still holding onto that Northface fleece in a year when the wind changes. God forbid you'd continue to wear an item of clothing without trying to make a statement, but instead because it is comfortable and warm and practical and doesn't have holes in it. Because then you wouldn't be so on-trend as to relate to the fashion section at nymag. Barf.

And what the hell is a 'digital native'? This whole article made me want to scrape my face off. Your time would quite literally be better spent having diarrhea than looking through any of the artciles on nymags "The Cut."

'Fashion' rarely seems like anything but a coping mechanism for those with tremendously fragile egos.
posted by jnnla at 8:43 PM on February 26 [3 favorites]


Findcore: I only wear clothes I've found discarded on the street.
posted by telstar at 9:06 PM on February 26


"Pretty sure that was huge in the mid 00's and has since fallen out of favor... sorry to say, you'll have to wait another 20 years for the fashion to cycle in again."

Nah. Come to LA, nothing's ever out of fashion. We live neck deep in retro.
posted by klangklangston at 10:44 PM on February 26 [1 favorite]


Without question, this is absolutely the dumbest thing I've ever read on Metafilter.

Not saying the poster is wrong to post, but this is so ridiculous it made me think it was a hoax.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 4:15 AM on February 27 [4 favorites]


When I buy my clothes the look is dressed.
When the clothes start to age the look is shabby chic.
Then the look is grunge.
Then the look is bum.
Then I buy some clothes.
At some point during the lifetime of the clothing I look temporarily fashionable.
posted by vicx at 5:38 AM on February 27 [1 favorite]


'Fashion' rarely seems like anything but a coping mechanism for those with tremendously fragile egos.

I wouldn't take it too personally. As absurd as the fashion industry and its hangers-on can be—and this about takes the cake—it isn't more absurd than the sports or entertainment industries and their hangers-on. And as painful as "digital native" is, it isn't more painful than most tech or marketing jargon. (Every time I hear "born-digital," the locution libraries and publishers now use to designate originally digital materials, I grind my teeth.)

I guess what I'm saying is that lots of people do lots of things to cope with their fragile egos. And I'd appreciate if you didn't dispute me on that; I don't think my ego could take it.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:26 AM on February 27 [3 favorites]


"Millennial" and "digital native" are both marketing terms, really, rather than fashion terms. Which makes them no less awkward, but does make one wonder why a fashion writer would think welding on globs of marketing-speak would make their copy better.

On closer inspection:
Brad’s source for the term was the trend forecasting collective (and fellow artists) K-Hole.
.

Ah.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:53 AM on February 27 [1 favorite]


When in doubt, wear many different shades of white and beige.
posted by oceanjesse at 6:55 AM on February 27


"You laugh at me because I'm different, I laugh at you because you're all the same."

-- T-shirt at Hot-Topic


I know someone who just got this as a giant back tattoo. (Not the "T-shirt at Hot-Topic" bit! Although that would be funny.)
posted by hapax_legomenon at 7:16 AM on February 27 [3 favorites]


Mom jeans are back.

Article title: The Right Way to Wear 'Mom Jeans' (For Real)

Looking at pictures, it seems that the right way to wear them is to be young and skinny.

Fashion seems to have two rules, pace Reddit (and some commenters above):

1.) Be attractive.
2.) Don't be unattractive.

Everything else is detail.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 7:25 AM on February 27 [5 favorites]


> I am also too old to really "understand" K-Hole, but I believe it's an art project masquerading as a trend forecasting company?

I didn't read too closely, but this was the impression I got. The article and source seemed to be, deliberately or otherwise, about the act of forecasting a trend (and maybe the pleasure of discussing it?). Forecast as essay or opinion piece.

On the other hand, they're also available for business consulting and the 'youth != age, youth = freedom, YOUTH MODE' thingy is (sardonic?) middle of the road as far as advertising is concerned. So maybe they ride both sides of the teeter totter.

I do love that their 'tweet' buttons are just plain buttons, though.
posted by postcommunism at 7:43 AM on February 27


Actually, reading further, the PDF is great:
There’s a theory that a man’s style is just a reiteration of what he wore the last time he was “really getting laid” — thus the cargo shorts.
and
NORMCORE
• SITUATIONAL
• NON-DETERMINISTIC
• ADAPTABLE
• UNCONCERNED WITH AUTHENTICITY
• EMPATHY OVERTOLERANCE
• POST-ASPIRATIONAL
or
Individuality was once the path to personal freedom — a way to
lead life on your own terms. [picture of a determined-looking dude alone on a theme park ride]
I did once buy a pair of plain white sneakers described as "generic man product." I was delighted until I learned it was an actual brand. Later they fell apart.
posted by postcommunism at 7:54 AM on February 27 [3 favorites]


Normcore: The Millennial Trucker-Hat.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:00 AM on February 27


Foamcore, dress as a vital but loathed presentation medium.
posted by The Whelk at 9:02 AM on February 27 [5 favorites]


Fashion seems to have two rules, pace Reddit (and some commenters above):

1.) Be attractive.
2.) Don't be unattractive.

Everything else is detail.


Pace reddit? That's, like, reddit's refrain
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:27 AM on February 27


Yes, it took me some years to realize that "pace" meant "contrary to."
posted by rhizome at 9:50 AM on February 27 [1 favorite]


Hmm, yes. This page lists "with due deference to" among the lists of meanings, and this is generally how I have seen it used, but I do see the, "Used to politely acknowledge someone with whom the speaker or writer disagrees."

Well, I don't disagree, so I guess I don't mean pace.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 10:41 AM on February 27


There’s a theory that a man’s style is just a reiteration of what he wore the last time he was “really getting laid”

I fucking love this and am going to start using that instead of my "there's a point where you get off the fashion bus" thing. Because clearly your stop on the fashion bus is the last time you were really getting laid.
posted by Sara C. at 10:48 AM on February 27 [3 favorites]


Fashion seems to have two rules, pace Reddit (and some commenters above):

1.) Be attractive.
2.) Don't be unattractive.

Everything else is detail.


Relevant.
posted by phunniemee at 11:15 AM on February 27 [1 favorite]


SITUATIONAL
• NON-DETERMINISTIC
• ADAPTABLE
• UNCONCERNED WITH AUTHENTICITY
• EMPATHY OVERTOLERANCE
• POST-ASPIRATIONAL


More than anything this reminds me of the Gen X/"postmodern" style of movies like Reality Bites and Ghostworld.
posted by Sara C. at 11:19 AM on February 27 [1 favorite]


Lindy West rhymes with best for a reason"

Now, the practitioners of "normcore" have oodles of high-minded theory about the art behind their Adidas shower shoes. (More on that in a minute!) But I have to say, hot young people wearing ugly clothes is as old as the hills, and is quite obviously a form of BRAGGIN'. It says, "Look how hot I am. I am so hot that even these pleated jeans cannot mask my hotness. I am hot even in this maxidress covered in cherries. I'm hot in my sleeveless flannel David Silver hoodie, and I'm hot in this mother-of-the-bride 2-piece tunic and blazer set from 1992. I am hot even in these shoes or these fucking abominations and I am wearing these JNCOs with a vest made out of a tapestry on purpose and I still look amazing. All shall love me and DESPAIR!"

COME ON, MODELS. YOU KNOW YOU DO THAT.

And it's totally fine that you do that! But come on. You totally do that.


from: Fashion's 'Normcore' Trend Is Basically Brian Krakow Cosplay
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:26 PM on February 27 [4 favorites]


This is a wonderful idea, but the execution is kind of lacking. None of these people look at all generic and forgettable to me.
posted by d. z. wang at 8:47 PM on February 27


Bardcore is when you talk in nothing but iambic pentameter.
It is the Bardcore that I talk today.
posted by mono blanco at 6:06 AM on February 28 [1 favorite]


...I was just looking at a photo on a fashion tumblr of a guy wearing expensive marled tapered sweatpants, a half-tucked-in black tee, a structured charcoal twill jacket and laced up yellow-tan workboots - not unlike Wolverine 1000 miles, but they look more expensive to my eye. It struck me that this is precisely the type of outfit that is an artifact of tumblr (by way of street fashion blogs) in that it would be exceedingly messy if you actually wore it around, but the variety of textures and shapes looks good in a photo, partly because the actual contrast of textures that you would perceive in the flesh is less apparent in a photo. In the flesh, you've got these loose, clompy boots (sockless in the photo, designed to be worn with big socks) and the extremely body-following texture of the sweats and the stiffness and lack of flow of the very structured twill - it's going to be a mess. But it looks good for the camera.

An awful lot of what is current (whether "normcore" or this sort of thing) is designed for the camera - far more than previous generations' clothes, because there's far more dispersal of images. Like, if you're wearing schleppy jeans, they probably look really insouciant and good from two angles and extremely unflattering most of the time - but if your main feedback about how you look is posed photos, and your main purpose is to blog your outfit, it doesn't matter. (I say this as someone who has worked very, very hard to wear oversized pleated pants - I love them! I adore them! And it is so, so hard to find a pair that looks good for more than those two poses in the mirror!)
posted by Frowner at 6:38 AM on February 28 [5 favorites]


FINALLY! My time to shine.
posted by Skwirl at 8:09 AM on February 28


An awful lot of what is current (whether "normcore" or this sort of thing) is designed for the camera - far more than previous generations' clothes, because there's far more dispersal of images.

I also feel like there's a camera-performative style of dressing which bears very little resemblance to what an actual person would really wear in real life. Sometimes I'll be looking at Tumblr or Pinterest and feel like, while the person looks cool, it's in reality way too much "look" for everyday.

Every once in a while I consider the idea that all those OOTD and Wardrobe Remix blogs are shams just done for the traffic, because I pretty much never see people dressed like that in everyday life.
posted by Sara C. at 9:27 AM on February 28


Here's another reason things look great on camera but not in real life. Photogs use binder clips to hold back all looseness. Lately i've even noticed this done on mannequins at the mall.
posted by rebent at 9:40 AM on February 28


There’s a theory that a man’s style is just a reiteration of what he wore the last time he was “really getting laid”

welp
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:57 AM on February 28 [2 favorites]


There’s a theory that a man’s style is just a reiteration of what he wore the last time he was “really getting laid”


(Ad voiceover) "That's why, when a man wants to look his best, he wears nothing but socks."
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:09 AM on February 28 [1 favorite]


This message brought to you by the National Nothing But Socks Council.
posted by mbrubeck at 12:20 PM on February 28 [2 favorites]


>I have no idea what this means. What I mean is that a fresh-faced twenty-something wearing mom jeans and a dirty lifejacket will be read as some kind of weird hipster; a forty-year-old wearing mom jeans and a dirty lifejacket will probably be read as a paranoid schizophrenic who needs his or her meds.

Well, actually taking it all the way into mental disorder territory means you're now being offensive to actual schizophrenics and people with bad hygiene, which I don't think is what you were saying exactly. I think you were saying that people who attempt normalcore slob-fashion while not quite in the box of normative beauty will be read as ugly.

And my point was that that was their point.

And if you don't like it, hate away, but you seem to be under the impression that you are arguing against someone. You aren't. Some people want to be hated.
posted by LogicalDash at 12:53 PM on February 28


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