We know it’s hard to keep up with the ever-changing trends. Right when you’ve fully embraced one, the high-fashion set is already onto the next. By now, you’re fully versed on all things cottagecore, cabincore and dark academia. Now, let’s introduce you to the normcore aesthetic. There’s something a bit different about this trend. We’ve had it on our radar for sometime now, and we’re confident this one will stick around.
You may have heard this term floating around social media or seen it discussed on your favorite fashion websites. While normcore’s meaning is slightly broad and elusive, we have the insights into what makes this trend stand out. Or, rather, blend in. Eager to learn more? Good. Follow along as we break down the meaning and history behind the normcore aesthetic. And, not to worry, we’ll also give you cues on how to dress the part. Read on for all things ubiquitously normal.
What is Normcore? Your Questions, Answered.
Just what exactly is the normcore aesthetic, you may ask? The idea behind this movement is, well, just as the name suggests. Normal to the core. When it comes to women’s fashion, normcore is all about accepting plain simplicity. Yes, on purpose. This trend embraces the feeling of sameness, rather than striving for difference and individuality. We’re talking simple, nondescript clothing pieces with very little identifying factors such as brand names or logos. The plainer, the better. Essentially, the idea is to blend into a crowd and be unrecognizable from any other person in said crowd. Think unpretentious, average-looking clothing. Minimalist style. Dressing like your dad did in the early 1990s. Got all those visuals in mind? Great. Then you’re well on your way to embracing the normcore aesthetic.
Regarding gender rules, the normcore aesthetic knows no bounds. Perhaps one of the best parts about this trend is that ambiguity is woven deep into its foundation. That means you’ll want to cast aside traditionally gender-specific pieces like women’s blouses and dresses as well as men’s neckties. Instead, reach for simple, unisex styles that appeal to all genders and draw inspiration from anywhere and anybody.
The History of the Normcore Aesthetic
Before we dive deeper, let’s take a quick look at how this movement came to be. This term has actually been around for quite a while, first introduced in 2009 by way of popular webcomic “Templar, Arizona.” In 2013, New York-based trend-forecasting company, K-Hole picked up this new phrase and introduced it into the cultural lexicon. Seemingly portrayed as a joke at the start, this idea of rebellion against mainstream fashion statements developed into something significant. By 2014, the normcore aesthetic officially hit the pages of Vogue and the rest was history. Quite literally, as the root of normcore is nestled deep in the fashion of years past.
Inspiration and Pop-Culture Icons of this Ubiquitous Trend
Perhaps you need a little inspiration to help you bring the normcore aesthetic to life in your mind. We’ve got you covered. To start, look no further than everyone’s two favorite 90s sitcoms, “Seinfeld” and “Friends.” More specifically, the early seasons of both shows, anywhere from 1994 to 1998—the height of 90s fashion, if you will. Did you ever think you’d look up to Elaine Benes or Chandler Bing as your style idol? Neither did we. But one look at their seemingly normal outfits has us wanting to dress the part of a simpler time. Chandler’s iconic sweater vests? Yes, please. And, of course, Elaine’s double-breasted oversized blazers. In reality, the normcore aesthetic was long established before it was even a trend.
Another inspiration that quickly comes to mind is Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple. He embodied this trend with his everyday uniform of a basic black turtleneck, light-wash jeans and chunky white sneakers. Early adopters of normcore also give a nod to Cayce Pollard, the protagonist in author William Gibson’s novel, “Pattern Recognition.” This character is best described as being logo-phobic, wearing clothes devoid of any brand name mention.
Dressing for the Normcore Aesthetic
By now, you’re fully briefed on the history and influences of normcore and ready to put your own spin on it. But maybe you’re still wondering, what is my style, and curious to see how easy it is to put a women’s normcore outfit together. Don’t worry, we’ve got you. Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is the idea of comfort. This trend casts a large focus on dressing yourself in pieces that maximize comfort, no matter the occasion. Sounds pretty good, if you ask us. Let’s dive into the tops, bottoms and layers you need to create the ultimate normcore outfit.
Normcore Aesthetic: Tops and Bottoms
The base of any women’s normcore outfit is the perfect pair of jeans. But take a pause before you reach for your trusty skinnies. Not all jeans are made equal. You’ll want to swap your slim-fitting pair for Gen Z’s preferred silhouette, the mom jean. Characterized by a higher rise and a relaxed-leg fit, these were the ultimate style for 90s moms everywhere. Who would have guessed that this throwback trend is one of the leading styles for 2022 women’s fashion? An ideal pair gives the illusion of anonymous denim, with no brand awareness at all. So grab that seam-ripper and carefully remove any logo tag you may have on the back. When it comes to the wash, a light to medium denim is best. If you’re looking for a denim alternative, add a pleated khaki trouser or a classic grey sweatpant to the rotation.
Next, grab a plain T-shirt to tuck into your jeans. Any neutral color will do, but we love a good solid white T-shirt. The neckline of choice? A standard crew neck. You can do a full-tuck or a simple front-tuck. This one is up to you and your personal style. Other go-to shirt options that fall under the normcore aesthetic include simple mock necks or solid-colored pullover sweatshirts. And let’s not forget about that aforementioned sweater vest or oversized, menswear-inspired blazer. Want to add additional warmth to your outfit? Read on for even more outerwear layering options.
Normcore Aesthetic: Layers, Shoes and Finishing Touches
No women’s normcore fashion look would be complete without the perfect layering piece. However, with this trend, layers are meant to actually be, well, layers. We’re talking practical and functional pieces designed to keep you warm. Groundbreaking, isn’t it? Think no-nonsense, all-purpose pieces like a quarter-zip fleece pullover or a water-resistant windbreaker. Normcore followers also frequently choose winter-ready styles like quilted puffer vests and jackets.
Wondering what shoes you need to complete your normcore aesthetic? Look no further than the chunky-soled sneaker. The best brands to try? Reebok and New Balance, of course. Once characterized as the ultimate dad shoe, this style has evolved into the it choice of normcore fashion. If you’re looking for a sneaker alternative, try the always-sensible foam clog or the ever-versatile velcro sandal. Complete your footwear choice with a pair of white tube socks. Yes, even with the sandal. This move is possibly the ultimate nod to the dad-brand style and we can’t get enough. The finishing touch of choice for the normcore crowd is the classic baseball hat. Rep your favorite team or tourist locale by tucking your tresses under one before you head out the door.
Looking to experiment with the normcore aesthetic? Our style experts are here to help. Take your style quiz, then sit back and relax. We’ll send five carefully curated styles you can try on in the comfort of your own home. Or, head over to Stitch Fix Freestyle™ to instantly buy pieces that are in tune with this trend. Buy what you love and return the rest. Shipping, exchanges and returns are always free.