Has the cast from Seinfeld become the new fashion barometer?
Great news, average American citizen. You are now cutting edge, über cool and part of the in crowd, all without even trying. You are the inspiration for the latest and hottest new fashion trend: “normcore”.
In case you, like me, did not get the memo from the cool kids, normcore is a fashion trend which basically says that dressing like a normal person — jeans, cargo shorts, t-shirts, hoodies, sneakers and other ordinary wardrobe staples — is suddenly “trés chic” and worthy of mass duplication by fashionistas. Surely you are proudly busting out of your Hanes undershirt for inspiring such an elite group.
You may have been too busy working your two jobs to pay for your kids’ college tuition to have had a chance to follow this exciting news. Normcore was cited as a fashion trend in late 2013 by K-Hole, a trend forecasting group, in its report “Youth Mode: A Report on Freedom.” The report reads like self-indulgent high school kids wrote it after being grounded for breaking curfew, and to express their disaffectation and dissatisfaction with life, they used the thesaurus to find big words and made up catch phrases (like “post-authenticity coolness”).
The trendy desire to dress like an LL Bean catalogue model, it seems from K-Hole’s report, stems from the fact that fashion mavens’ previous stylings and life choices left them feeling hollow, pretentious, and searching aimlessly and unsuccessfully for connection. Striving to differentiate themselves with avant garde wardrobe choices or going vegan and gluten free did not bring authenticity or happiness. And it did not get them into any A-list parties either. Obviously, a change was necessary! According to normcore, “The most different thing is to reject being different altogether.” Thus, time for cargo shorts.
Normcore followers fail to leave behind the elitist trappings from which they claim they want to escape. In essence, they are smugly saying, “Hey, typical American schlub, really cool people like me, want to look like ordinary people like you. Don’t you feel validated now?” They miss the point of being real — wearing what’s comfortable, not worrying about impressing people, enjoying whatever makes you happy without worrying about if its cool, and not following trends like lemmings off a cliff.
Guess what, normcore folks. Bad news! A wardrobe change isn’t going to fix what ails you. You’re just poseurs in Gap jeans. A real normal person can spot you a mile away. You lack the wrinkles in your pants that you got while driving around in your mini van to your middle management job. You do not have snot or food smeared on your t-shirt; and you most certainly couldn’t guess, based on the snot’s location on the shirt, the age of the child who deposited the snot. Your baseball hat doesn’t have the sweat stains around the brim caused by a hard day’s work or from helping your neighbor move furniture. You lack the depth, fortitude, individuality and gravitas of real folks.
The normcore movement mimics the story, The Emperor’s New Clothes, except now the hipster is wearing pleated khakis. And like the Emperor, normcore wannabes have been exposed.
Lisa Perez Tighe has been an attorney, writer and a professor. She attended the University of Notre Dame and New York University School of Law. A native of the Bronx, Lisa currently resides outside of Boston with her husband and four children.