'Normcore': The Rise Of Basic Fashion

Mar 16, 2021
07:00 A.M.
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We’re over twelve months into the pandemic, and there’s never been a better time for basic fashion. On some days, you can make a fashion statement, and on others, you’re glad that you’re dressed.


Being uncool is the new cool in fashion, with mom jeans and dad sneakers making trends. Items that were considered ugly like UGGs are also in style now, further proving that basic is back.

Nowadays, one wouldn’t tell whether someone is a tourist or an art student because of their fashion choices. Read more to explore this anti-fashion phenomenon called ‘normcore’ and how it rose.

What Is Normcore?


Normcore is a fashion term that became popular in the 2010s. More people started dressing less conventionally fashionable and opted for trainers and hoodies, influencing a rise in anti-fashion style.

“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.”

Says Freelance Stylist Jeremy Lewis


Like Garmento founder Jeremy Lewis, many prefer normcore because it is a practical styling option. Instead of being a fashion follower, normcore lovers style their clothes for practical, fuss-free reasons.

The Rise Of Normcore


It hasn’t been a long time since people dressed plainly on purpose. The term ‘normcore’ first reached the fashion scene in 2009 but peaked in popularity in 2013 after the trend forecasting group ‘K-Hole’ used it in a report.

Alice Goddard, the founder of ‘Hot and Cool,’ curated an editorial in 2013 that pivoted normcore style. The magazine used Google Maps street view screenshots that featured plainly dressed subjects from a small town.


“... the people we were finding on Google Maps obviously had no idea they were being photographed, and yet their outfits were, to me, more interesting.”

Says Alice Goddard

Alice formatted the editorial to parody street style photography to show how ‘regular’ fashion could look fantastic. This editorial sparked many more conversations about the normcore fashion trend, which rose from then.

Normcore For Connections


While some may argue that normcore is consists of lazy styling, others see an opportunity for connection. K-Hole’s Emily Segal explains that this fashion trend welcomes the possibility of being unrecognizable.

There are over 7 billion people globally, and looking similar to most of them gives you a blank slate. Not standing out gives one the ability to connect to anyone else instead of erasing your identity.


Although normcore reached its peak in the 2010s, last year’s loungewear phenomenon brought it back. UGGs and crocs were trending more than ever, and the Northface puffer jackets became a style staple.

Besides being apart, people felt connected more than ever due to the pandemic since we experienced it the same. What better way to keep those connections going than through fashion instead of a virus this year?