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Normcore is a unisex fashion trend characterized by unpretentious, normal-looking clothing.


"Normcore" is a portmanteau of the words "normal" and "hardcore". The word first appeared in the webcomic Templar, Arizona before 2009[1] and was later employed by K-Hole, a trend forecasting group,[2][3][4][5] in an October 2013 report called "Youth Mode: A Report on Freedom".[6][7]

As used by K-Hole, "normcore" referred to an attitude, not a particular code of dress. It was intended to mean "finding liberation in being nothing special."[8] However, a piece in New York magazine that began popularizing the term in February 2014[6] conflated it with "Acting Basic", another K-Hole concept which involved dressing neutrally to avoid standing out. It was this sense of "normcore" which gained popular usage.[8] The characters featured on the television series Seinfeld are frequently cited as exemplifying the aesthetics and ethos of normcore fashion.[9][10]

The word was named runner-up for neologism of the year by the Oxford University Press in 2014.[6]

"Normcore" was added to the AP Stylebook in 2016.[11]


Normcore wearers are people who do not wish to distinguish themselves from others by their clothing.[12] This is not to mean that they are unfashionable people who wear whatever comes to hand, but that they consciously choose clothes that are undistinguished – except, frequently, for a highly visible label to impart prestige. The "normcore" trend has been interpreted as a reaction to fashion oversaturation resulting from ever faster-changing fashion trends.[13]

Normcore clothes include everyday items of casual wear such as t-shirts, hoodies, short-sleeved shirts, jeans and chino pants, but not items such as neckties or blouses. These clothes are worn by men and women alike, making normcore a unisex style.[13]

Clothes that meet the "normcore" description are mainly sold by large fashion and retail chains such as The Gap,[14] Jack & Jones, Superdry, Jigsaw and Esprit. They are generally cheaply produced in East Asian countries. Many other retailers such as Marc O'Polo, Woolrich, Desigual, Closed and Scotch & Soda produce normcore-like clothes combined with individual design ideas.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Friedman, Nancy (March 2\3, 2014). "Word of the Week: normcore", Fritinancy. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  2. ^ Williams, Alex (April 2, 2014). "The New Normal", The New York Times. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  3. ^ Duncan, Fiona (February 26, 2014). "Normcore: Fashion for Those Who Realize They’re One in 7 Billion", New York. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  4. ^ Cochrane, Lauren (February 27, 2014). "Normcore: The Next Big Fashion Movement?", The Guardian. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  5. ^ Frank, Thomas (April 27, 2014). "Hipsters, They're Just Like Us! "Normcore," Sarah Palin, and the GOP's Big Red State Lie", Salon. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  6. ^ a b c Benson, Richard (17 December 2014). "Normcore: how a spoof marketing term grew into a fashion phenomenon". Retrieved 18 December 2014. 
  7. ^ Tschorn, Adam (May 18, 2014). "Normcore Is (or Is It?) a Fashion Trend (or Non-Trend or Anti-Trend)", Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  8. ^ a b Gorton, Thomas. "Everyone's getting normcore wrong, say its inventors". Dazed. Retrieved November 18, 2014. 
  9. ^ Kim, Eun Kyung (March 5, 2014). "Normcore: 'Seinfeld' look turns bland into fashion trend". 
  10. ^ "The Real Meaning Of Normcore, The Fashion Trend That Went Oddly Viral". The Huffington Post. 
  11. ^ "AP style changes take effect with debut of redesigned Stylebook". June 1, 2016. 
  12. ^ Ferrier, Morwenna (June 21, 2014). "The End of the Hipster: How Flat Caps and Beards Stopped Being So Cool". The Guardian. Retrieved July 8, 2014. 
  13. ^ a b c van Rooijen, Jeroen (May 30, 2014). "Trendthema "Normcore": Die Mittelpracht". Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Retrieved May 31, 2014. 
  14. ^ Franzen, Carl. "Watch David Fincher's normcore ads for The Gap". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 

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