Normcore; What Is It

What is ‘Normcore’?

It is a term coined together with the words ‘normal’ and ‘hardcore’, which represents the movement that took hold in 2014. Originally invented by the New York group K-Hole---a trend-forecasting organisation---Normcore is an irony itself because "there's no such thing as normal". It has relatively simple and basic elements that accentuate on natural and free-spirited quality. Therefore, it is easy for anyone to deliberate this style but simultaneously, it requires some effort to come across as fashionable as it could end up being too ‘plain’ or 'boring'.

(According to the Urban Dictionary, ‘Normcore’ is denoted as being ‘dangerously regular’. )


Why ‘Normcore’?

To list a couple of several reasons:

  1. It is the understanding of how temporal and inconsistent consumer choices are, thus adapting a non-exclusive wardrobe.
  2. Simplicity is equatable to eco-friendly movements that are widespread worldwide.

Here are some tips on Normcore styling:


From left: Park Jiyoon, So Yihyun, Go Ara



Kiko Mizuhara




First, the skin requires only a 

light coverage

, nothing complex. Normcore-style makeup is not about flawless, porcelain-smooth skin. Rather, freckles and moles give a more natural look to the make-up. Use blushers that give your cheeks a sun-kissed shade. For eye make-up, it isn’t necessary to apply any. If required, brown eyeshadows that match the skin color and some mascara would be sufficient. For lips, it is alright to apply nude or bright lipsticks; whichever gives a naturally healthy color to the face.





Iconic items of Normcore style include: Adidas sneakers, plain white shirts, Birkenstock, training pants, windbreakers, Nike socks, baseball caps, rolled up jeans, sandals, etc. However, merely wearing these does not suffice true fashionistas. Some tips on pulling off the it-items:

  • Contrast: Make sure the top and bottom are contrasting ( For instance, if you are wearing a loose-fitting top, you should choose a more tight-fitting bottom such as skinny jeans or bandage skirt. If you are wearing top and bottom of similar color/shade, they should be of different material.)
  • Accessorize: If the clothing seems too plain, wearing complementary accessories or shoes helps to blend your attire without looking overly ostentatious.
  • Casual Shoe-wear: If the style still looks too formal, sneakers and loafers will certainly down the tone a notch. 





Once again, "natural" and "undone" look is the point of this style. Thus, instead of bleaching, highlighting and blowing out, basic hair colors and simple hair styles are preferred. Tousled ponytails and hair buns are chosen over straightened or curled hair. Hair is like an accessory, thus the hairstyle should usually be a quick style-and-go. Being virtually effortless in preparation, Normcore is very applicable to the everyday commuter who lives in countries that are usually hot or humid; its practicality and seamless adaptation to the situation is what makes it attractive at its core. 

People may find it a challenge to distinguish 'casual' from 'normcore'. True enough, there is a fine line between the two styles, which could appear rather vague for the less sensitive. It is important to understand that

'normcore' seeks coolness among sameness

. 'Casual' is a broad term that encompasses many definitions, which could be 'free and easy' or 'simple' or 'unmindful'. Whichever it points at, it seldom hints individuality or originality of the style. Meanwhile, 'normcore' is versatile in terms of situations. One need not be fixated on the authenticity of the style. By adapting to the norm, it finds liberation.

In local context, limitation to style is bound to exist. For example, it would not be sensible to wear a wool blazer coat or fur boots in the heat of 32 degrees Celsius all-year round. Such confines would seem to hinder creativity and new combinations, but 'normcore' is more about flexibility and adaptability rather than uniqueness and difference. Thus, instead of forcefully overcoming physical limitation such as weather and geography, it is wiser to analyse your strengths and weakness to know what to complement and deduct.

So why not try "normcore" today? It conveys so much comfort and convenience in the midst of the buzz of life, yet it allows expression of uniqueness of each individual!

"Having mastered difference, the truly cool attempt to master sameness."

- K-Hole

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