Sunday, February 25, 2018
Perspective

Mismatched styles? Clashing patterns? Oh, so 'normcore'

Life is confusing, and sometimes terrifying. To remain sane and grounded we must jealously hold on to knowledge that anchors us, eternal truths upon which we can rely. Example: Cows moo. Example: Day follows night follows day. Example: If you wear sandals with socks, you are a pitiful dweeb.

That last one is important to me because of how little else I know about fashion. I know as much about fashion as you know about advanced quantum string theory, unless you happen to be an advanced quantum physicist, in which case I know as much about fashion as you know about motocross.

My point is that my fashion ignorance at least has a basement. The bar is low, but it is there. I can still feel superior to those persons — in my experience, usually bony-kneed senior citizens — who wear sandals with socks. I have relentlessly made fun of such people in print, from a position of superiority. It feels good.

But just the other day a friend forwarded me an article from a New York City online publication that is so hip its name — DNAinfo.com — doesn't even inform you that it is a publication. It specializes in local news from trendy, upscale neighborhoods, and one article says sandals with socks is now cool.

I wrote to the author of the piece, Serena Solomon, and told her who I was and how seriously she had shaken one of the bedrock foundations of my life. She pointed out that this socks-sandals thing may be part of something much bigger and told me that I might want to check into "the whole normcore trend thing."

I did. It turns out that among the young elite in New York City, a new kind of fashion seems to be spontaneously emerging. It is nihilistic, based on an awareness that there are 7 billion people in the world, ergo that no one is special, so why bother putting on airs? It is hard to describe "normcore," but after viewing a slide show, I will try:

It is "bad" dressing. People wear any old thing, put together without forethought in what amounts to a blunt rejection of "fashion." Mismatches. Clashes. Not a trace of flair. Untied shoes. In short, me. I am currently trending, and hip. Talk about shaking one's eternal truths.

© 2014 Washington Post

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