Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Perspective

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

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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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