“Michael, there are people that dress like comedians, and there are people that act like comedians… You? You dress like one.”
That sentence was one of the earliest memories I had of my friend Rob. A conversation out of the blue as I was driving around my hometown with three other friends, as we were looking for something to do.
In my defence for my younger days, (and probably now as well… I guess) my family has spent more time dressing me than I have. Clothes that I personally don’t care for, but it’s better to wear anything than to run about naked in a cold/wet Canadian hole in the wall.
Rob, along with every other friend proceeded to give me tips on how to act like a comedian. I assume it’s because I wrote something really funny, that was a major contrast to how big of a dork I looked.
Small towns have a normative, in terms of how they’re all dressed. It’s called ‘clothing is clothing’ and we’re all honestly guilty of it. Sure you have your sets that you would wear on special occasions or to just look/feel nice, but for the most part we don’t wear clothing to make statements, or do it because of fads. We do it because we need to wear something.
Think about it next time you buy your 147th novelty t-shirt online, of pac-man eating a pizza or [ghostbuster reference]. It’ll get to a point where you’re just buying a t-shirt because you have to. You’ve bought too many of those things, so they’ve lost they’re meaning. But hey, at least you’ve put a shirt on.
So when I hear something like Normcore (which sadly has nothing to do with Norm MacDonald releasing a rap album), I’m suddenly transported to 13 years ago. Some sort of new trend where the whole point is to dress like everybody else, but the only difference is you’re rationalizing why it’s a trend. Some sort of Mock-hipster statement where the clothing is your dad’s plaid button-up tee but not really.
I think it’s hard to keep up with fashionable trends when all you want to do is wear clothes. When I look back at everything I’ve lived through with the likes of Grunge, Punk, Scene, Emo, Goth, and so on, I’m sure I’ve dabbled in it here and there. I just can’t help but feel like the trend of Normcore has always just been there. It’s an after school special where you find out that you’ve been dressing the normcore all along.
Normcore isn’t a trend or expression of anything, it’s a broad spectrum of how we just want to be. If you’re out at the mall, going to work, or out for a night at the club, you’re always going to find yourself dressing like everyone else. You will always be normcore.
But what is normal anyway?
I’ve also heard someone explain it as dressing like you’re in an old Seinfeld sitcom. A show notorious for not being about anything. Not having style, not trailblazing fads, just being what it is.
But wait a minute… You’re picking a show based on how a comedian dresses. Seinfeld acted like a comedian, and he also dressed like one. So if dressing like a comedian is normcore– well, I’d hate to hipster up your fancy new fad but…
I was normcore before it was cool.