This Is What Normcore Style Looks Like in 2023

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(Image credit: @tylynnnguyen)

It’s been over eight years since the term normcore entered our collective consciousness, and while its popularity has ebbed and flowed, the fascination with the aesthetic is still going strong. The term itself has had such an impact that, seemingly every day, a new unrelated style trend has the word "core” injected into its name—balletcore, cottagecore, gorpcore, etc. Yet many are still trying to decode and embody the normcore fashion phenomenon, as evidenced in the fact that the jargon still lingers in just about every popular fashion publication.

Ahead, I break down what normcore is (and has become), how to get the aesthetic with some key pieces, and outfit inspiration to boot.

What is normcore?

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(Image credit: @brittanybathgate)

Normcore was first introduced by K-Hole, a now-inactive trend-forecasting company. (You can still read the initial report.) The term landed in the public eye in 2014 thanks to a plethora of think pieces dissecting the aesthetic and its implications.

Normcore is essentially an attitude that "seeks the freedom that comes with non-exclusivity.” As my former colleague Nicole Kliest so eloquently put it, normcore is "basically the notion of accepting and embracing our similarities as people. So instead of searching for an outlet to stand out, being comfortable with dressing (and behaving) in sameness is totally acceptable. Of course, there’s no such thing as normal, but we can all identify and agree upon what’s accepted as normal in our respective groups and areas.”

Whether this aesthetic was truly a trend at its roots or inherently anti-trend was already blurry, but it’s becoming increasingly more unclear, as brands and retailers are capitalizing on its popularity. The whole vibe, if you will, has now evolved to more elevated, glossier heights.

How to Get the Normcore Aesthetic

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(Image credit: @lucywilliams02)

In fashion terms, normcore embodies nostalgic outfits that recall ’90s influences à la Jerry Seinfeld. Think button-down shirts, trousers, simple belts, high-waisted jeans, dad sneakers, flat sandals, and other practical and basic pieces. Below are some options that reflect the most up-to-date take on the aesthetic.

Normcore Outfit Ideas

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(Image credit: @taniceelizabeth)

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(Image credit: @anoukyve)

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(Image credit: @abimarvel)

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(Image credit: @brittanybathgate)

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(Image credit: @camillecharriere)

Next up: These Under-$100 Summer Buys Are a Pure Hit of Fashion Dopamine

Contributing Editor