What the Hell Is the Gorpcore Trend, and Why Am I So Into It?


(Image credit: @aemiliafay)

The term "gorpcore," isn't new per se. In fact, it was first coined by The Cut back in May 2017 to describe a new style emerging post-normcore. But though talk about the trend has faded over the last year or so, I can't help but notice as I comb site after site—gorpcore is dominating the second half of 2018.

The name takes a common hiking term GORP ("good old raisins and peanuts," a moniker for trail mix) and applies it to a whole genre of dressing, a sort of crunchy, outdoorsy aesthetic. As someone who grew up in Oakland and Berkeley—the epicenter of hippie culture—it's an aesthetic I was raised on. My dad has resoled the same pair of Birkenstocks three times. My family vacations involve backpacking. Gorpcore is the trend that was made for me.

But while I may be all for the outdoorsy gear that's taking over both runways and street style, I can name plenty of friends who aren't quite so comfortable with the trend. When I explain the premise to them, I make sure to explain the fact that you can embrace gorpcore in a more low-key way. The key is to style funkier pieces with pieces that skew more romantic. Clunky boots may seem intimidating for the city, but they feel quite cool when styled with a flowy maxi dress. And as for bucket hats—well, I know they're not for everyone, but I think they look great styled with jeans and a simple tee.

Below, you'll find a breakdown of a few key items for mastering gorpcore (all modeled by yours truly). If you're not ready to try them all at once, just pick and choose the pieces that are just the right amount of outdoorsy for you. Happy shopping (and hiking too)!

Gorpcore: a style inspired by practical hiking, camping, and general outdoor wear.


1. Hiking Boots
(Image credit: @aemiliafay)

While traditionally hiking boots are relegated to, well, hiking, this fall, expect to see them taking over the city streets too. These practical shoes are made to handle all terrains and all weather, but feel free to keep things simple and just pair them with a dress or skinny jeans.


2. Tie-Dye
(Image credit: @aemiliafay)

So you missed Woodstock; don't sweat it. The groovy tie-dye your stoner family member wore in their glory years is cool for you to test-drive now. I love pairing a quirky top with something sleek, bike shorts (if you're feeling sporty), or a little bit of leather.


3. Patagonia
(Image credit: @aemiliafay)

It was just a few days ago that our entire edit team put Patagonia to the test, showing off the cool ways we each style this sporty (and sustainable) brand. The key to pulling off Patagonia off the trails is styling it with trend-forward pieces that make for a cool contrast.


4. Bucket Hats
(Image credit: @aemiliafay)

A little bit dorky but also undeniably practical, bucket hats are back. This summer, I traded my standard baseball cap for the same hat I wore as a fourth-grader (yes, I have the pictures to prove it).


5. The Puffer
(Image credit: @aemiliafay)

While it's hard to envision wearing a puffer jacket this time of year, come cold weather, it's a sporty down coat that you'll want to have on you at all times.


6. Sporty Sandals
(Image credit: @aemiliafay)

When I'm headed into the great outdoors, it's more than likely I'm packing two pairs of shoes: boots for hiking and a pair of sporty sandals for hanging around camp. Yes, my dad and I own the same style of Birkenstocks, and yes, I'm okay with it.

Now you know exactly what gear you need to pull off this trend too! 

Aemilia Madden