At its essence, blogging is about the personal, the anecdotal, the individual. Of course it means different things to different people and is interpreted in a variety of ways, but amongst the fashion blogging community, I think we can all agree that our individuality is stressed and celebrated through our words and images.
As blogging has taken off and infiltrated mainstream, popular culture, we can safely say that it has even become quite a saturated marketed with an endless stream of fashion and street style blogs accessible, that perhaps the novelty of it is wearing off, and as the cycle goes and fashion moves onto the next thing, could the next “it” thing be a move from clear cut identity to…a generic sartorial sameness?
The motivation behind this connection stems from Fiona Duncan's article for New York Magazine, in which she coined the phrase “normcore,” a phenomenon, or perhaps we may go even as far as calling it a trend, that is in retaliation to keeping up with the fashion cycle and the hottest designer item, and instead, looking like the rest of America, i.e. “like a tourist,” “Jerry Seinfeld,” a middle America “mom” or “dad.”
Pieces that can described within the normcore circuit are “mom jeans,” stone washed denim, sandals with out of place, bulky white ribbed socks, baseball caps, all-white leather sneakers, Crocs, velcro sandals, khakis, fleece pull-over jackets, and track pants (Want more examples? Check out GQ's 10 #Normcore Essentials feature).
It's been described as practical, awkward, clichè-heavy, full of fashion no-nos, and unpretentious, an escape from the “keeping up with the Joneses” patterning that can happen by being absorbed and perpetually defeated by the incredibly fast past of fashion, which is quickened to a sprint by the dissemination of information at lightening speed on the web.
It's not a total abandonment of fashion; even anti-fashion is still a fashion statement, and through the ambiguity of dress, those that go normocore are still identifying within a group, albeit, a potential new one.
And if the idea is to look essentially express a sameness that doesn't stand out from the crowd in a traditional fashion sense, then where does that leave fashion blogging and style bloggers?
Blogging and social media have certainly reinforced a “me, me, me” culture, in which we share what we are wearing and doing, constantly, and perhaps to excess.
By dressing in a way that doesn't evoke a unique point of view reduces the emphasis on the way and amount of time put into sharing via these outlets, and also signals a return to a simpler time when none of this existed.
For example, the concept of JOMO (the Joy Of Missing Out) is a hot topic of debate, which means staying home, turning inward, meditating, reflecting, and overall, living more mindfully, instead of giving into the urge to go out or having jealous feeling of not being invited.
JOMO preaches the exact opposite of the feeling of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), making peace with what's happening on social media and instead, discovering the importance of nurturing oneself. I personally feel at times that I've reached a burn out point with social media, and can understand staying home and doing something relaxing for myself instead of attending a much-touted party. Relating this to the idea of normcore, these concepts are an overall redefinition of a way of being, dressing, and lifestyle, changing the idea of what it means to be cool and taking the outward display and turning it more inward instead.
As we as bloggers have helped to democratize style for all, and if normcore is a “trend” and is truly happening, it's certainly a seismic shift in what we know of as fashion today, and I can't help but ponder if the blogging community is contributing in an indirect way to it surfacing.
Or are we all merely over thinking it? Self-expression when it comes to fashion, and the aesthetic, pleasing eye of what we declare to define as stylish could be changing, or these ideas could merely prevail for a short period of time on a largely subcultural level. We won't know for sure until we've gained more perspective and can further evaluate its implications and what it means in the future, and if the impact, if any, on fashion blogging and social media can be measured.
What do you think about normcore and JOMO? Is there a link to fashion blogging and social media?
Image credit: New York Magazine