With the rise of the normcore trend, recycling fashion seems to have reached a high. Normcore can be summed up as taking fashion inspiration from the worst trends of the ’90s — ill-fitting jeans and white New Balance sneakers or Tevas. The term was coined on Feb. 26 in a New York Magazine article and has since been popularized through social media. There is something to be said for understanding fashion as an important form of self-expression, yet there are still trends that should not be resurrected.
Think back one or two years to the unfortunate Cosby sweater trend that swept the campuses of liberal arts colleges and beyond. Rivaled only by the related ugly Christmas sweater trend, oversized thrift store Cosby sweaters were paired with skinny jeans for both men and women before the trend was swept up by the likes of Urban Outfitters. Many people agree that Cosby sweaters and ugly Christmas sweaters should be left in the past. While oversized sweaters may be comfortable, the irony that comes with replicating the ’80s and ’90s is best left on coffee mugs.
Of course, comfort is an important factor to consider when it comes to clothing. However, irony comes into play as soon as someone claims to be against current trends by attempting to revive past trends. The purposeful resurrection of unfortunate trends is undesirable. These styles were bad when they started and reappropriating them under the guise of irony may be even worse.
That said, some aspects of the normcore trend can be worn tastefully. Fleece is an acceptable option, especially in neutral colors such as black and grey. Loose-fitting jeans can also be incorporated into many outfits, as long as they are in dark washes. After all, sweatpants are currently ubiquitous in high fashion. The issue is not comfort. There are ways to wear loose fitting and athletic clothing while maintaining a put-together look. Check out the persistent sports luxe trend for inspiration.
Ironic clothing makes the wearer look silly and careless, on par with wearing an “I’m with stupid” t-shirt. Who knows, maybe those kinds of shirts will be the next big trend. But for now, leave the Cosby sweaters in the ’80s, Christmas sweaters at your grandma’s and dad clothes in his closet. And please, do not bring back the fanny pack.
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, April 2 print edition. Sam Del Rowe is a staff writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.