Normcore: Why comfortable is cool again

Nearly 16 years after Seinfeld’s final episode hit global screens, the hugely popular sit-com is experiencing a rebirth…In the fashion industry of all places.

After decades of body-con dresses, pocket squares, sky-high stilettos and skinny jeans, it seems the fashion industry is finally fed up. The time has come to embrace your inner dag.

Enter normcore: arguably the best fashion trend to hit runways and store shelves ever. Called norm core for its hardcore commitment to being, well, just plain boring, the trend involves dressing like Jerry Seinfeld with runners and jeans, baggy jumpers, beanies, vintage sportswear (no lycra allowed) and thick, chunky socks the order of the day.

Is this a joke?

Shailene Woodley.

Shailene Woodley.

No. New York Magazine first recognised the trend, describing it as “urban camouflage” or “stylised blandness.” It’s been pioneered by designers like Alexander Wang whose colour palette consists of black, white and grey and who consider sweatpants the ultimate wardrobe item.

While the trend may have been validated through its appearance on the international catwalks, we also have to pay thanks to the new league of Hollywood stars who specialise in keeping it real.

For women, there’s Jennifer Lawrence, the sexy slob who complains of constant food stains on her clothing and admits to being a couch potato on her days off, and Shailene Woodley, who swapped her Divergent premiere gown for overalls at the after party. For men, it’s the Judd Apatow-directed movie crew, including Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who wear their thick-frame glasses, slightly flabby bellies and grungy sneakers with pride.

And now, thanks to the arrival of international normcore go-to stores like GAP and Uniqlo and the return of Birkenstocks, you can get a piece of the action. Alternatively, just raid your dad’s track pants draw.

Your normcore fashion icons


Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza (played by Jason Alexander)

Jerry Seinfeld

The original normcore pioneer, Jerry perpetually rocked the sneakers and jeans combo and relied heavily on thick coats and jumpers in nondescript colours. Break up classic denim with a baseball cap or puffy shirt and don’t bother taming your frizzy hair.

If you have to wear a suit, choose one in a bland colour with little shape and zero tailoring. Sweater vests are also encouraged.

Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis


Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher.

This couple balances their almost freakish levels of attractiveness with a wardrobe that can only be categorised as slob chic. 

Kunis swamps her tiny frame with baggy track pants and Kutcher can often be spotted in denim jackets and hats.


Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

Aside from being the founding father of Apple, Steve Jobs was also a perfect example of dressing for comfort.

His uniform of a black turtleneck, denim jeans and runners became his trademark and perfectly suited his hectic lifestyle.

Refusing to alter his clothing choices for even the most formal of events, Jobs gave a whole new meaning to the phrase “dress for success.”


Ellen Page

Ellen Page 

The pint-sized actress makes no apologies for who she is and her outfits are no exception.

Choosing to forego the typical red carpet gowns of her peers, Page favours zip-up jackets, baggy pants and plaid shirts.

Extra points for draping a nonchalant checked scarf around your neck for added cosiness.

Go on, get boring

We bring you seven normcore-appropriate pieces to buy today.

Note: If you’re a woman, wearing men’s clothing is totally acceptable.


country road 229.95

Witchery men’s jacket, $229.95. Available in stores and online

uniqlo 29.90

 Uniqlo pants, $29.90. Available in Melbourne flagship store or online.

new balance 119.95

New Balance shoes, $119.95. Available from Hype stores and online.

gap 54.95

Gap men’s hoodie, $54.95. Available in stores and online.

nike 35.00

Nike hat, $35.00. Available in stores and online.

target $10

Target jeans, $10.00. Available in stores and online.


Country Road women’s jumper, $149.00. Available in stores and online.

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