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The Normcore Trend Is Back — Here Are 5 Ways To Wear It In 2020

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It's no secret that quality basics are the foundation of every well-curated closet. But the return of the normcore trend further proves that simple staples don't have to be boring and can in fact hold the same star power as your statement pieces. With the majority of the world spending more time at home, right now it's less about hopping on the next over-the-top trend and, instead, finding thoughtful ways to make what you already own feel distinctive. Between the designers on the runway and the style-set on Instagram, you're bound to find all the inspiration you need to elevate the relatively basic pieces in your wardrobe.

As explained in a 2014 article from The Cut, the word 'normcore' was coined by the trend-forecasting collective K-Hole a year earlier, as an attitude or way of life that, "embraces sameness deliberately as a new way of being cool, rather than striving for “difference” or “authenticity.” But when it comes to fashion, the term is more commonly associated with dad-inspired essentials — especially in oversized silhouettes. Sporty sneakers, fanny packs, and suiting all come to mind. But the trend also manifests in looks as simple as Levi's and a plain turtleneck, á la the iconic Steve Jobs. Now, the industry is yet again revisiting the idea of practicality, giving you more than enough encouragement to try out the trend yourself.

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In the latest runway collections, brands of all sizes have made it clear that simple and comfortable styles are on the rise. Prada showed a lineup of cozy staples in its Spring/Summer 2021 menswear collection — think, subdued thermal sets and logo-stamped sweatsuits that work for women, too. Copenhagen-based Ganni took its signature laid back aesthetic to the next level with its rubber knee-high galoshes, $285, for the new season (which were all over Copenhagen fashion week). The bottom line is that fashion, like everything else, is changing with the times and the shift is a lot easier to embrace than one may think.

Balenciaga Fall/Winter 2020. Photo: Estrop/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Burberry Fall/Winter 2020. Photo: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images
Ami Fall/Winter 2020. Photo: SAVIKO/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images
Prada Fall/Winter 2020. Photo: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

The key to successfully pulling off the normcore look? Keep the outfit simple and pair your easy staples with subtle accompaniments that will complement the overall feel without overpowering it. Just ahead are a few examples to get you started.

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Normcore Outfits: The Dad Look

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One foolproof way to embrace the normcore trend this fall is by emulating the dad-inspired looks of the '90s (think vintage-cut sweat suits and chunky trainers). Invest in oversized tailoring and a coordinating trench coat to pull off the pared-back, but always chic vibe. Take styling tips from Danish influencer and stylist, Emili Sindlev and add luxe accessories to elevate the otherwise basic ensemble. Thick sunglasses and a trendy handbag, are all you need to top it off.

Normcore Outfits: Playful Pajamas

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Working from home has made relaxed, silky separates and daytime pajamas appropriate all days of the week. Try mixing bold prints and patterns in the same color palette. Finish off your look with more chunky sneakers, or try Birkenstocks and socks.

Normcore Outfits: Collegiate Spirit

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If you keep up with the style-set on Instagram, then you know that pieces that were once reserved for the schoolyard have been transformed into everyday staples for your grown-up wardrobe. Try styling a pleated mini skirt with an oversized trucker jacket and loafers (or brogues) to give it a more polished feel that oozes cool factor.

Normcore Outfits: Not-Your-Grandpa's Sweater Vest

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Sweater vests are going to be big this season. The once controversial knitted style has been seen all over the streets of Copenhagen and on Instagram, proving, when worn with the right accompaniments, it will no longer look like one of your grandmother's jumpers. Just layer the oversized style over a second-skin top for a multi-dimensional look. For those looking for a bolder approach, opt for a top with bright colors and wallpaper motifs.

Normcore Outfits: Outdoorsy Chic

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There's no denying that the tennis uniform served as a source of inspiration for influencers, editors, and celebrities, alike. But as one of summer 2020's biggest trends, it just further proves that fashion is moving in a more sporty, outdoorsy direction. The same can be said for Ganni's highly coveted galoshes and while they might seem more functional than they are chic, try styling them with a pair of crisp white trousers and a polo top to achieve that perfect balance.