This Brand Is Making Me Want to Dress Normcore Again
01.05.18

Shortly after publicly expressing the opinion (in no uncertain terms) that something feels “off” about denim these days, I identified an additional, previously undetected factor that may or may not be contributing to the problem: I realized that the way we consume fashion isn’t the only thing that changed drastically over the last five years. The way we wear jeans has, too.

Five years ago marked the heyday of normcore, wherein denim was king. The movement’s proclivity for stark minimalism meant that the most interesting thing about your outfit was probably your jeans, and they really shined as a result. (I’ve never appreciated butts more than I did in 2013).

Denim’s uncontested prowess eroded when the cool factor of dressing like you’re one of the pack was ushered out and the era of aggressively personal style was ushered in. Instead of simple white T-shirts and unassuming loafers, jeans were suddenly faced with the stiffer competition of individuality — statement tops, rhinestone necklaces, shoes that resembled exotic birds, etc. People continued to care about how their jeans looked, obviously, but not to the extent that jeans’ aesthetic potential trumped their utilitarian value in the way that normcore uniquely facilitated.

This theory was triggered by a recent obsessive investigation into Eve Denim, a Los Angeles-based jeans company that launched quietly in 2015. Billed as “a return to authentic and sentimental denim,” the brand’s jeans are cut in vintage-inspired silhouettes made with raw denim sourced from the legendary Cone Denim Mills.

Given my current station of jeans confusion, I was surprised to find my lust transmitter perking up at the sight of the following feature images on MATCHESFASHION (which lead to the aforementioned obsessive investigation):

The jeans themselves were relatively plain, which struck me as significant. I realized their heightened appeal was a construct by the whole outfit — jeans, simple white T-shirt, jean jacket. I was enamored with the simplicity of the combination. It reminded me of something Jerry Seinfeld or a suburban dad might wear and…oh. Was I looking at the potential resurgence of normcore?!

Only time will tell, but there is something worth unpacking about the fact that I, a self-professed maximalist, was so keenly compelled by this distinctly minimalist ensemble that it made me look at my erstwhile pal denim in a somewhat new light. Perhaps the cure to my jeans confusion sits in a “back to basics” approach — one in which I make jeans the hero again, at least for a spell.

I don’t know though, what do you think? Is normcore redux the answer to denim fatigue?

Photos via Eve Denim

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  • Betsy

    No. Nothing will make me dress normcore again. If I have denim fatigue, I get a new color or switch to cotton or wool.

  • Is this brand normcore? I’m not really getting that vibe. It’s more so minimalist American classic. All you need are some shit kickin’ boots! I am into it.

    • Bridgett

      I agree, applying “normcore” to Eve Denim doesn’t feel accurate. When I think of normcore I think of Dev Hynes’ style: unflattering thrifted jeans, turtlenecks, white sneakers, obligatory cheap gold chain, and ugly baseball caps (also thrifted)….which is why I was hoping norm-core would go away.

      • Dev Hynes is a palatable normcorian. It’s basically ironic dressing, which was all the rage when I went to art school.

    • JennyWren

      I agree. Normcore to me seems to be more about broad-based brand recognition (addidas shower sliders) and a concious rejection of figure awareness and tailoring. The items above are definitely minimalist, but they’re also just classic basics. I don’t want to be in a situation where anything less overt than a cape is Normcore.

      • Same re: cape. Normcore should be considered as a form of minimalism, not the other way around- I beg, I plead. Is it safe to say that it’s also an anti-fashion, fashion trend?

        • JennyWren

          Yes. Normcore has always seemed to me to be an almost quasi-political statement rather a Fashion with an F trend.
          Of course, now I’m wishing I was still in grad skool so that I could write an essay on Normcore and the resurgence of popularism in American politics. “When Trump Wears Shower Sliders: Anti-elitism in American fashion.”

          • Bailey

            YES. Such an interesting discussion, JennyWren please write a whole book on it! I too view normcore as such a specific term (doesn’t the name itself imply that you are HARDCORE wearing a LOOK?), like I can’t just wear simple clothes, I have to wear clothes that are so culturally recognized as basic they are almost a caricature of themselves to make a statement, like I just got off my shift at Gap and I’m on my way to Blockbuster to pick up of a copy of Clerks. But at this point, I think normcore has become a stand-in word for simple, uncomplicated, or minimalist looks whether we like it or not so I understand why HR used it. And don’t get me wrong, I am lusting after this whole Eve collection. I just don’t own any shower sliders.

          • Omg. You nailed it with the caricature and day in the life snippet. Hilarious

          • PLEASE write that essay immediately!!!

    • Kasey

      I completely agree with you. I don’t get normcore vibes from this. More 70’s casual denim with prairie shirts and bellbottoms.

    • Harling Ross

      You’re right — I don’t think Eve Denim *embodies* the normcore aesthetic so much as it supplies some of the building blocks for it — no-stretch high-waist blue jeans, unassuming white t-shirts, etc. I should have clarified that, because it’s definitely two different things. I do think normcore captured a certain intentionality behind minimalism that distinguishes it from classic basics, which is more what I was speaking to — that aesthetic of self-aware, stylized blandness.

      • I see what you are saying. I don’t mean to be so nit-picky, I just have a vendetta against the trend and I like these clothes.

  • DelphineGarnier82

    I hate the idea of what normcore is about. The idea that you shouldn’t bother having an individual identity. And with denim I like that you can find different jeans in the store instead just one trend that might be a style of jeans you don’t even like. I don’t like wide leg jeans or low waisted jeans, so I’m glad I can find something else in the store that I would actually want to wear.

  • Gigi

    I love that she’s carrying a baguette. Doesn’t that just reinforce the Parisian ease within which normcore permanently resides? When I loved in Manhattan it was easy to feel somehow off-base in la mode simple compared to all the young bursts of colors central to individualistic style choices…the bumblebee yellow Gucci shoes… the costume jewelry… But when I loved in Paris I can remember feeling so part of the Whole in just a black wool Sandro coat, my mother’s jeans, white sneakers, & a white T-Shirt, eating my baguette while walking down Rue du Chateau des Rentiers in the 13eme. Then again, that just might be The Paris Effect.

  • Elizabeth Hilfiger

    LOVE!!!!!

  • I’ve always viewed normcore as being more of a “base” for personal style. For awhile it was in to just wear your basics in a dressed down minimal sort of way. A perfectly normal pair of jeans, a great black or white tee, a cotton baseball cap, sensible sneakers. All things that are great to have in your arsenal to be mixed with clothes that scream personality or not depending on your mood that day.

  • Emily

    I wouldn’t classify this as normcore at all! this is more casual, relaxed yet simple classics. normcore is more about rejecting aesthetics entirely and going 100% back to brand basics – I don’t see that here. I like the above clothes a lot, though.

  • Jam Jam

    The Juliette Jean looks superb, but that model can’t get her hands in her pockets. so they’re either too tight for proper pocket use, or have some stretch in them, which is lame.

  • Michaela Whitney

    denim isn’t normcore. It’s american classic.

  • I love their jacket, but would not perfer to choose jeans.

    Vividress.co.za

  • Lou

    Normcore?? Why? There’s nothing normcore about this at all.

  • leilanigl

    All the images on their site just look like classic Americana/country to me – they’d be interchangeable with Wrangler ads, or what my old barn managers used to wear. (Both my barn managers, it should be noted, were wonderfully stylish women in this vein.) Just add a horse and a pick and this is my life working ranches ten years ago. I’m having olfactory flashbacks, lol.

  • Kattigans

    Agreed, don’t think this counts as normcore especially bc of the aesthetic of the designer behind it. This model (forget her name rn) who created the brand def has more classic california vibes then she does normcore. When I think of normcore I think of Yeezy, Vetements, adidas, Seinfeld dad style and nameless kids in Stockholm who are so hip it hurts.

  • They say the best writing reflects deep truths you never knew about yourself until you see them shared by someone else, and when Harling said “I’ve never appreciated butts more than I did in 2013”, I realised, on an almost physical level, that I too really *reallly* appreciated butts in 2013.
    La Madeleine | A fashion and beauty journal

  • denim is my favourite no matter how fancy things come it always remains.
    http://www.thestyletune.com

  • sarah

    Canadian tuxedo for me. All day, e’eryday.

  • I bought a pair of these jeans and they tore (in the crotch area near the button fly) after literally only 3 wears. $300 for a pair of jeans and they don’t even last after a couple of wears! So pathetic for a brand that is marketing itself as “heirloom.” I do not recommend these.