This normcore thing may be sweeping the fashion world, but Barneys creative ambassador Simon Doonan will not be partaking in it. In fact, Doonan despises the anti-trend, sharing some choice words about it in an op-ed piece for Slate titled "Beware of Normcore."
In the editorial, Doonan describes normcore as not being "brave or butch or swagger-y," but about "dressing like a mild-mannered mental patient or a bewildered Icelandic exchange student circa 1984." Yewouch.
Doonan believes the beginning of the normcore revolution began in the early 2000s when preppy found a revival in the fashion scene. "To shop was to swim through a sea of gray V-necks or crisp button-downs. WASP-y chic was back. Kennedy-era style was de rigueur." Preppy was then followed by the rise of heritage wear — that phase where everyone was wearing Dickies and other work-wear brands. Put them together and what do you get? "The style that would later be dubbed normcore," says Doonan.
Overall, Doonan believes normcore to be a paradox. A very friendly, non-threatening, but, in the end, terrifying paradox. "It appears good-natured, but, as I will illustrate to you, it can be deadly and venomous." How could dressing normcore possibly be lethal? He believes that if normcorers sense they are being exposed, "they will feel obliged to concoct some new and even more terrifyingly perverse mode of dressing." Doonan — the ultra-fabulous fashionista who is rarely seen dressed without a pop of color or print — seems to seriously be afraid of what sorts of boring outfits they're capable of.
Of course, this isn't the first time Doonan has offered up his opinion on how he thinks people should dress. Last October, the Barneys ambassador took to Slate once again to rant about the current state of pop star fashion, namely that of Miley Cyrus. "Little girls are not supposed to be thrashing around like cracked-out pole dancers. Instead they should be skipping around the lawn in a Ralph Lauren-ish backyard, wearing little bonnets and starched Bonpoint sundresses and singing songs like “Mabel, Mabel, Set the Table.” But while he thinks young women should be more reserved when they dress, he once told The Sunday Times, "I like a girl who is engaged in the act of self-expression — a fishnet here, a Simone de Beauvoir poloneck there." Perhaps Doonan's thoughts on fashion is the real paradox here.
Despite all this, the outspoken Doonan understands that there are a lot of stylish people out there who really just enjoy pairing sweatpants and a baseball cap with their Birkenstocks, not because they're trying to be part of the new trend, but because that's their inherent sense of style. And for them, he had some advice. "Do not attempt to normcordon yourself off from the trendy normcorers," writes Doonan. "The comfy, nondescript, low-key clothes you are wearing are authentically yours, which is more than can be said for the normcore crew. They are just faking it. You are the real deal. So enjoy the spotlight. This is your moment."