'Vogue' is Confused About Normcore

by Erin Mayer

By now, you're probably familiar with the normcore non-trend. Maybe you've even started sporting Tevas and shopping at the Gap. Normcore has become so pervasive that even the high-fashion set want in, which might explain why Vogue recently referred to Kate Middleton as "Duchess of Normcore." Which is all well and good, except for one thing: Vogue clearly does not understand normcore.

Instead of Birkenstocks, Vogue thinks normcore is Tory Burch dresses and a not-brand-new Jonathan Saunders sweater, which are the items Kate Middleton has sported for some of her appearances in New Zealand this month.

Yacht races, white water rafting, rugby, cricket, and play-dates. Blazer from Zara and jeans, a Breton-striped T-shirt, a Tory Burch dress, and a nearly two-year-old favorite Jonathan Saunders sweater. As the Duchess of Cambridge's appearances in New Zealand are progressing, it’s slowly dawning on us just how determinedly she’s foiling the expectations of royal fashion commentators.

The word "determination" alone defeats the purpose of normcore, which is all about not paying too much attention to what you wear. As Bustle's own Tori Telfer writes, "These youngsters aren’t fashionistas, nor are they anti-fashionistas… they’re just sort of there, hanging out in their mom jeans, thinking about other stuff." They are not Duchesses who sport Zara blazers instead of gowns when heading to a friendly game of royal yacht racing. Ah, but Vogue disagrees:

The royally groundbreaking part is how much we’re seeing of her in “normal,” practical, functional clothes—high street sneakers included. Neatly sidestepping high fashion, the smiling, cheerful Kate Middleton is fast becoming the Duchess of Normcore. (Though ironically—as we know—there’s nothing more acutely fashionable than that.)
Rob Jefferies/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

We get it, Vogue. Why would a publication whose "affordable finds" are upwards of $500 understand non-fashion? Of course they would call Kate Middleton "Duchess of Normcore" for her charming willingness to be seen out and about in Tory Burch instead of Marchesa.

However, like hashtags, this is one media trend that the magazine should probably steer clear of permanently. Vogue is all about fantasy and an old-school approach to wealth and fashion. While this can be problematic at times, it's also why so many people still love Vogue. Because the publication brings us back to a time before hashtags, before smartphones, before normcore. We wouldn't want to see actual normcore in the pages of Vogue — although how hilarious would a normcore editorial featuring Karl Lagerfeld in Gap sweatshirts and white sneakers be? (You're welcome for that one, Anna Wintour.)