"On the topic of style, I'm wondering what you think of fall's continued elaborations of "normcore" looks (which you touched on in June) and the so-called "mom chic" that one sees at COS, Emerson Fry, and other hip brands. I find it interesting anthropologically b/c of its play with generation-bending versus other kinds of boundary crossing."
Dr. V.O. finds many things anthropologically interesting because she is an anthropologist, and she kindly encourages my interest in her field.
Normcore is the appropriation of classic, functional items by people of an age group more commonly associated with trend-driven buying: teens and young adults. Those items are worn to convey a non-consumerist position or at least preferences toward the low-key and lasting; what one trend-forecasting company called "the desire to be blank", while the Gap's current ads urge customers to "Dress Normal".
A fifty year old woman in an L.L. Bean Bayside twill skirt with its hidden comfort waist is not deliberately normcore, but her 20 year old niece in the same skirt is.
Many young adults have no desire to own separate wardrobes for work and leisure. Normcare items are flexible and androgenous: fleece tops, cotton turtlenecks, sweat pants, oxford cloth button-downs. The cut is American ample; this is not APC. Barring a wedding, a normcore devotée has it covered with only a few dozen items.
Normcore over 50
On a mature woman with an eye for colour and proportion, selected normcore pieces can blend with a preppy, snappy wardrobe, but she has certain shoals to navigate if she wants to look put-together rather than merely dressed.
Above: Inès de la Fressagne in rolled Levis, a white shirt, brown loafers: many old friends but— check the wide gold cuff and bracelet, the dark bra (which personally I would not do, but she's the icon here). C'est la manière, ma chère. Apparently she also carries a personalized L.L. Bean tote.
In the Gap's campaign, Anjelica Huston wears a more generic white shirt, wisely tarted up with assertive makeup, a dramatic brunette bob, what looks like a big emerald, and Michael K. Williams:
Man, I feel like a camper
I always enjoy Lands' End's Apostrophe quarterly, which tweaks normcore so much I have actually bought a few pieces (though certain items are just hopeless.) With any normcore vendor (typically a supplier to outdoor enthusiasts: Bean, Eddie Bauer, Woolrich, Orvis), you have to be very selective and eschew an adjustée fit, or have them tailored.
Also: woman of 50+ must not sleep in an athletic department t-shirt. Even alone. Especially if alone.
Why? Because such choices decrease your splendid, wholly-lived, majestic feminine mojo.
An entire ensemble built of normcore sturditude moves into the territory my friend Beth, quoting one of her friends, calls "L.L. Bean dumpywear".
So my Bean marinière gets a diamond and silver cuff and a big ring. I'd enjoy hearing how you move normal into more original expressions.