Friday, October 17, 2014

Gap's DressNormal campaign is a cheap attempt to cash in on Normcore

Every time I swear off writing about fashion something happens that sends me rushing to my laptop, fastidiously pounding away on a cat hair covered keyboard instead of starting on my four page paper on British poetry that's due on Monday. Get your lint rollers and canned air out for this one; Gap's Dress Normal ad campaign has me feeling all type of ways.  



It's not a shocker that the Gap has never been considered a fashion forward brand. You're not going to snag a studded jacket or a minidress with sheer cutouts there, nor would you expect to.  Some might call the brand's no fuss, simple garments wardrobe staples, or basics, where others might call Gap a snooze fest. 

So what's the problem with basics? The word basic has taken on negative connotations in our pop culture; "basic" in slang terms means boring and ordinary, not exactly how you want to describe your dark wash jeans and fitted white t-shirt, is it? Enter Gap's latest ad campaign, Dress Normal, which is riding on the heather gray coattails of normcore. 

Normcore is a "new" way of dressing for the fashion elite- think Adidas slides with tube socks- that rebels against the recent fashion trends of dressing extraordinary- more on that in a moment. Normcore is rebelling against rebelling, but you have to rebel in the first place in order for normcore to make sense. 

The problem with normcore is that it doesn't take into account what people are wearing in cities that aren't fashion hubs.  In other words, your average dude from Kenner wearing Adidas slides with socks and a grey sweatshirt and a baseball cap is unintentionally participating in normcore. It's plain dressing with irony, yet excludes that guy that doesn't dress hipster cool from the inside joke. 

Over the past few years the outrageous has been considered fashionable; the peacocks showing up at fashion weeks around the globe is a good example of this. Wearing a calf grazing tutu is the new norm, so how does one stand out in a sea of kookiness? The answer, apparently, is to dress "normal". 

Look, I kind of get it. Fashion celebrates the over the top, the glitzy and the downright bizarre. Iris Apfel is a household name for fashion insiders and Lady GaGa has given everyone carte blanche to dress outside of their comfort zone. When everyone wants to be a rare bird, however, this unique sense of individuality isn't quite so individual anymore, is it? 

But what is normal? That's a subjective, potentially damaging word. What Gap really means is to dress simple, a bon chic, bon genre mentality (I'm giving them too much credit, really) that's seeing a resurgence, albeit a resurgence through the hipster lens. According to Gap's global chief marketing officer Seth Farbman, "Finding your own version of 'Dress normal' is an art. My normal is different from your normal, and that's the essence of the campaign." 
Confused? That makes about as much sense to me as trying to explain what normcore is in the first place. 

 The problem with the Dress Normal campaign is that it indicates that anything besides normal is abnormal. It's a backlash against creative dressing which, let's face it, has put the hurt on Gap in the past few years, as well as other ubiquitous mall brands. It's not cool anymore to be average, to fit in, but when everyone is trying to stand out from the crowd, where does that leave us? The best thing you can do for yourself is avoid the pitfalls of trendy dressing altogether and wear whatever the hell you want. Fashion is in a flux right now; I'd rather sit out and just focus on doing me, which is the best, most normal thing I can do.






Sunday, October 12, 2014

It's a little quiet 'round these parts


I've been neglecting Slow Southern Style like she's an old high school friend. You pinky swear you'll never lose touch but BFFs inevitably drift apart for a variety of reasons: you don't see each other on the daily after graduation, someone moves across the country, you always liked Mazzy Star more than Courtney Love but were too sheepish to tell her, and of course, boys. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Drunken stories, true stories




Friday, August 29, 2014

Post Katrina Musings- I never plan on doing these.

   

This isn't a Katrina story per se, but it does represent a time of uncertainty in my life in the months immediately after the storm. I didn't intend to post a Katrina memorial; I wrote this piece as a writing exercise for class based on Kathleen Hill's work Forgiveness. (We had to start with "It happened.") I thought it would be quasi appropriate to share. Love it or hate it, let me know what you think in the comments below.
Blind Dates in the Desert
       It happened inside the Starbucks on Scottsdale Road. I sat down with last month’s National Geographic and a coffee that cost as much as my used Honda. I was new to town, a New Orleans gal that felt about as comfortable in the desert as an alligator. My husband and I moved to the Phoenix suburb a few weeks after we evacuated for Hurricane Katrina.

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