Normcore (aka dog-walking chic)
Maybe I haven’t been plugged into what has been happening, but I haven’t found anyone else with a similar perspective to what I felt made fashion news in 2014. Most fashion journalist reviews reference a revival of Katherine Hamnett style message T-shirts and un-techy looking Stan Smith sneakers, as well as more fur and hats — but I haven’t noticed any of these trends. And aside from teenagers wearing their pyjamas to school, I haven’t noticed any trend for ‘normcore’ – this year’s buzzword for everyday fashion, meaning a conspicuous dressed-down styling (we used to call it sloppy.)
What I have noticed trending is a nostalgia for the 90s: A smidgen of grunge with plaid shirts and knitted toques, a resurgence of the little black dress (at the Design Exchange opening this past September 90% of the women were wearing LBDs), the occasional peek-a-boo midriff, and plenty of smart looking trousers in every width, from legging tight to palazzo wide.
For men, slim cut pants and suits are still strong for those who can wear them (most can’t), but what really took off this year was facial hair in the form of Ozark-styled bushy beards (did any man grow a moustache for Movember this year? If so, I didn’t see any.) For women, I noticed more swept-to-the-side bangs, ala Taylor Swift.
Suki Waterhouse in Burberry ruffles
For dress-up, women’s gala gowns (according to the red carpets I saw) have gone either ultra-feminine in soft chiffons with lots of ruffles, lace, floral prints, and trained skirts, often in a 30s bias-cut style; or alternatively, techno-contemporary in stiff, formal cuts in conspicuously modern palettes, and appliqués or beadwork that point towards the future. The retro-looking 1950s crinolined and corsetted satin glamour gown is on its way out, escorted by platform pumps to the exit.
Amal Alamuddin (Mrs. George Clooney) in Oscar de la Renta
The biggest fashion news for 2014 was the loss of one of it’s longest serving and brightest stars – Oscar de la Renta. But even without Oscar’s lead, fashion veered towards a ‘pretty’ aesthetic in 2014, displacing some of the less-than-subtle sex appeal that has permeated fashion the last decade. Maybe it’s because the world economy is improving and fashion can afford to be softer and more subtle, dropping the Lady Gaga hard sell glam.