Friday, May 23, 2014

Normcore Seduction

I started writing this as an e-mail to my mom, brother and good friend Shawn. But i realized that with the amount of links and images i wanted to include it'd work out better as a blog post, and be easier for the intended audience to read. I hope the rest of you will enjoy this as well, if not please skip it and go on to more fun for the weekend.

So, on the anniversary of my birth, my mom has very generously offered to get me a couple of credit-card-points-related-giftcards to the vendor of my choice. As a result, I've been shopping around the various stores, mostly looking for a little jacket to replace this one from Royal Robbins which is a wee bit worse for wear. 
The yoke separating from the collar at center back. Requires major recon surgery
 But this jacket is around ten years old, so from that point of view i think it's in great shape, especially considering i wear it on average three or four times a week. It's wonderful for grocery shopping as well as my walks.

fraying edges all over the place, bleaching along the weave of the cotton fabric

Browsing through middle American consumeriana, nothing really caught my eye until - the one. The Women's Regular Lightweight Spring Club Jacket in Desert Khaki.

image courtesy Land's End
Love the color - natch, it's from Land's End which makes nice sturdy pieces (a big consideration for me, obviously), the fabric is lightweight so good for warm/hot days in providing sun protection as well as pockets.....

i think it would be so fun - minimal and utiliatarian at once, which is a scarcer combo than one might expect. I want to wear it with these boots and jeans and a Gibson Girl blouse.

Antiqued-up utilitarian and all that. I've also been obsessing on Bridge and Burn pieces the last few months, for example the glamorously quotidian Straat jacket....
But poor Tony! Friday nite i started talking about how this jacket i'm considering is so normcore, and he got all huffy and requested that i consider speaking in "actual English". feh! Of course, Saturday morning i opened a couple of articles on normcore and left them temptingly open on his computer monitor.....sure enough, a couple of hours later and he's avidly researching it; by afternoon he knows much more than i ever did and can quote from the prominent writers on the topic.

The upshot? Finally the spouse has a term he can use to describe me to the general public. Also, he wants to make a tee shirt saying "%$#@ Normcore!" Goodness, such strong language! But it is understandable, seeing as Mr. E is of Italian descent and takes his attire quite seriously.

I'm a little leery of jumping in and purchasing such a piece online, in-real-life-sight unseen. But Land's End is the queen of returns for any reason, no questions asked, as well as being known throughout the land for their high quality standards. I'm leaning strongly towards just taking the leap. (As an aside - what is it about gift funds which makes them so much easier to spend on out of the ordinary or risky purchases? Don't know, but i find it to be one of gift funds' major charms.) (And what does it say about me as a style entity that i view buying a khaki - okay, beige - ultra-mundane suburban wasp-y mom jacket as 'a risk'?)

Anyways, Shawn i know you actually read that all that literature i sent you on "the 'core" so i had to bring this development to your attention. Note for TDE readers: Shawn is the only reason i have any credibility whatever when it comes to current elements of the art and culture scene. His own style i'd describe as authentic normcore, his reaction to the trend: "That normcore was pretty funny. The girl in the first photo is wearing my hat! I think of my fashion as being more like 'ab-normlcore' from the Walmart After Dark series."

No way i can top that. With that image in mind, i bid you all a wonderful holiday weekend!


  1. I observe some distinctive differences between your former jacket and the one from Lands End... most noticeable is that the Lands End jacket is two layers, a cotton synthetic blend shell and an polyester lining, which means that it will be both warmer and less breathable than your beloved current wornout jacket. This may or may not be a consideration for you (though it would be a deal-breaker for me, who would find it sweltering to wear in anything other than late fall early winter) The other thing that I immediately notice is that your current worn jacket has an overlay of "style lines" consisting of the jean jacket style seaming and pocket flaps, and that it buttons up the front, both of which add a very subtle complexity/texture to your look. The Lands End jacket has neither, which gives it a much more clean/polished look overall... (the Bridge and Burn jacket is somewhere in between, since it does have some visual texture with the pocket flaps, but at an obviously higher price point) I look forward to reading what you end up choosing. Have a happy holiday weekend

  2. Hullo Alison! Dang, woman, you're a mind reader (mouth and eyes wide open in amazement emoticon)! these are all things i considered, the 'TL;DR" answer is 'Land's End is the queen of returns' ;) But seriously, if i keep this i plan to rip out the lining and finish the seams or re-line (most likely in a silk harvested from old Goodwill blouses). Poly definitely increases the heat, but i think this % will work for me and, hopefully, increase durability. I also thought it would be fun to try a more minimal, slouchier type of silhouette seeing as i have a closer-fitting denim jean jacket.

    The Straat is really cute and 100% cotton, i love the button deets on the front! But it's a lot more money, if this Spring Club Jacket works out well then i may get inspired to save up for/finagle a Straat.

    Again, it's freaky how similar our priorities/minds are on this one! Thank you for stopping by and for your very (spookily!) insightful comments! Have a great day and weekend Alison, steph

  3. p.s. also, i think the slouchier fit of the Spring Club, which i'll pry mostly wear open, will help keep things cooler. xox, steph

  4. I had the same thought as Alison about the polyester lining (although I have a few winter coats with poly linings, and they're ok for colder weather). And I spy a button detail on the LE jacket's pocket as well, although it's not very visible in the pictures. I googled and found this pic of it:, how come they don't have that picture on the website? (Or maybe only not visible for me for some reason..) Oh hey, they have a men's version of the same jacket too, maybe you could get a matching one for Mr. Eccentric? :D

  5. You're loyal to your clothes, Steph! The new jacket looks fresh and smart, and I totally agree about LE's customer service. Happy (late?) birthday!

  6. hi elle! thank you for that great shot of the jacket! hhmmmm, if my particular one doesn't come with buttons (or if it does) i could put some fun ones on. Great idea, thank you! oh, you are cracking me up with the matching jackets idea, i'll have to wait for the perfect moment to spring that one on Mr. E - i wonder what colors he'll turn?!?!? heehee!!

    Patti, that's a great way of putting it - 'loyal'. It's why i get so picky about what i bring into my closet, i know that it'll be there a long time! Thank you!

    Happy Weekend Ladies!!! steph

  7. What my eye sees is that both of the jackets in consideration have something of a banded bottom, where your existing jacket doesn't seem to. Just an observation. I have the poison eye for banded bottoms, because they are not good on me.

  8. hi STAshworth! good eye, both pieces due have band hems....but the Royal Robbins jacket does as well. On the whole i'm not all that big on banded hems, but i do like them on occasion, i find it all depends on the fit and drape of the fabric.

    oh, poison eyes can be so hard to overcome! no advice here, just commiserating :) Happy Day! steph

  9. Hmmm Normcorp I suspected something like this was happening. I just spent the weekend at a craft fair in an upper crust market and all of anybody asked for was plain hats. Nothing to stand out just blending in were the requests..... now I have a name for it.. Your jacket choices are not Normcorp for you if I understand the concept. You should be shopping at JC Pennys and getting something you would never usually buy.
    I know too out of character for you. I am surprised you aren't making one and using the money to buy some fabulous fabric. I think you should go the 'Alabama Chanin' on your old jacket and just hand embroidery over the tatters Just some not so well thought out ideas but loved this post as usual Steph.

  10. Adrienne, when i saw your name on the e-mail notification of a new comment to the blog i started with a big goofy trying not to smile smile before i even know what you wrote! You always are so funny but in unexpected, kind of at an unusual angle ways. Anyhoo, that is very interesting about people wanting 'plain, no sauce' hats these days. I think part of it has to be that fashion generally has been pretty wild and over the top recently, so there will be a reaction as that's not to everyone's natural taste, so to speak.

    " I am surprised you aren't making one and using the money to buy some fabulous fabric. " Well, that's the fun of this - you can only get a gift card to certain retailers, which of course don't include any fabric shops. But then i get to scope out places i wouldn't normally shop which makes it fun.

    " I think you should go the 'Alabama Chanin' on your old jacket and just hand embroidery over the tatters." You know, i am strongly leaning in that direction, especially as your comment came at the same time i read this article:

    if you scroll down you see a lady with a strawberry colored shirt which she has patched over and it looks great. The other thing is, with my daily signature look including a jacket i realized i could have 7-10 'daily' jackets and get good use out of all of them, seeing as i wear one basically ever day (except for 2-3 weeks a year which get super hot). So if i had 7 daily jackets i'd still wear each one about 50 times a year. Thus, i think there is definitely room for a new jacket as well as a patched-up old friend too!

    I also finally shagged a copy of KS3764, and i have one length of linen which i'm going to make up in it (tho more fitted and pry a bit shorter than it is shown on the envelope). Depending on what i think at the end of that, i have a stretch cotton twill in a sandy camo print which may end up in that same pattern as well. So i'm excited about getting this part of my wardrobe (which is obviously a big part of it) bulked up a bit!

    Take care and have fun, steph

    1. When I read these types of articles all I can think of is the dress made from drapes in "Gone with the wind" I also think of the spoof of this movie in an episode of Carol Burnette where the drape-dress still had the drapery rod in it. I do think there is a need for environmental sustainability but now sending those clothes to Goodwill is not guilt free. Sewing 7 jackets sounds like fun all of the planning and stylin Im looking forward to those posts.

    2. hahaahah! oh man, that Carol Burnet bit was an absolute classic! Some people can really do a great job with thrifting and repurposing, every so often i run across a piece that works for me but not all that often. I think you hit the nail on the head that in the end if you want to consume less you pretty much have to just rein in the amount of stuff you use. whew, 7 jackets is a LOT of sewing, especially since i'm so slow! But since i realized how many i could reasonably use it makes me feel that buying a few that will work for me is quite sensible. Happy Day! steph

  11. You are full of good surprises! Your clothing so often has so much inner line fine detailing and now you're going to wear a golf jacket and get your detailing with the Gibson Girl shirt. I'm excited to see this!

    I saw a more updated article than this but the mending over movement has taken off in Japan

  12. here's a roundup of some sashiko embroidery

  13. Hullo Vildy! heehe, well we will see how it all turns out. It is fun to try something a bit different, re: minimalism Angie had me pegged as having a minimalist streak a couple of years ago.

    Both of those links are fantastic, i have seen sashiko before and so enjoy it but had no idea about the boro folk fabric and mending over. It's really wonderful, thank you!!! steph