We’ve become a little obsessed with “normcore,” and the fact that the press is trying to turn the “fetch” of the fashion world into an actual thing. In addition to this, we’ve been deep diving the MTV archives for past coverage of the VMAs in preparation for the 2014 Video Music Awards that we’ve noticed some things. Normcore existed before it was ever coined (because ’90s), and it most likely will continue to exist long after we shuffle off this mortal coil.
But here’s the thing: The Video Music Awards is an institution. It also has a reputation for having one of the most, if not the most, relaxed dress code. This über-relaxed atmosphere invites a type of nonchalant dressing that is perfect for the phenomenon now known as normcore. In the name of science, we’ve rounded up a few examples.
TIM COMMERFORD (RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE)
Though the event was decidedly not normal, Tim Commerford of Rage Against the Machine looked extremely nondescript and casual when he disrupted the 2000 VMAs by climbing part of the set in an act that still has us scratching our heads 14 years later. Luckily, the bassist was wearing Adidas slides while doing his best “cat in a tree” impression, which means that at least he was comfortable.
Kriss Kross’ sleeveless quilted vests look so comfortable at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards, they make us wanna jump, jump. Also pretty sure these predated Old Navy’s offerings by almost a decade.
Bad girl Riri showed up to the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards wearing a T-shirt and jeans, which is supes normcore. And while she might have accessorized with jewels aplenty, tell me you that this isn’t the most low-key that you’ve seen Rihanna look in quite some time.
Same with Lady Gaga’s gender-bending performance as Jo Calderone at the 2011 VMAs.
At 1994’s Video Music Awards, Adam Sandler showed up with Ben Stiller in a white crew T-shirt (a hallmark of normcore), a chambray coverup, and baseball hat with jeans.
That same year had our favorite Jackson, Janet, arrive at the ceremony in denim coveralls, a black baseball cap, and box braids looking like she stepped out of Poetic Justice.
While Rebel Wilson demonstrated that normcore can be found anywhere. She classed up the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards with a beach coverup that showed off her “beach body,” leaving us to say, “The Wanted who?”
Marky Mark attends the 9th Annual VMAs in 1992 while wearing a University of Michigan sweatshirt. Is it just us or is Mark Walhberg the proto-Bieber?
Radio personality and promoter Fatman Scoop decided to do the least in a ballsy move that involved wearing heart-printed boxers, a white tank top, black socks, and Adidas slip-ons.
Dear big sis, I totally get it now. I wasn’t into Luke Perry when he was on 90210, but dressed as everyone’s L.L. Bean boyfriend in a khaki zip-up, white tee, jeans, and a baseball cap? So in.
JAY Z AND KANYE WEST
Hip-hop moguls can be normcore, too. Jay Z performed “Otis” with Kanye West at the 2011 VMAs in a plain white tee.
In an internet-breaking verse on the non-album cut “Control” from Big Sean, Kendrick Lamar told the world that he’s over name-brand designers:
And I ain’t rockin’ no more designer s***
White T’s and Nike Cortez, this red Corvette’s anonymous
True to his word, he showed up to the 2013 Video Music Awards in a nondescript gray T-shirt, dark denim, and gray Nike Cortezes.
The King of Normcore, however, is Eminem. Let me state my case: At Em’s second appearance at the VMAs in 2000, he encouraged all of us to fall into the Gap by bringing an army of clones during his performance of “The Real Slim Shady”/”The Way I Am.”
And while accepting an award Video of the Year and Best Male Video at Radio City Music Hall, Em upgraded to a hoodie in order to dress up his appearance.
Em’s press room outfit consists of the same white T-shirt with the addition of a gray Enyce sweat -coordinate set. All of this from the same damn award show, the same damn year. Since then, every subsequent appearance by Eminem only confirms that Em likes casual, comfortable basics.
At the moment, it doesn’t seem like anyone could take the throne from Eminem, but we’re only days away from the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards, so who knows? Anything can happen.